BENEFITS EXPERT: Why one of my benefits was cut when I had a third child
Q. I migrated to Universal Credit, when I was on legacy benefits, in this case income based Employment and Support Allowance, this included the Severe Disability Premium (I get PIP Daily Living, there’s only myself and two children under 16 and no-one claims Carer’s Allowance for me).
My Universal Credit award included a transitional element for the Severe Disability Premium at a similar amount to when I got IBESA.
I recently had a 3rd child, notified DWP/Universal Credit and when I received my revised award that included my 3rd child the transitional SDP was reduced. Is this correct and if so what caused this?
A. I had to check how this occurred as under legacy benefits the addition of a 3rd child would not cause a reduction is The SDP and was shocked to find it is different with transitional SDP on Universal Credit and the Regulations indicate this is the intent of the government. Essentially as you are getting an extra child element on your UC claim then the transitional SDP element is reduced by the amount you get for having an additional child. This will mean that you could lose some or all of the transitional amount (the amount of the SDP transitional element can vary depending on your circumstances). So unfortunately the regulations mean the addition of a 3rd child has reduced the SDP element. I’m not currently aware of any pending court actions that may seek to challenge the validity of the Regulations, for example they may be incompatible under The Human Rights Act and/or could be classed as disability discrimination. Challenges to the loss of SDP when clients were moved to Universal Credit have been heard by the courts on 3 occasions (the same two appellants had to repeatedly take the government back to court as DWP did not implement the court’s findings), however both appellants in these cases were single with no dependent children so are factually different from your circumstances and concerned different benefit regulations. If any court cases are pending then I will endeavour to update readers.