Disabled student funding

UWE Bristol recognises that disabled students may incur extra costs to enable them to 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 UWE Bristol's Disability Service.

Increased loan from Student Finance England

A Special Support Maintenance Loan is an increased loan from Student Finance and is available for students in certain circumstances. These circumstances include students 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.

View all eligibility categories for the Special Support Maintenance Loan.

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?

You can apply for additional support if you have study-related expenses arising from a disability. These allowances are not means-tested – you can view more information on gov.uk.

Much of your study-related support is financed through Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs) from your funding body. Disability Service will be able to tell you more about accessing disability support.


Entitlement and eligibility 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 a full-time or part time course, or have developed a long-term medical condition during your studies, please contact a Money Adviser to discuss your entitlement.

Employment and Support Allowance

Part-time students

If you are a part-time student, your income and contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) should continue as long as you continue to meet the criteria for the benefit.

Full-time students

If you are receiving contribution-based ESA, this will continue. This allowance is normally paid for 365 days but can be longer in certain circumstances.

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 a Money Adviser.

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 on Personal Independence Payments

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 a Money Adviser.

Disability Living Allowance

If you are currently receiving Disability Living Allowance, you will be invited to claim PIP at some point. If you would like some help with the PIP claim form, please contact a Money Adviser.

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 has been phased in through most of the country including Bristol and South Gloucestershire. If you are making a new benefits claim or reporting a change in circumstances to an existing benefits claim then it is possible you will be assessed for Universal Credit. This will depend on your circumstances, so please contact a Money Adviser if you would like to discuss this further.

View the latest information about Universal Credit in the Bristol Area.

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.

If you are receiving Universal Credit and would like us to check the calculation, please contact a Money Adviser.

Student Support Funds

Disabled students are priority for non-repayable support from UWE Bristol's Student 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 dependents that you might have.

Please note: Applications are income assessed, so not all applicants receive support.

Back to top