For Families and Carers : Benefits in supported living

Most people with Down’s syndrome who live in a supported living situation will receive either Universal Credit (UC) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and either Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP), just like they would if they were living with family.

(Some people may still be on the older benefits, Incapacity Benefit or Severe Disablement Allowance plus Income Support, instead of ESA.)

They may also get some extra money, called the Severe Disability Premium, with their income related ESA (or Income Support). It is worth checking your award to see if this premium has been added as some people do not know about claiming this addition.

If you are in receipt of Universal Credit, there is no extra premium that can be added, unless you were previously entitled to the severe disability premium in another benefit such as ESA in which case you may get a transitional amount.

If someone is still claiming carers allowance for you and still satisfies the eligibility conditions, ring and ask for advice to see if they are better off giving up their carers allowance or not.

You get the Severe Disability Premium if:

  • You satisfy the means-test
  • You get the middle or higher rate of DLA care component, or either rate of the PIP daily living component
  • No one gets Carer’s Allowance for you
  • You count as “living alone”

Even if other people  live with you, you may count as living alone.  For example, anyone who also gets the middle or higher rates of DLA or PIP care component above does not count.  Other people who do not count include joint occupiers (ie, people who are also liable to pay rent separately and aren’t your close relatives), resident landlords, and live-in carers (if you pay a voluntary or charitable organization for the services of the carer).

The premium is substantial and similar to the amount for carers allowance so it is worth looking into.

Someone who has Down’s syndrome and in receipt of income related ESA can still also receive help with paying their rent through Housing Benefit as long as they receive the severe disability premium.  If you do not receive the severe disability premium, you will be asked to make a claim for housing costs through Universal credit. If it is supported living, you can still make a claim for Housing benefit.

If you are in receipt of income related ESA and planning on moving from your family home into your own home, please give the benefits adviser a call to make sure which benefit is best for your situation. DWP will ask you to claim Universal credit when you may be better off moving into your new home and contacting ESA to let them know that you are now classed as living alone and therefore entitled to the severe disability premium within your ESA claim.

If you have the severe disability premium, you are still able to claim housing benefit and when you are moved to UC, you will receive a transitional payment to make sure that you are not worse off by claiming UC.

If you are moving into supported living, you can still claim Housing benefit rather than UC housing costs even though your main benefit may be UC.

People with Down’s syndrome should also qualify for a discount on their council tax through the Council Tax Discount Scheme. Please call the benefits adviser for more information

Information on supported living

You can find out more information on supported living in the DSA’s supported living series.

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