To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect on a claimant's (a) mental health and (b) financial situation of the roll-out of universal credit on people in receipt of the severe disability premium.
27 January 2020
Universal Credit is simpler and fairer than the legacy system, is designed to target resources at those that need them most and to provide support for people who can’t work or need help moving towards the labour market. We have trained work coaches in how to support claimants with mental health conditions, and claimants who enquire about their Severe Disability Premium (SDP) transitional protections are connected with Specialised SDP Agents. Our work coaches all undertake a robust training process which includes a focus on health conditions and disabilities, how to tailor service delivery according to needs, and has specific content on requirement setting for people with mental health conditions.
A gateway was introduced from 16 January 2019 to prevent those claimants entitled to the SDP as part of their legacy benefit from claiming Universal Credit. Additionally, a commitment was made for monthly transitional payments to be made to eligible former SDP claimants who have already moved to Universal Credit due to a change in circumstances and to provide a lump sum arrears payment, where appropriate.
Positive progress has been made and caseload growth has now slowed, however, in the event a new case is discovered payments will be in place quickly. It is not possible to estimate when we will have paid everyone who is entitled as some people become entitled to these payments retrospectively, and therefore the caseload is not a fixed number.