Councils could have to ‘pick up the pieces’ after scrapping of severe disability premium

Councils could be left to “pick up the pieces” resulting from the government’s decision to ditch a means-tested premium for disabled people with high support needs, a shadow minister has warned.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has always made it clear that it plans to abolish severe disability premium (SDP) as part of its move to universal credit, which is gradually replacing six benefits with one single, monthly, means-tested payment.

But a parliamentary answer this week by the minister for disabled people, Justin Tomlinson, appears to confirm that although SDP is being ditched as claimants are moved to the new universal credit over the next four years, there are no plans to provide funding to help cash-strapped councils meet the resulting extra pressure on social care needs.

SDP is currently set at nearly £62 a week, and is aimed at helping those receiving means-tested benefits with the extra costs of disability.

But Labour shadow mental health minister Luciana Berger was alerted by benefits experts to concerns that ministers appeared to have no plans to help councils fund the support previously provided through SDP.

Last month, she submitted a written question to work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith, asking “what support his department plans to provide under universal credit that is currently provided by the severe disability premium”.

Tomlinson replied this week that the government had “determined that the severe disability premium was a payment for care costs rather than daily living costs” and so should not be part of universal credit (UC), and that “costs for care are picked up through the social care system”.

Barbara Keeley, Labour’s shadow minister for older people, social care and carers, told Disability News Service today: “These comments from the minister raise serious concerns that the social care system will be expected to pick up the pieces from the DWP’s decision to abolish the severe disability premium.

“This will put the social care system under further pressure at a time when it is already struggling to cope with demand.

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2 thoughts on “Councils could have to ‘pick up the pieces’ after scrapping of severe disability premium

  1. Pingback: Newshound Newsround 23/1/16 | newshoundsnewsround

  2. Yes, exactly. When you receive LA care, you have to have a contribution based on your income. They have to take SD and the Care or ‘Daily Living Component’ into account. PIP may also be reduced because of this ridiculous idea about ‘aids’. This means that there is much less income for LAs to play with because they have to leave individuals with enough not only to pay their contribution, but to pay for the part of the care package that may have been privitised.

    End result? LAs may have to fund the whole of someone’s care package.

    Really, and yet again, governments just don’t think this through to where the buck stops. I can see LAs reducing care plan hours even more so if this happens. I certainly won’t have the money to pay for my care, so I’ll have to reject the package, and try and limp on as best I can. For people who are be bound and mostly house bound this will be a terrible blow. Losing over £200 a month will just push people over the edge, and probably cost the NHS more as well.

    That’s equivalent to 2/3 of my personal care costs, and there’s no other way to make that money up. So it’s back to living in a dirty house, on sandwiches, few fires lit, being smelly, etc etc. Thanks; just what I need with I’m living a death each day.

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