Over half a million people in the UK have been warned of changes to the benefit system for those claiming disability allowance.

Ministers have recently lifted a two-year ban on people who claim ‘Severe Disability Premiums’ moving to Universal Credit.

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People on old-style benefits can now switch to Universal Credit if they want to but some may also be moved to the new method if they have a change in circumstances such as moving house or a relationship.

Once people apply for Universal Credit, they lose the right to claim any old-style benefits and cannot reverse that decision.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Therese Coffey told MPs last week that people on disability payments should consider the switch to Universal Credit.

She said: “I would want to encourage people to consider that move because we are confident as a Department, actually the majority of people would certainly be better off.”

However, a number of charities including Disability Rights UK, Citizens Advice, and Scope have warned people to seek advice first.

 Louise Rubin of the charity Scope criticised the move arguing it comes at a time when people need financial support “more than ever”.

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She said: “Disability premiums aren’t a luxury, they help cover the extra costs disabled people face.

“They should never have been cut out of the welfare system under Universal Credit.

“Many who are shielding at home and facing spiralling energy costs now face the permanent threat of their vital premiums being eroded.

“With disabled people bearing the brunt of the pandemic, financial support is needed now more than ever.”

SDP claimants who move to Universal Credit will get monthly payments of £120, £285 and £405 but they will be decreased over time.

SDP’s are part of the sickness and disability benefit Employment and Support Allowance which Universal Credit will eventually replace.

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Ken Butler, Welfare Rights and Policy Advisor at Disability Rights UK warns of the issues with Universal Credit for disabled people in the UK.

He said: “The effect of the new regulations will mean that, after transitional help is eroded after time, UC for disabled people will be significantly less generous than ESA and other legacy benefits it has replaced.”