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Disability premium

New claimants with a very severe stammer (and/or perhaps cluttering) who meet the pre-2008 'incapacity for work' test might still be entitled to the disability premium, despite not being entitled to Employment and Support Allowance.

Disability premium may increase other benefits

Disability premium is not a benefit in its own right but increases the 'applicable amount' to which your income is topped up when calculating means-tested benefts such as income support and income-based Jobseekers allowance. It may also increase your housing and council tax benefit, and entitle you to the £20 earnings disregard.

Can it still be available to new claimants?

People already on disability premium anyway may be able to continue for the time being. But what about new claimants?

One way to be able to claim disability premium is if you pass the 'incapacity for work' test under the Personal Capability Assessment. This test was used for incapacity benefit up to October 2008. Among other things, one could pass the test if one could not speak, or if one's speech could not be understood. A very severe stammer might pass the test. (Any cluttering should also be relevant - this may appear combined with stammering and can specifically make speech difficult to understand.) With the introduction of Employment and Support Allowance, this 'incapacity for work' test was replaced by a new one, 'limited capability for work', under which lack of speech alone does not count towards entitlement.

However, the old test still applies to the disability premium, and it seems that at least for some benefits new claimants can still claim the disability premium, if their stammer is sufficiently severe to pass the Personal Capability Assesment (or if the stammer is combined with other disabilities passes the test). In particular, it is understood that new claimants of housing and council tax benefit can still have the disability premium included if their incapacity for work began before 27th October 2008 (as will be likely with a very severe stammer). Source: CPAG's Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook 2011/2012, which cites an email from DWP.

Advice could be sought as to whether the same might apply to Jobseekers allowance, or for example to a single parent claiming income support.

Normally new claimants who pass the disability premium test would go onto Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) rather than claiming disability premium. However, the above arises from the fact that some severe disabilities (such as a very severe stammer in some cases) may pass the disability premium test but not the ESA test

Apart from the 'incapacity for work' test, entitlement to various other disability benefits, for example DLA or WTC disability element, may entitle you to the disability premium

Those aged 60 or over do not get the disability premium, but may be entitled to a pensioner premium.

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Last updated 30th July, 2011