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Thread: Disability Premiums

  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2013

    Disability Premiums


    I am on highest care dla, lowest mobility and ESA and have been for the past few years. My son has always lived with me and was 18 on 30th September just gone. He is in full time college at the moment and hopefully next September will be starting University and continuing to live with me. He'll be able to get a grant to pay for the Uni Course etc and maybe some other grants for his books etc. I'm worried now because I read online that you have to live alone to get the disability premiums that I get on top of my ESA. I've heard nothing about it stopping yet even though he's already 18 and presume thats because he's still in full time further education. Does anyone know what happens after he finishes college and goes to University? We've struggled to get him that far and with child tax credit and child benefit for him stopping next year, if the premiums stop to I will lose over £150 and just won't be able to cope. He's staying home so he doesn't have to get lots of Uni loans to pay for accomodation etc and to help look after me.

    Does anyone know the rules on this if a child turns 18 and remains at home when at Uni?

    Thanks for any help

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    There's two disability premiums under income-related ESA. Claimants can qualify for either or both of these.

    In what follows, I've assumed that you don't have a husband or partner. If you do, the rules are a little more complex.

    The enhanced disability premium is a small top-up of £15.15 per week paid to people:

    • who are in the ESA Support Group, or
    • who have DLA higher rate Care component, or
    • who have the enhanced rate of the PIP Daily Living component

    This premium doesn't depend on who you live with.

    The severe disability premium is a rather larger amount (£59.50 per week) paid to people who have DLA middle or higher rate Care component or the PIP Daily Living component at either rate. To qualify for SDP, nobody must receive Carer's Allowance for looking after you and there must be no non-dependants aged 18 or over living with you.

    At the moment your son is a "qualifying young person" because he is under 20 and in full time non-advanced education, which means he is regarded as a dependant. However, he will cease to fall into that category when he leaves college, and will not re-enter it when he starts university as university is advanced education. As such, you seem likely to lose your severe disability premium when your son leaves college.

    Edit: as a full-time student, you son would unfortunately be excluded from claiming Carer's Allowance. (My mention of Carer's Allowance in the earlier post was incorrect).

    This is a complex situation about which it is a good idea to get proper independent advice, not least relating to student finance arrangements which can be even more complex than the benefits system. An added complication is that the student finance system is very different for students living in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

    If your son is in England, he will not get a fee grant, as they disappeared for new students in 2012, so it would be a fee loan, I'm afraid. There are maintenance grants and loans in the English student support system.

    Don't forget to let the DWP office dealing with your ESA and the office dealing with Child Benefit know when your son leaves college.
    Last edited by Flymo; 27-12-13 at 19:45. Reason: Correct the information on Carer's Allowance: full-time students are not entitled

  3. #3
    New Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Thank you for replying. I am a single parent and do get the enhanced and the severe. So in July I'll lose £60 tax credits, £20 child benefit, £15.15 enhanced premium and £57 severe disability premium. That's a loss of around £150 which is almost 2 thirds of my money Also Housing Benefit have told me that I will have to pay some rent when he starts university. He isn't getting a lot of the loans because he's living at home. Feels a bit like being punished for my sons hard work and determination. He'll get the uni course paid for and is entitled to a grant of around £3000 for the year I think as i'm on benefits. I'm really confused as to how they can say we'll then be able to half our money halved and pay rent on top. Council tax have already just contacted me saying i am no longer entitled to single person payment and have to pay more. Not sure how I can afford to have him living with me after July and yet he is my son and looks after me. Very worried and confused

    Thanks again for the help

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Quote Originally Posted by toodles View Post
    Thank you for replying. I am a single parent and do get the enhanced and the severe. So in July I'll lose £60 tax credits, £20 child benefit, £15.15 enhanced premium and £57 severe disability premium.
    Reprising my earlier answer:

    The Child Tax Credits and Child Benefit will go. I'm afraid this was always going to happen when he reached 18 and left school or college, though I realise this money has made an important difference to you over the years.

    The £15.15 per week enhanced disability premium stays - this depends solely on your benefit entitlements and is not affected by anyone you live with (I live with my retired parents and I have it). This is the one piece of good news about your benefits.

    The £59.50 per week severe disability premium goes when your son leaves college and stops qualifying for child benefit - you will have a non-dependent adult living with you. Unfortunately, I made an incorrect statement in my earlier reply, which I have now edited - full-time students cannot claim Carer's Allowance.

    Severe disability premium was intended to meet the extra costs of living when nobody you live with is able to care for you. When your son leaves college, he is regarded as capable of caring for you - but he would be prevented from getting the Carer's Allowance for doing so as a full-time student.

    The only consolation here, which really isn't much, is that severe disability premium will disappear over the next few years without being replaced if the Government's plan to implement Universal Credit goes ahead.

    That just leaves the Council Tax and Housing Benefit situation. Unfortunately, the system now varies from council to council. You will lose the single person's discount as you now have another adult in the house.

    It sounds as if you are in England with the figures you quote for student finance. It sounds as if your son will get the maximum maintenance grant of £3387 per year for living at home. Obviously some of that will go towards his travel and direct study costs (books, stationery, maybe buying a laptop), though the rest is designed to go towards food and accommodation. Unfortunately the £2000-2500 per year that should be left over will not even cover your lost severe disability premium if he lives with you, let alone the extra council tax and rent.

    If you can't make ends meet on his £3387 grant entitlement, then he should be entitled to a maintenance loan of up to £1031 per year (usually the grant is deducted from the maintenance loan entitlement). It is his choice whether to take this money, which will be added to the loans for his tuition fees (as I said, the tuition fees money is a loan, not a grant) when it comes to repayment.

    It is almost certainly a better deal for your son to take a maintenance loan than any form of bank loan or overdraft.

    Really, the situation needs looking at carefully by someone who is experienced with both the student finance and benefits systems. As I said, the loss of Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit was unavoidable. Though the intention is that students have no entitlement to state benefits in most cases, it seems harsh that most student carers are frozen out of the benefits system not least as their caring responsibilities are likely to preclude working.

    If your son did not live at home, you'd keep your severe disability premium and single person's council tax discount, though your housing benefit might change (not least because of the "bedroom tax"). You may qualify for extra help from social services if your son did not live at home - but I'm under no illusion about the harshness of many care assessments in these times when councils are under such financial pressure. Your son would likely get greater maintenance grant and loan entitlements if he did not live at home.

    However, scenarios where your son lived nearby but elsewhere during terms and with you during the holidays get extremely complex to sort out.

    Overall, this really needs an expert familiar with the situation in your council area to look at it.

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