The UK Government is letting down severely disabled people through its handling of transitional payments for people who have moved to Universal Credit and lost the Severe Disability Premium.
In January the Government laid draft regulations before Parliament draft regulations to provide for top-up, transitional payments for those affected. The regulations will have to be agreed by both the Commons and the Lords before they can come into force. The draft regulations were laid before Parliament in January, but the Government has still not confirmed when the changes will be debated and voted on. The Government is aiming to make SDP transitional payments within six months of the regulations coming into force – whenever that is.
Speaking during an Urgent Question on Severe Disability Premium payments yesterday, I said “A constituent who was forced onto Universal Credit with no protections lost a considerable amount of money to help with her living costs when her Severe Disability payments stopped. Now we learn she may have to wait 6 months to see any money, even once regulations are passed. How on earth are disabled people supposed to cope in the meantime?”
DWP Minister Justin Tomlinson responded by saying that the Government’s priority was to ensure that “the most vulnerable get the most support within the system.”
Last week a Minister told me that the Government was putting disabled people at the heart of its policy-making, but the DWP’s handling of Severe Disability Premium payment tells a different story. During the debate in Parliament today there was still no update from Ministers on when parliament will get a chance to vote on draft regulations laid out in January; nor any detail on backdated payments for those affected by the loss of benefits. Disabled people deserve far better than they are getting from this Government.