Severe disability premium (SDP)
SDP and Universal Credit
Severe disability premium (SDP) is an extra premium included in legacy benefits (income-based JSA, income-related ESA, Income Support and Housing Benefit).
Note: If you claim a legacy benefit and become entitled to SDP, you can still report your change of circumstances and your legacy benefit will reassess your award and include SDP where necessary. This alone is not a reason to claim Universal Credit and can be very beneficial to do first even if you plan on claiming Universal Credit so that you may be eligible for the SDP element on UC.
SDP and how it interacts with Universal Credit has had a lot of changes along the way. If you're interested in the history of SDP and Universal Credit you can read more here.
This page covers:
How much is SDP on Universal Credit?
The amount of SDP element included is a fixed amount based on circumstances during your first UC assessment period.
The amount of SDP included in your claim depends on when you claimed.
If you claimed UC 10th April 2023, or after
If you are on a single or joint claim, SDP element will be £313.79 if you do not have LCWRA as part of your claim, £132.12 if you do have LCWRA as part of your claim. If you are part of a joint claim and both of you were entitled to SDP prior to claiming UC, the higher amount of £445.91 will be included for SDP element.
If you claimed UC before 10th April 2023
If you are on a single or joint claim, SDP element will be £285 if you do not have LCWRA as part of your claim, £120 if you do have LCWRA as part of your claim. If you are part of a joint claim and both of you were entitled to SDP prior to claiming UC, the higher amount of £405 will be included for SDP element.
Important: After the first assessment period, the amount of SDP element will erode over time. If another element increases due to a change in circumstances or up-rating of benefit, the amount of the increase will be eroded off your SDP element. The only element this does not apply to is childcare element.
You are in receipt of SDP element of £120 per month. Your landlord increases your rent by £40 per month and your housing element will increase by £40 per month, your SDP element will reduce by £40 per month to £80 per month, meaning that your overall UC amount remains unchanged.
You are in receipt of SDP element of £285 per month. You have your first child and add them onto your claim. You become eligible for the child element of £237.08 per month, your SDP element will reduce by £237.08 per month to £47.92 per month, meaning that your overall UC amount remains unchanged.
Who can claim the SDP element?
There are three groups on Universal Credit who may have the SDP element included in their claim
Those who moved to Universal Credit before the SDP gateway
Those who moved to Universal Credit when the SDP gateway should have prevented them
Those who moved to Universal Credit after the SDP gateway ended
With the new rules introduced on the 27th January 2021 rules, who could be eligible for SDP element changed, but anyone who was already claiming Universal Credit with SDP element would remain entitled.
From the 27th January 2021, the SDP element can be included for those who:
have been entitled (or been part of a couple where one member was entitled) to an award of Income Support (IS), Income-based JSA (IBJSA) or Income-related ESA (IRESA) that included SDP within the month before they became entitled to UC and
continue to meet the eligibility conditions for SDP at the time of their UC claim.
The new regulations from 27th January 2021 extend to both members of a couple which had not been the case previously.
This beneficial change means that the element can be awarded to a newly single person claiming Universal Credit, even if they were not the lead claimant on the benefit they claimed previously.
Entitlement to the SDP element now applies to those who come together and make a new Universal Credit claim as a couple, so long as both partners are eligible for SDP at the point they claim.
When the SDP element will not be included
The new regulations have now made it clear that if you claim Universal Credit as part of a joint claim and your partner was already claiming Universal Credit, the SDP element will not be included, regardless of circumstances.
SDP element can only be included when you were eligible for SDP as part of IR ESA, IB JSA or Income support. It will not be included if you only had SDP on your Housing Benefit.
It will not be included for people who claim Universal Credit as part of managed migration, to prevent double payment.
When the SDP element will end
As well as SDP element eroding as previously discussed, the SDP element can end completely in some circumstances.
You are claiming UC jointly, split from a partner and claim UC as a single person.
You are claiming UC as a single person, join with a partner and make a joint claim.
You are no longer entitled to UC. There is one exception, if your UC claim ends due to earnings, you will retain SDP element if you claim regain entitlement to UC within 3 months.
If at the time of claiming UC, you had earnings on your claim at or above the ‘Administrative Earnings Threshold’ and your earnings fell below this for three consecutive months.
Note: SDP element will not be removed once it is on your claim because you no longer meet the SDP eligibility on legacy benefits. For example, if you lose your disability benefit, your SDP element will not be removed.
How to add the SDP element to your claim
If entitled, the SDP element should be added to your entitlement automatically and show as an element on your statement. If it is not included in your payment breakdown and you believe it should be, you should query this with Universal Credit and if necessary ask for it to be passed to a decision maker.
History of SDP and its interaction with Universal Credit
SDP and how it interacts with Universal Credit has had a lot of changes along the way.
When Universal Credit was introduced, it had no relevance whether someone previously had SDP and there was no extra payment. After a lengthy court process it was decided that people should be compensated for loss of SDP.
Anyone who was already claiming Universal Credit became entitled to “SDP compensation” which was an additional payment received each month.
From 16th January 2019, people who had SDP on their legacy benefit were unable to claim Universal Credit (with a few exceptions) and were able to make a new claim for legacy benefits if need be. This was referred to as the SDP Gateway. The gateway was only ever intended as a temporary measure.
Anyone who was already claiming Universal Credit with SDP compensation would have seen a change to this extra payment. From 8th October 2020, the extra payment converted to SDP element and became a part of the Universal Credit entitlement and was included in payment breakdown and regular payment.
27th January 2021 and end of SDP Gateway
On 27th January 2021, the Universal Credit SDP gateway was removed. From this date, people with SDP were no longer prevented from claiming Universal Credit.
Someone with SDP would now be unable to make a new claim for legacy benefits. If they needed a new claim for benefit, they would need to consider Universal Credit, New Style JSA or New style ESA. If you have SDP as part of your legacy benefit and you claim Universal Credit, you may be entitled to SDP element.