Severe Disability Premium and Universal Credit


Benefit changes taking effect from the 27th of January will affect people claiming Severe Disability Premium (SDP). 

Severe Disability Premium is extra money that is paid on the following working age, means-tested benefits:

  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) 

  • income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)

  • Income Support

  • Housing Benefit.

It is paid when people get Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and no-one receives Carer's Allowance or carers element of Universal Credit for caring for them.

The changes relate to Universal Credit (UC) and involve:

  • The removal of the Universal Credit Severe Disability Premium (SDP) gateway

  • Eligibility for the transitional SDP payment in UC for new claimants.

Removal of the Universal Credit SDP Gateway

SDP doesn't exist in UC. People on SDP who moved from the benefits listed above (known as legacy benefits) to Universal Credit lost money as a result. The government put in a 'UC gateway' to stop people who were on SDP from claiming UC. They also paid compensation in the form of transitional payments to people who had already moved onto UC.

That gateway has now closed.

This means that people entitled to SDP can now decide to claim Universal Credit instead of their current means-tested benefits if they have a change of circumstance that means their old benefit stops or they decide they want to switch. However, they can still stay on their current benefits if they prefer.

Transitional payments

If people receive and are entitled to SDP within income-related ESA, income-based JSA or Income Support at the time they make a Universal Credit claim, they will be entitled to a transitional element within Universal Credit to compensate for loss of SDP when they move on to Universal Credit. However, the amount of transitional element they receive may decrease if other elements in their Universal Credit increase or could stop if there is a change of circumstance.

Use our Benefits Calculator

Use our Benefits Calculator to check your benefits entitlement and to get an understanding of all your options. This has been updated to take account of these changes.

This is complicated situation. If it affects you, we recommend that you seek advice from a benefits adviser. You can use our Find an Adviser tool to find a local one.

You may also find it helpful to read the following information guides: