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Benefits no longer available to new claimants

This page looks at three benefits which people may still be receiving but are no longer available to new claimants. Those still on the benefits are to be re-assessed as to whether they are entitled to Employment and Support Allowance.

Migration to Employment and Support Allowance

This page deals with incapacity benefit, income support on the basis of incapacity, and severe disablement allowance. They are not available to new claimants.

People already on the benefits stay on them until re-assessed for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), based on the new ESA test under which lack of speech alone is not enough, and indeed not relevant.

Re-assessments are underway and are due to finish in March 2014. Those who establish an ongoing entitlement to benefit will be transferred onto ESA (subject to some transitional provisions). Claimants who are considered not eligible for ESA will have to move onto Jobseekers Allowance, or appeal.

See www.disabilityrightsuk.org/ibmigration.htm.

Incapacity benefit

Claims had to take effect before 27th October 2008. For new claimants, incapacity benefit has now been replaced by Employment and Support Allowance.

For claims which took effect before 27th October 2008, incapacity benefit is available broadly if you meet the incapacity for work test under the Personal Capability Assessment' and either you had made sufficient national insurance contributions in the right years or your period of incapacity for work started before age 20 (age 25 for certain students and trainees). You do not normally get the benefit above state pension age.

Incapacity benefit has the advantage over income support (below) of not being means-tested. Incapacity benefit is deducted from any income support you might be claiming.

If you are claiming incapacity benefit, you will normally be required to take part in a series of work-focused interviews.

Income support

Again this is no longer available for new claims on the basis of disability (incapacity for work). One way you were able to qualify for income support (IS) was by meeting the 'incapacity for work' test under the Personal Capability Assessment, provided you claimed before 27th October 2008. Your income and capital also need to be low enough. For new claimants after October 2008, income-related Employment and Support Allowance applies.

IS tops up low or zero incomes to a basic minimum, called your 'applicable amount'. It is for people who are not required to sign on as available for work, for example a lone parent of a young child or a carer - or, for claims up to October 2008, those who pass the 'incapacity for work' test. Entitlement to income support can bring other benefits and advantages, such as free prescriptions and dental treatment. People who have reached the qualifying age for pension credit (the age is gradually increasing from 60 to 66) claim pension credit instead of IS.

If you are entitled to IS, you may also be entitled to the disability premium, which increases the 'applicable amount' to which your income is topped up. If you are entitled to the disability premium, you also benefit from the £20 earnings disregard - if you have earnings.

There are limits on how far you can work and still claim IS. If you are claiming IS on the basis of incapacity for work, you will normally be required to take part in a series of work-focused interviews.

Severe disablement allowance

Severe disablement allowance (SDA) was abolished with effect from 6th April, 2001, and is therefore no longer open to first-time claimants. People already receiving SDA can continue on SDA subject to the normal rules, until re-assessed for Employment and Support Allowance as outlined above.

A key test for entitlement to SDA was 80% disablement. A tribunal decision on a stammer held a particular person who stammers to have 90% disablement.


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Last updated 8th December, 2012