Universal Credit: Disability

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 6th November 2018.

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Photo of Debbie Abrahams Debbie Abrahams Labour, Oldham East and Saddleworth

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of measures related to universal credit announced in Budget 2018 on disabled people who are (a) in work and (b) out of work.

Photo of Debbie Abrahams Debbie Abrahams Labour, Oldham East and Saddleworth

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she had made of the levels of spending on social security for disabled people as a result of the provisions of Budget 2018.

Photo of Sarah Newton Sarah Newton The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

We will spend over £50 billion in 2018/19 on benefits to support disabled people and people with health conditions.

In the budget we have announced that work allowance rates will be increased by £1000 from April 2019 and uprated in line with inflation thereafter. Raising the current work allowances will direct additional funding to working disabled people by allowing them to keep more of their earnings before the earnings taper is applied. By increasing the work allowances many disabled families on UC will be £630 better off, in a package worth £1.7bn in 2023/24.

It has also been announced that income related legacy benefits, Income Support (IS), Income Related Employment and Support Allowance and Income Based Jobseeker’s Allowance will continue for two weeks after a claim for Universal Credit has been made. This change will particularly support vulnerable claimants who may have been on benefits for some time, have little or no savings to fall back on and currently rely on regular payments at shorter intervals.

We have also previously announced that transitional payments for former recipients of Severe Disability Premium (SDP) and protection for those who are receiving SDP as part of their existing benefit entitlement. These claimants will now only move to UC with transitional protection. Those who have already moved to UC will be considered for a lump sum payment that will be back-dated to the start of their UC claim, and will receive ongoing monthly payments.

These regulations provide transitional support to recipients of the SDP while removing the complexity of dealing with different rules for seven different disability additions. 500,000 vulnerable people receive the SDP alongside their benefit awards. All of these people will ultimately move to UC and benefit from this enhanced support.

Not replicating the Severe Disability Premium in UC means the government can target additional support to a wider group. UC provides a higher level of support for the most severely disabled people than the benefit it replaces, worth up to £328.32 per month.

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