Disabled student funding
UWE Bristol recognises that disabled students may incur extra costs to enable them to simply carry out their studies. There are measures in place to minimise the burden of these expenses.
This page is for UK-resident full-time undergraduate disabled students only. If you are an EU or international student you should contact Disability Services.
Increased loan from Student Finance England
Maintenance loans replace the Special Support Grant for students entitled to specific benefits starting their studies in 2016/17. You will be entitled to a higher maintenance loan of up to a maximum of £9,347 if you are in receipt of:
- DLA (Disability Living Allowance),
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- PIP (Personal Independence Payment)
- A disability premium paid as part of Housing Benefit or Income Support.
When you apply for your funding, you will need to include a recent award letter for the relevant benefit.
You will also be eligible for the higher loan if you are deaf and qualify for Disabled Students Allowances.
Additional study-related costs?
Much of your study-related support is financed through Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs) from your funding body. The Disability Service will be able to tell you more about accessing disability support.
Entitlement to sickness benefits such as Employment and Support Allowance may be affected by full-time study and by student funding. If you are incapacitated during your studies, you may become entitled to benefits while you study.
This is a complex area, and the information below is only an overview. If you currently receive benefits and are about to start full-time study or have developed a long-term medical condition during your studies, please contact a Money Adviser to discuss your entitlement.
Employment and Support Allowance
If you are a part-time student, your ESA (income and contribution-based) should continue as long as you continue to meet the criteria for the benefit.
If you are receiving contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), this will continue. This allowance is now paid for one year only.
If you are receiving income-based ESA, you will not be entitled to this once you start your full-time studies unless you are also receiving Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
If you become sick or disabled during your studies, you will not be entitled to claim ESA (income-based) unless you are also entitled to Personal Independence Payment.
Your student funding reduces ESA (income based), even if you decide not to take out the Maintenance Loan. In some cases, your funding may extinguish entitlement completely, apart from during the long vacation. You may, however, continue to be entitled to housing benefit, even if living in UWE Bristol accommodation.
Please note: It is important that you keep abreast of your benefit entitlement and that you keep your benefit office informed whenever your circumstances change. If you do not, you may be overpaid and this is a serious offence. If you think that you have been overpaid, you can discuss your entitlement and options with us in complete confidence.
Some Jobcentre Plus offices do not deal with many claims from disabled students and in the past have miscalculated benefit entitlements. If you think you may be entitled contact our Money Advisers.
Personal Independence Payments
The Personal Independence Payments (PIPs) helps with some of the extra costs caused by long-term ill-health or a disability. To qualify you must have difficulties with activities related to daily living and/or mobility. Visit the Gov.uk website for more information.
To claim you will need to ring the Department for Work and Pensions on +44 (0)800 917 2222.
If you think you may be entitled to claim and would like support through the process, please contact our Money Advisers.
Disability Living Allowance
If you are currently receiving Disability Living Allowance, you will be invited to claim PIP at some point over the next 2 years. If you would like some help with the PIP claim form, please contact our Money Advisers.
Working Tax Credit
If you have an impairment that impacts on your ability to work, you may qualify for Working Tax Credit if you are working more than 16 hours per week. Applications are made to Revenue and Customs and will be means-tested. Most student funding is ignored.
Changes to benefits
Universal Credit will be replacing tax credits and the main means tested benefits. New claims for Universal Credits are due to be introduced gradually. Based on the latest Department of Working Pensions (DWP) information, claims may not start in the Bristol area until October 2015 or later.
Universal Credit will replace:
- Income based Jobseeker's Allowance
- Income based Employment and Support Allowance
- Income support
- Housing benefit
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
It will take a long time to transfer all existing claims for tax credits and benefits into Universal Credit, until late 2017 on current plans. If you are receiving Universal Credit and would like us to check the calculation, please contact our Money Advisers.
Learner Support Funds
Disabled students are priority for non-repayable support from UWE's Learner Support Funds, especially if you are unable to work part-time during your studies. We particularly need to know about the extra costs incurred because of your impairment. We take into account any extra costs relating to any disabled dependants that you might have.
Please note: Applications are income assessed.