S.D.A. or State Pension?

When my disabled wife reached pensionable age she was approached about claiming state pension but was told she would have to give up her S.D.A. if she did, I asked how much difference, if any, would it make if she did and was told it would make no difference. This was in 1998. Since then pension rules and payments have undergone changes and I get the impression that she might now be considerably better off if she did switch. Can anyone clarify this for me? and advise me as to whether or not switching would be a good idea?

I do know that S.D.A. is no longer available.

Hi Welshlion.

S.D.A ?

Severe Disbility Allowance … replaced with Employment Support Allowance ( ESA ) ?

Severe Disablement Allowance - GOV.UK

Once state retirement age arrives , and the state pension kicks in , SDA / ESA will cease
… " Overlapping Benefit Rule. "

If Universal Credit has been rolled out on your manor , may complicate things as the " SDA "
element tends to disappear under UC.

Much more on that aspect under the main UNIVERSAL CREDIT thread.

An online benefits caculator for you to crunch some numbers

Treat it as a financial m.o.t. … all benefits / allowances currently being claimed ?

State pension … online calculator for you to see what the likely figure will be :

When payable : Check your State Pension age - GOV.UK

How much : Check your State Pension forecast - GOV.UK

Feel free to bounce anything else off us here on the forum.

Hi Chris,
My wife started claiming Severe Disability Allowance in 1992 and reached Pension Age (60 for women at the time) in 1998, I don’t know when they dropped S.D.A. but I do know that those already claiming it would continue to receive it if they were no longer of working age. As I said in my original post in 1998 we were told that claiming state pension would give her the same amount of money so we continued as we were.
My question regards state pension rules nowadays.
From reading the GOV UK site it appears that a married couple are treated as 2 individuals which, if I’m correct, would mean she would get considerably more money on State Pension than she does on S.D.A.
Am I right in my interpretation of the current rules?

Having followed the first of your links the answer appears to be stay as we are though.

When it comes to benfits that clash … S.D.A / E.S.A versus State Pension …
the higher will be payable.

I will assume your wife has been receiving the State Pension with no ESA ( Or
SDA ) paid AFTER initial drawdown ?

( Quite a mixed bag of results when researching this … concensus is that Attendance
Allowance may have been offered when someone reaches State Pension age as an
alternative … did your wife receive AA as an alternative ?


If not , an avenue to explore along with Pension Credit … that online benefit calculator
should reveal the answer ?

I have a horrible feeling that monies have been lost over the years IF , perhaps , AA has
not be claimed ? Perhaps one to bounce off the CUK Advice Team … if needed ?

Local branch of AGE UK would be more than helpful in this respect as well. )

Yes , the State Pension is paid to an individual depending on the level of NI
contributions paid over their working life.

That calculation has been changed more than once since 1998 … the raising
of the State Pension age.

SDA never , officially ended … as a separate benefit , replaced by ESA and ,
for those that qualified through disability , added as a " Premium " to EAS.

The premium disappeared when ESA became one of the benefits within Universal
Credit only to be challenged in the Courts recently … more on that in the main
Universal Credit thread.

Most important consideration now is … are ALL benefits / allowances currently being claimed ?

Time for that online benefits calculator to earn it’s crust ?

Attendance allowance in the equation ?
Benefits if you're over State Pension age - NHS

( Historical benefits … like tracing an old insurance policy when the insurer has been taken over more than once ?

Dole money … Unemployment Benefit … Job Seekers Allowance … Employment Support Allowance … Universal Credit. )

Chris, my wife has never received state pension, or E.S.A. only Disability Living Allowance for care and mobility (higher rate in both cases) with the Severe Disability Allowance. We were told by the Benefits Agency that under the rules in place at that time replacing S.D.A. with state pension would not make any difference to the amount of money she received. I am younger than my wife and was claiming Income Support along with Carers Allowance, the income support did contain a supplement for her age and disability, at the time. I am no longer on any benefits other than state pension but my wife is still on D.L.A. and S.D.A. which is why I am asking if she would now be better off claiming state pension instead of S.D.A.

Now time to bounce that question off the Carers UK Advice Team … contact details follow … best by email :

Now year 15 for me on Carer related forums … seems like nearer 35 at times !

I’ve never come across a case of a person remaining on benefits and NOT drawing down the state pension when it first became available for drawdown.

Deferring the state pension whilst remaining on benefits does have an adverse effect NOW … in 1998 ???

We were told by the Benefits Agency that under the rules in place at that time ( 1998 ? ) replacing S.D.A. with state pension would not make any difference to the amount of money she received.

( I assume verbally ? If in writing , at least something the Advice Team can check against the facts at the time. )

( Unless insufficient NI contributions were made thus reducing the state pension payable AT THAT TIME ??? )

Nor can I comment on the possible financial loss by not doing so when considering the the state pension is usually higher than the benefits so replaced.
( Possible to find out beneits levels back in 1998 but … the state pension payable to your wife in 1998 … then the annual increases to each year-on-year after … to produce an annual gain / loss ??? )

Rule changes in the interim … effect ???

One for the Advice Team … even a pensions specialist !!!

If a loss over the period is , in fact , revealed … retribution … against who / whom would you seek it ???

Let us know the outcome … if for no one else , to satisfy my curiosity … one to add to the scrapbook so to speak.

Hi Welshlion
Sorry for coming so late to the party but I was trying to do some research on this. It’s complicated!
Definitely contact the Carers UK helpline as everything I’ve found says wife should have been transferred to ESA but that that can’t be paid over State Pension age,and yet she is being paid SDA (If i’ve understood correctly.)

Now, state pension basics.
There are 2 schemes running currently. For women born before 5 April 1953 and men born befor 5 April 1951, there is Basic State Pension ( and possibly various top ups). After those dates is the New State Pension, but often written without the all important word ‘new’.

I’ve assumed wife was born before 1953 if she was eligible for pension in 1998 so she falls into the Basic State Pension.

If you have only just reached State Pension Age I assume you were born after April 1951 and you fall into the New State Pension which is more ‘modern’ and is for individuals, but only you, not wife as she is (a tad :wink: ) older

The 2 carry different rates and rules and you will need help to sort it all out and see what she could get

I am particularity concerned that all benefits say you must tell them of any changes (even if it’s changes they should have known about). Your coming off benefits and into state pension should be notified to wife’s benefit people, whether that’s SDA, Incapacity or ESA, whichever she has ended up on BUT I’d certainly recommend contacting helpline ASAP to get the full picture FIRST, but don’t delay informing authorities more than a couple of days after . There can be penalties and sanctions for not informing of changes

Hope this helps a little, what a complicated situation

Hi There,

I have a question about SDA and pensions:

If someone deferred their pension (was at pension age in 2010, female), by deferment I mean she basically, due to mental health issues didn’t know to apply for her pension and simply continued with Severe Disablement Allowance…

Within the criteria of “deferred pensions” she is still due a lump sum, BUT, because she was getting SDA they say she can’t received deferred payment. (In the letters they call it “backdating” which is also incorrect as we are looking for lump sum payment, from deferment, which I am told is technically not “backdating”…

I’ve requested a pension forecast from DWP, however, it is likely the pension amount will be far greator than the SDA she receieved over the last 10 years.

Should then, surely the DWP should pay the difference?

Any knowledable response on this subject greatly appreciated.

With thanks,