One of the original benefits aimed at those who were unable to work, Severe Disablement Allowance (SDA) stopped taking new claims in April 2001, and was replaced by Incapacity Benefit (which itself is now in the process of being phased out).
These changes were instigated as part of the first round of welfare reforms implemented by the Labour government under the leadership of Tony Blair.
Anyone who has previously making a Severe Disablement Allowance claim should now have been moved over to the new Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) payment scheme – and this is also the body that deal with any new applicants who are unfit or unable to work.
Severe Disablement Allowance was one of the first benefits to be aggressively focussed on by aspects of the media, harming public perception of a payment that had been of huge benefit for many vulnerable people. This is a trend that has continued to the present day, with Incapacity Benefit and Employment and Support Allowance both getting huge amounts of negative press coverage.
Despite numerous restructures to the subsequent schemes, it still appears that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have been unable to find a system that satisfies both claimants and the taxpayer.