Shared Lives and SDP

DCC Welfare Rights have been supporting a client since October 2018 who lost her SDP and who shares her home under the Shared Lives scheme. 
The DWP decided in April 2017 that she was not entitled to the SDP due to a paragraph in the Decision Maker’s Guide (Volume 8, chapter 44 para: 44163) regardless of the legal definition of non-dependents at regulation 71 of the ESA Regulations 2008.
The paragraph read as follows:

‘The claimant will not be entitled to the SDP if there are people other than the carer, carer’s family or other shared lives residents in the dwelling who cannot be ignored, for example where the carer’s 23 year old son still lives in the same dwelling.’

Our client’s carer did have her non-dependent son living in the home and our argument throughout was that there was no basis for the above guidance in law and that it was incorrect, and that when looking at the definition of a non-dependent under the above regulations, our client was clearly entitled to the SDP.

It has taken a long time and a great deal of correspondence but after seeking legal advice, the DWP have advised that the guidance at DMG 44163 referring to the shared lives scheme is incorrect.  This was communicated to us in a letter dated 16/12/20, and we note that on 19/12/20 in the daily update from Gov.UK for Welfare Reform, the paragraph has been amended to read as follows:

The claimant will not be entitled to the SDP if there are people other than the carer, members of the carer’s household, other shared lives residents or anyone liable to make payments for accommodation to the carer on a commercial basis in the dwelling who cannot be ignored.’

We are delighted with the outcome, both for our client and other Shared Lives appellants facing the same issue!

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