I firmly believe that opportunity should be available to everyone, which is why I support the actions that have been taken to ensure the welfare system helps disabled people with the cost of living, and supports families raising disabled children.
Since 16 January 2019 claimants who are in receipt of the Severe Disability Premium (SDP) 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 eligibility conditions, have been prevented from moving onto Universal Credit (UC) if they experience a change in circumstances. Instead, these claimants will continue to claim legacy benefits until they move onto UC where transitional protection will be available, thereby safeguarding their existing benefit entitlement.
Since September 2017 those placed in the Employment and Support Allowance Support Group, and the UC equivalent, who have the most severe and lifelong health conditions or disabilities, and are unlikely ever to be able to move into work, are no longer routinely reassessed. This is something which I personally called for Ministers to do, and I am pleased that they listened to my concerns.
Under Personal Independence Payment, award durations have always been based on an individual’s circumstances and can vary from nine months to an on-going award, with a light touch review at the ten-year point.
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children can help with the extra costs of looking after a disabled child. Parents spending at least 35 hours a week caring for a child who gets the middle or highest rate care component of DLA may also be eligible for Carer’s Allowance, and extra Child Tax Credit is available for children in receipt of disability benefits. The work allowances for Universal Credit will also be increased by £1,000 from April 2019, benefitting 2.4 million households with children or a disabled person.
Alongside this, if a home needs to be adapted to meet a child’s needs a Disabled Facilities Grant may be available to help with the costs. More information on this can be found on the Government’s website at www.gov.uk/help-for-disabled-child/overview.