Council saying apply for Universal Credit when on ESA. — Scope | Disability forum
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Council saying apply for Universal Credit when on ESA.

formula1 Member Posts: 2 Listener

My brother is on ESA (Support element) and get's PIP too - the lower one.  He has just moved to a house and I've been helping him apply for housing benefit.  He keeps going out of the house and my father is very high-risk for Covid as he's a pensioner and also very weak now due to ill health.

When applying for Housing Benefit we went on the government website and filled in all his details.  The website said he is eligible with an estimated value and everything else and said he can claim and asked for his post code and from that transferred to the council website.  All details were filled in early April but no answer was received.  We've emailed them on Friday asking why and they have replied with the following:

"Thank you for your e-mail. We have received your claim form and we were waiting for council tax to make you liable before we can process your council tax reduction. Your council tax bill has now been raised and the processor will process you council tax reduction claim in due course and will write to you once it has been done. As you don’t receive the severe disability premium we are unable to consider you for housing benefit. You can make a claim for Universal Credit to see if they can award you rent allowance".

Is this correct?

Can he not claim for housing benefit?

Does he have to first claim Universal Credit?

Please advise as we've given all the information yet they're going on about a "severe disability premium".  This seems to imply that only disabled people can claim housing benefit, which I very much doubt.

Would be very much appreciative if somebody can guide us with the correct process and what we need to do.

Thank you.


  • woodbine
    woodbine Community Co-Production Group Posts: 5,251 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @formula1 hope you are ok? If he lived alone he would qualify for SDP if he got IR ESA, and therefore couldn't be transferred to UC, as he lives with his dad he won't qualify for SDP and will therefore have to claim UC to get help with his rent,
    Offering PIP advice to people with epilepsy.
  • Adrian_Scope
    Adrian_Scope Testing team Posts: 8,074

    Scope community team

    Hello @formula1

    Housing benefit has been replaced by Universal Credit for most people (there is a housing element on UC). 
    However, if your brother lives alone (or if the only other adults living with him receive PIP/DLA/AA) he could possibly have SDP on his claim (or be entitled to it). 

    SDP is worth over £60 a week and if he claimed Universal Credit he would lose eligibility for it. It’s worth looking into whether he is entitled to SDP or whether he is already claiming it. If so, he CAN claim housing benefit and his claim for it should be allowed. If he doesn’t have SDP and isn’t eligible, then they are correct that he would have to claim UC to receive help with housing. 
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  • Adrian_Scope
    Adrian_Scope Testing team Posts: 8,074

    Scope community team

    Hi again @formula1. Reading your post again, I realised as your brother has only just moved, it’s possible he’s only just become eligible for SDP. Please take the time to explore whether it’s possible for him to add this onto his ESA claim as it’s worth a fair amount of money and there is no equivalent on UC. I’d strongly advise you not to claim UC until you are both certain he doesn’t have or can’t claim SDP. Let me know if you need any help or advice checking that. 
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  • Ails
    Ails Member Posts: 2,256 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @formula1 and welcome to the Community.  It's nice to meet you.  I haven't anything to add to the great advice/information you have been given above by members, but just wanted to welcome you.  I hope you have found this information helpful.  If we can be of any other help then please just let us know.  All the best.  :smile:
    Winner of the Scope New Volunteer Award 2019.   :)
  • Naughtynan
    Naughtynan Member Posts: 87 Courageous
    It's better to stay on esa. Universal credit is not a good benefit. 😞 I'm surprised you were told you can't get housing benefit on esa. My son gets esa and on his letters it always says you can get help with your rent. I'm not expert but don't rush into universal credit as once you come off esa and into UC there's no going back. 
  • formula1
    formula1 Member Posts: 2 Listener
    Thank You very much to EACH and ALL for your kind words, wonderful help and vast knowledge.

    I've checked his PIP letters and they do state he can get help with Housing

    I understand your concerns and rest assured we'll exhaust other options first before even thinking about UC.


    Hi is not on SDP.  What is the process for getting SDP added to his claim please?

    Thank you all again
  • woodbine
    woodbine Community Co-Production Group Posts: 5,251 Disability Gamechanger
    @formula1 To get SDP he has to reclaiming IR ESA and live on his own, or with someone who also gets dla/pip or AA.
    @Naughtynan there are some instances where you can actually be better off on UC.
    Offering PIP advice to people with epilepsy.


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