Disabled workers on Tax Credits can currently receive additional premiums, a Disabled Element (WE) and a Severe Disability Element (SDE). However, if they’re moved to Universal Credit there’s no provision for these and it will see claimants lose over £4,000 a year.
There’s been much talk on the news about the loss of the Severe Disability Premium (SDP) for claimants being moved from Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) to Universal Credit.
The government lost a court case in June last year on that very issue. Due to that loss, they are having to formulate transitional protections do claimants don’t lose that premium.
Basically, claimants will continue to receive payment as long as they still meet the qualifying criteria for the premium.
What hasn’t been addressed, is what happens to the additional elements disabled people on Tax Credits receive.
Currently if you’re disabled on Tax Credits there are two “disability elements” you can receive depending on your circumstances.
Tax Credit Disability Elements
The first is The Severe Disability Element (SDE).
To qualify, the claimant or their partner must be in receipt of either; the high rate care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA), the enhanced rate of the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP), the higher rate of Attendance Allowance (AA) or the Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP).
If they meet these conditions, they can receive up to £1,330 extra, per claimant, on their annual Tax Credit award. It can vary depending on household income.
The more substantial element is the “Disability Element”. This is for disabled people who are working more than 16 hours a week.
The qualifying criteria for this element is much more strict as it can add £3,090 per claimant to an annual award.
In addition to working at least 16 hours a week, you have to satisfy two further conditions; first you must pass a “work disadvantage test” and also be in receipt of (or have recently received) a ‘qualifying benefit’ such as ESA or PIP.
A couple with one disabled worker meeting the conditions above could therefore look to receive up to £4,420 extra per year while on Tax Credits.
Universal Credit hits disabled people, again.
Managed migration, (the process to move current Tax Credit claimants to Universal Credit), will initially only move 10,000 claimants in a trial due to start in mid 2019.
However, the government then plans to begin transferring the remaining Tax Credit claimants afterwards, with a completion goal of 2023.
Currently there is no provision to protect disabled people’s Tax Credit Disability Elements.
This means claimants will be worse off monetarily yet again. Not to mention being under the rules of Universal Credit.
The government will say they’re committed to helping disabled people into work, whilst totally ignoring the fact they’re cutting their benefits.
This is just another slap in the face for disabled people and shows that it’s all about money not people.
I contacted the Department for Work and Pensions for a response but had received no response at the time of publishing.
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