It is not possible to confirm exactly how many people in receipt of the severe disability premium (SDP) will receive back payments following their natural migration to Universal Credit, since each case must be individually assessed to determine whether SDP eligibility would have continued following the end of their claim to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Jobseekers’ Allowance (JSA) or Income Support (IS).
To the end of November 2018 there were 13,400 claimants of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) in receipt of the severe disability premium (SDP) who had migrated to Universal Credit (UC). This migration to UC does not guarantee that claimants are eligible for transitional protection or back payments.
Not all of ESA claimants with SDP who migrated to UC will have had an ongoing entitlement to SDP following the end of their ESA claim, and there will be some additional ESA claimants with SDP who migrated to UC and who may not be included in these figures owing to ongoing Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) and Appeal activity.
I have explained in response to a point-of-order that information on claimants of Jobseekers’ Allowance (JSA) and Income Support (IS) in receipt of SDP who have migrated to UC would incur a disproportionate cost in response to a Parliamentary Question. The Department will explore the scope of an updated ad hoc statistical release for the ESA SDP data which represents the large majority of the SDP claimants.
Since 16 January 2019 claimants who are in receipt of the Severe Disability Premium or who have been entitled to an award of an existing benefit that included SDP in the previous month, and who have continued to meet the SDP eligibility conditions, have been prevented from moving onto Universal Credit if they experience a change in circumstances. Instead, these claimants will continue to claim legacy benefits until DWP move them onto UC where transitional protection will be available, thereby safeguarding their existing benefit entitlement.