Severe Disablement Allowance

Since April 2001 it has not been possible to make a new claim for Severe Disablement Allowance (SDA). You may have been able to claim if before April 2001 you were unable to work because of illness or disability.

Severe Disablement Allowance has been replaced with Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). The Department for Communities will re-assess your Severe Disablement Allowance claim to see if you’re capable of work or eligible for ESA.

Your claim won’t be re-assessed if you reached State Pension age before 6 April 2014.

Re-assessing your claim

If you’re not about to reach State Pension age, the Department for Communities (DfC) will send you a questionnaire. This will ask you how your illness or disability affects your ability to complete everyday tasks.

Complete this questionnaire and return it by the deadline. Include original medical reports or letters that are relevant - you’ll get these back.

DfC will tell you if you need a face-to-face Work Capability Assessment. If you do, you must go.

If the re-assessment shows you’re capable of working, your Severe Disablement Allowance will stop. DfC will discuss your next steps, including claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance.

If the re-assessment shows you can’t work, you’ll be transferred automatically onto Employment and Support Allowance.

Permitted work

Your Severe Disablement Allowance isn’t usually affected if you:

  • do volunteer work
  • work for less than 16 hours a week on average and earn up to £120 a week
  • work and earn up to £120 a week, if your work is done as part of a treatment programme or is supervised by someone from a local council or voluntary organisation
  • work and earn up to £120 a week and are exempt from personal capability assessment

This is called ‘permitted work’.

If your circumstances change

Tell DfC if your circumstances change - this can affect how much you get. The number will be on any letters DfC has sent you.

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