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Welfare Supplementary Payments for loss of disability premiums

This advice applies to Northern Ireland

If you want to speak to someone about changes to benefits, you can phone the independent welfare changes helpline for free on 0808 802 0020 or contact your local Citizens Advice.

If you’ve lost the disability premium on one of your benefits when you moved from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) you can get a Welfare Supplementary Payment from the Department of Communities (DfC) instead. It’ll be for the same amount as the premium you’ve lost.

Who can get a payment

You can get a Welfare Supplementary Payment (WSP) if you:

  • were getting the premium on the date you claimed PIP
  • lost the premium because you weren’t awarded PIP or weren’t awarded the component of PIP you need to get the premium
  • are ‘resident and present’ in Northern Ireland - that means you normally live in Northern Ireland and are in Northern Ireland when you get your WSP.

You don’t have to apply.

For Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance and Pension Credit you’ll be paid automatically. If you were getting the severe disability element of Working Tax Credit (WTC), the DfC will write to you asking you to confirm your WTC award - send them your WTC revised award notice .

How you’ll be paid

You’ll be paid automatically every four weeks in arrears, starting from the day after you lose your disability premium. This means there won’t be a gap in payment.

The DfC will pay the money into the same account as they pay your benefit into.

You’ll get the WSP for up to one year. You can’t get any payments after 31 March 2020.

How long it’s paid for

You’ll get the WSP for up to one year.

It’ll stop if you:

  • stop getting the benefit it’s paid with, eg if you were getting Income Support but then stop getting it - you’ll stop getting the WSP for the loss of premium on your Income Support
  • get a new award of PIP and get the same disability premium on your benefit as you were getting before
  • have appealed your PIP award and the appeal has been decided, either to change the decision or to leave it the same 
  • start claiming benefit as a couple and your partner gets a disability premium. You’ll get a disability premium at the single rate on your benefit.

If you claim the benefit again or claim another benefit which has an equivalent premium, for example you start claiming JSA instead of ESA and you do this within 12 weeks, you’ll get the WSP again. It’ll be paid at the same rate as you were getting it before.

If your circumstances change

You need to tell the DfC if:

  • you’re away from Northern Ireland for more than 4 weeks - you’ll stop getting payments after you’ve been away for 4 weeks.
  • you’re away from Northern Ireland for more than 13 weeks for medical treatment - you’ll stop getting payments after you’ve been away for 13 weeks.
  • you go into hospital, or a care home or into prison - your WSP will stop after 28 days but start again when you come out.

The same change of circumstances rules that apply to the benefit apply to the WSP. For example, you need to tell the DfC if you’re getting the severe disability premium and someone starts getting Carer’s Allowance for looking after you.

If you notify the DfC benefits office of a change of circumstances, you don’t need to notify the WSP Team separately. Keep a note of when you reported the change to the benefits office.

Welfare Supplementary Payments and other benefits

WSPs aren’t benefits and aren’t counted as income for benefit purposes. Payments made in respect of Carers Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance are treated as taxable income.  Payments made to cover the loss of Carer Premium and Disability Premiums may be taxable in certain circumstances.  

Contact your local Citizens Advice if you need more information.

Challenging a decision

If you disagree with the decision on your WSP you can ask for a review by phoning or writing to the WSP Team. For example, if the DfC have told you they’re stopping your payments but you think you should still be getting them.

You have one month from the date of notification of your decision letter to ask for a review unless you have a good reason why your request is late.

Welfare Supplementary Payments Team
Castle Court
Royal Avenue
Belfast
BT1 1HR

Telephone: 0800 587 0971
Textphone: 0800 587 0973

If you get an overpayment

Overpayments of WSPs are recoverable - that means that if you’ve been paid too much the DfC will ask for the money back. 

Your local Citizens Advice can help you if you’re not sure about the overpayment or how the DfC will recover it.

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