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Going back to college whilst claiming Contribution-based ESA
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# 1
Twp1989
Old 12-08-2013, 11:50 PM
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Default Going back to college whilst claiming Contribution-based ESA

Hello everybody.

I posted this in the Education bit of this site and had 134 views but 0 replies so I thought I would try again here instead!

I am looking at going back to college to do 14 hours per week studying for an Access Course in Humanities. The course starts in September 2013 and runs for 1 year. I will be attending classes 3 days a week.

I was informed by the DWP that if I was on Income-based ESA, I would only be allowed to study up to 16 hours a week without any effects on my claim for benefit. Also, on Income-based ESA, an application for funding for college course fees would stop my benefit.

However, I am now in receipt of Contribution-based ESA and I was wondering how this change of benefit type will affect my chances of being allowed to go back to college? Will I still be limited by the 16 hours a week? Will an award of Learner Support Fund money to pay for my tuition fees stop my claim for ESA?

In case it helps, I am 23 years of age and my course is classed as part-time by the college.

Thanks!
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# 2
Dunroamin
Old 13-08-2013, 12:03 AM
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Are you sure the course is classed as part time? Access courses are normally 1 year full time and 2 years part time.
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# 3
von
Old 13-08-2013, 12:53 AM
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Your course, part time or full time does not affect cont based ESA. You need to be aware though that if for any reason your cont based ESA stops and you become entitled to Income Related ESA then if your course is regarded as a full time course by the College you will only satisfy the conditions of entitlement for Income Related ESA as a student if you are receiving DLA.
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# 4
missapril75
Old 13-08-2013, 3:40 AM
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I know little about ESA but the points Von makes about different treatment according to which type of ESA is in payment sound very similar to the different rules applying for Income Support or Incapacity Benefit prior to when ESA was introduced.

Whichever benefit it was back then, it was still possible to do a part time course. But if someone's health had improved to the level that they could physically attend a college, meet requirements for out of college study/research/assignment deadlines/exams etc then it might have a bearing on whatever assessment was in place regarding their incapacity and fitness for work.

That's not to say that college attendance means someone can work but it might mean that some work was possible.

Perhaps that is something looked at for ESA too?
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# 5
Dunroamin
Old 13-08-2013, 8:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by missapril75 View Post
I know little about ESA but the points Von makes about different treatment according to which type of ESA is in payment sound very similar to the different rules applying for Income Support or Incapacity Benefit prior to when ESA was introduced.

Whichever benefit it was back then, it was still possible to do a part time course. But if someone's health had improved to the level that they could physically attend a college, meet requirements for out of college study/research/assignment deadlines/exams etc then it might have a bearing on whatever assessment was in place regarding their incapacity and fitness for work.

That's not to say that college attendance means someone can work but it might mean that some work was possible.

Perhaps that is something looked at for ESA too?

When I was based in colleges a few years ago there were many people on both IS and IB doing full time courses. Obviously there would have been problems if someone was doing a physical type of course that contradicted the person's illness or disability but there weren't problems for the sort of issues you mention, even for quite severe cases of mental illness. Further education isn't a particularly stressful environment and it was accepted as being totally different from being employed.
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# 6
pmlindyloo
Old 13-08-2013, 9:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by missapril75 View Post
I know little about ESA but the points Von makes about different treatment according to which type of ESA is in payment sound very similar to the different rules applying for Income Support or Incapacity Benefit prior to when ESA was introduced.

Whichever benefit it was back then, it was still possible to do a part time course. But if someone's health had improved to the level that they could physically attend a college, meet requirements for out of college study/research/assignment deadlines/exams etc then it might have a bearing on whatever assessment was in place regarding their incapacity and fitness for work.

That's not to say that college attendance means someone can work but it might mean that some work was possible.

Perhaps that is something looked at for ESA too?

I don't know whether this might be useful - taken from Liverpool Hope University website.

QUOTE

Sometimes the D.W.P. review your disability benefit entitlement when you become a full-time student and treat you as capable of full-time work because you are attending a full-time course and use this reason to stop paying Incapacity Benefit/Income Support/Employment and Support Allowance. If your medical condition remains the same regardless of the fact that you are a student or you are trying to do the course for therapeutic reasons you should challenge the decision and put in an appeal. A full-time course does not necessarily have the workload or the responsibilities of a full time job and if your benefit stops whilst you are studying a full-time course but your medical condition has not changed and you do not feel capable of full-time work you should seek advice about appealing. It would help if your doctor can confirm that your illness has not changed and/or that you are taking up the course for therapeutic reasons.
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# 7
Twp1989
Old 13-08-2013, 2:32 PM
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Thanks for the great feedback everyone. Just want to clarify that my course has been confirmed as a part-time course with 14 hours per week of study and the independent study at home is up to me how much I want to do, there are no set hours for it. I would also like to state that with regards to my ESA, I am in the Support Group as my mental health has been classed as severe enough for the extra help. I struggle with severe depression and anxiety every day and I have bad panic attacks, all controlled with antidepressants and intense counselling.
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# 8
missapril75
Old 13-08-2013, 3:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dunroamin View Post
When I was based in colleges a few years ago there were many people on both IS and IB doing full time courses.
Including single parents, of course, who may also have been "sick" but were not subject to the same rules.

Quote:
Obviously there would have been problems if someone was doing a physical type of course that contradicted the person's illness or disability
But not just physical.
Quote:
...there weren't problems for the sort of issues you mention, even for quite severe cases of mental illness.
But if someone was claiming to be unable to concentrate or something similar then the typoe of course may well contradict the illness in the same way you described.
Quote:
Further education isn't a particularly stressful environment and it was accepted as being totally different from being employed.
Yes...but that's missing the key part where I said if someone's health had improved to the extent they could undertake the course.
I even emphasised the improvement in their condition because that's a material change.
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# 9
LL30
Old 13-08-2013, 7:48 PM
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I'm a full time masters student in receipt of ESA. At my medical, there were very specific questions relating to how I coped at Uni and I had to explain about the adjustments which have been made for me. My tutor was happy to write a letter outlining the support I receive, but it wasn't necessary and I found that my report was accurate with regards to this (not much else, but there we go!!).
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# 10
oliviawedy
Old 26-09-2013, 2:13 PM
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My Husband was on cont ESA due to broken leg/ankle and surgery etc.
He has just started Access to HE and was told it is now classed as fulltime as the lectures at college are hrs & about the same home study time!
He went & informed Job centre and they stopped payments straight away!
He's receiving the 24+ loan but our family income is now going to be just my wage so approx 10-12k depending on overtime!!!
Can anyone advise if we should be entitled to anything??!!!!
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