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Gateway condition introduced to UC to ensure claimants in receipt of SDP don't migrate prematurely

The Universal Credit (Transitional Provisions) (SDP Gateway) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2019 were laid before Parliament on 14 January and will come into effect on 16 January 2019. 

These regulations ensure that benefit claimants who have a Severe Disability Premium included in their award of Income-related ESA, Income-based JSA, Income Support or Housing Benefit can not claim Universal Credit. Instead, these claimants will remain on the legacy benefits system. 

Background to the legislation

In July 2018, High Court of England and Wales ruled that the Secretary of State unlawfully discriminated against claimants, who experienced a dramatic reduction in income on claiming Universal Credit due to there being no equivalent to SDP or EDP under Universal Credit.  Following this ruling, DWP agreed to pay damages for the pain and distress the claimants experienced, in addition to a further payment reflecting the amount of income already lost as a result of migrating to Universal Credit.

Subsequently, the Social Security Advisory Committee proposed an amendment to the regulations setting out the process for migration to Universal Credit which would ensure that no claimants in receipt of an SDP could naturally migrate to UC, and that these claimants would, instead, transfer to UC under the managed migration process. 

These regulations do not, however, introduce any requirement to compensate those claimants who have already lost their SDP by transferring to Universal Credit. 


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Benefits, Legislation, Welfare Reform

This article was written on 14 January 2019. It should not be relied on as a statement of the current law or policy position. For help with housing issues please contact our helpline on 028 9024 5640 or use our online chat service at www.housingadviceNI.org.