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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Universal credit administration  →  Thread

Mixed aged couples and the sdp exemption

sleigh
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Hi

I’ve just been to see a couple with the following scenario.

1. Mr claims ESA as part of a couple.

2. Mr due to hit pension age on 6 July

3. Mrs remains working age for quite some time.

4. Both receive PIP daily living component.

5. Mrs claims carers allowance for Mr but not vice versa.

No bother, I thought. Call DWP and claim single rate severe disability premium to prevent the dreaded forced migration to UC. Only to be told that they were not entitled to SDP because the partner claimed carers allowance for the customer.  I was advised if it was the other way round, SDP would be payable. Asked for this to be double checked by a manager and was told the same thing. 

What’s the consensus on this? Also, is it worth getting partner to cancel carers allowance instead in order to get the couples rate SDP?

Advisercab1
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DWP seemingly not up on their ESA Regs. 2008 here, Schedule 4 of Part2 of which states the following in relation to the calculation of a claimant’s applicable amount:

“Severe disability premium
6.—(1) The condition is that the claimant is a severely disabled person.
(2) For the purposes of sub-paragraph (1), a claimant is to be treated as being a severely disabled person if, and only if–
(a) in the case of a single claimant, a lone parent, a person who has no partner and who is responsible for and a member of the same household as a young person or a claimant who is treated as having no partner in consequence of sub-paragraph (3)–
(i) the claimant is in receipt of the care component, the daily living component, armed forces independence payment or attendance allowance;
(ii) subject to sub-paragraph (4), the claimant has no non-dependants aged 18 or over normally residing with the claimant or with whom the claimant is normally residing; and
(iii) no person is entitled to, and in receipt of, a carer’s allowance or has an award of universal credit which includes the carer element in respect of caring for the claimant;
(b) in the case of a claimant who has a partner–
(i) the claimant is in receipt of the care component, the daily living component, armed forces independence payment or attendance allowance;
(ii) the claimant’s partner is also in receipt of the care component, the daily living component, armed forces independence payment or attendance allowance or, if the claimant is a member of a polygamous
marriage, the partners of that marriage are in receipt of the care component, the daily living component, armed forces independence payment or attendance allowance; and
(iii) subject to sub-paragraph (4), the claimant has no non-dependants aged 18 or over normally residing with the claimant or with whom the claimant is normally residing,

and, either a person is entitled to, and in receipt of, a carer’s allowance or has an award of universal credit which includes the carer element in respect of caring for only one of the couple or, in the case of a polygamous marriage, for one or more but not all the partners of the marriage or, as the case may be, no person is entitled to, and in receipt of, such an allowance or has such an award of universal credit in respect of caring for either member of the couple or any partner of the polygamous marriage.”

Provided nobody claims CA for the second member of the couple and there are no other non-disabled adults in the household then the claim should currently include one SDP, which is not what they appear to be saying at the moment.

[ Edited: 13 Jun 2019 at 09:51 am by Advisercab1 ]
sleigh
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Thank you so much for the response!  I will contact them again and insist they put the application in

Advisercab1
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Should also have said that you’re right about getting the second SDP added into the claim by withdrawing the claim for Carer’s Allowance as the relative value of the applicable premiums means that in ir-ESA you’re always better off as a couple if you are simply treated as two severely disabled claimants than you are being treated as a severely disabled claimant receiving care and a severely disabled claimant providing that care, whereas in UC the reverse is true as there is no SDP equivalent (at least until managed migration eventually begins). The Carer’s Premium would run for an additional 8 weeks after the date on which the claim for Carer’s Allowance is withdrawn (Reg. 8(2)(b) of Part 2 of Schedule 4 to the ESA Regs. 2008) but after that the double SDP should be included in their applicable amount.

It’s probably also worth underlining that if the carer does not themselves have limited capability for work then the existing ESA claim with the currently cared for member of the couple as lead claimant should also continue; Example 1 at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/housing-benefit-adjudication-circulars-2019/a92019-mixed-age-couples-further-guidance refers.

[ Edited: 13 Jun 2019 at 09:53 am by Advisercab1 ]
sleigh
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Thanks again.  This is so helpful.  So let me get just check I understand this correctly.  If the customers partner terminates her carers allowance and they claim the couples rate ESA, they will be continue to be eligible for ESA and HB?

If they claim the single rate SDP, they won’t be?

Charles
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Advisercab1 - 12 June 2019 10:50 AM

It’s probably also worth underlining that if the carer does not themselves have limited capability for work then the existing ESA claim with the currently cared for member of the couple as lead claimant should also continue; Example 1 at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/housing-benefit-adjudication-circulars-2019/a92019-mixed-age-couples-further-guidance refers.

This is actually true even if the carer does have LCW. It’s just they then have the option of switching claimants if they want.

Charles
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sleigh - 12 June 2019 11:03 AM

Thanks again.  This is so helpful.  So let me get just check I understand this correctly.  If the customers partner terminates her carers allowance and they claim the couples rate ESA, they will be continue to be eligible for ESA and HB?

If they claim the single rate SDP, they won’t be?

Even single rate SDP would be enough. As Advisercab1 says, however, they will be better off financially to claim couple’s rate SDP.

sleigh
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Thanks.  That was my initial thought but the poor advice from the DWP that made me doubt myself.  I will try and convince them to give up the carers allowance but they’ve been reluctant to in the past despite my reassurances they will be better off!

Advisercab1
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Charles - 12 June 2019 11:04 AM

This is actually true even if the carer does have LCW. It’s just they then have the option of switching claimants if they want.

Indeed. The important thing with this case though would be that withdrawing the claim for Carer’s Allowance is entirely risk-free as even if the carer doesn’t have Limited Capability for Work, it’s not going to result in her becoming a Jobseeker and needing to reclaim Carer’s Allowance to give access to Income Support - the ir-ESA claim would carry on regardless. You can argue of course that this is completely contrary to the policy intention behind the revised mixed-age couple rules, but still!

As an added bonus, it’s also less likely that the currently cared-for member of the couple’s claim for PIP will be subjected to Planned Review thanks to SSWP’s revised position on reviews for those over State Pension Age, so regardless of what happens to the carer’s PIP in the future, reinstating the cared-for claimant’s SDP by withdrawing the claim for Carer’s Allowance effectively all but guarantees that the couple will be protected by the SDP Gateway either until their managed migration to UC is complete or until the working age member of the couple reaches State Pension Age, whichever is the sooner.

[ Edited: 13 Jun 2019 at 10:25 am by Advisercab1 ]