Inpact of Full time (16hrs/week) college course on income-related ESA

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Hi all, I am in receipt of income based ESA and I want to study a course at my local college to give me the opportunity to test how I cope with committing to a schedule. I am very keen to get back into the work place and have taken many steps towards this but I feel I am still not capable of committing to an employers schedule. However, after attending a couple of short courses I feel that going back to college would offer me a safe environment in which to experiment with my current limits. ie, missing college has less of a negative impact than missing work. In many areas. I was wondering if you guys can point me in the right direction to information for presenting this idea to the DWP under the permitted work rules (course is 16hr/week) and on the basis that it will be theraputic for me?

Thanks in advance! :)
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  • pmlindyloo
    pmlindyloo Posts: 13,051 Forumite
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    BadBunnie wrote: »
    Hi all, I am in receipt of income based ESA and I want to study a course at my local college to give me the opportunity to test how I cope with committing to a schedule. I am very keen to get back into the work place and have taken many steps towards this but I feel I am still not capable of committing to an employers schedule. However, after attending a couple of short courses I feel that going back to college would offer me a safe environment in which to experiment with my current limits. ie, missing college has less of a negative impact than missing work. In many areas. I was wondering if you guys can point me in the right direction to information for presenting this idea to the DWP under the permitted work rules (course is 16hr/week) and on the basis that it will be theraputic for me?

    Thanks in advance! :)

    First of all Permitted Work rules are for paid work and not attending college.

    The rules for claiming ESA whilst doing a college course are a little complicated.

    Basically you can do a part time course and still be eligible for ESA but any grants/ loans you received may be counted as income.

    You cannot usually do a full time course and claim ESA unless you are receiving DLA or PIP.

    The first thing you need to do is find out about courses, the costs and any Funding.

    You also need to know whether it is classed as full time or part time.

    A link with a contact for you

    http://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/employment-and-support-allowance-overview

    Scroll down to Students.

    You must also speak to your advisor about this. It has been known for some to be not particularly sympathetic with the attitude 'if you can go to college, you can go to work'

    Just do your homework first.
    .
  • epitome
    epitome Posts: 3,199 Forumite
    edited 17 July 2014 at 7:16PM
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    Do you get DLA or PIP?

    Are you on ESA IR or ESA Conts?
    If you get ESA IR is there an underlying ESA Conts entitlement?

    If you are also on DLA or PIP you can do the full time course on ESA.
    If not then you will have to ask the college if it is classed as full time or part time? Part time will be ok, full time will not be ok.

    These rules only apply to ESA IR, if you have ESA Conts then you can do the full time course.

    I have no idea why there is a difference between ESA IR and ESA Conts on this issue - does anyone else know?

    I can understand the usual ESA Conts exemptions
    No savings limit,
    pension disregard of £85,

    But I fail to see why having ESA Conts should allow you to do a full time course, but there you go!
  • BadBunnie
    BadBunnie Posts: 12 Forumite
    edited 17 July 2014 at 7:30PM
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    I see that I maybe didn't make it clear enough in my original post that I already know the particulars for the course. I should also probably mention that I am in Scotland.

    I have already researched and chosen the course I would study and while it might be classed as Full Time it is only 16hrs a week, which is within the permitted work rules. In my opinion, this course is not actually full time, if it was a job it would be part time. Therefore, my thinking is: if they allow recipients to work for 16hrs a week there should be no difference for those who wish to enter formal education. The education system is much more flexible and sympathetic to my needs and I know this from experience. I use the word "should" as I know that it is not going to be as easy as that. My jobcentre adviser and I have a great working relationship and she will be thrilled that I wish to take this step towards getting back to work. However, she will need as much information as possible to help me make sure the government does what's best for me. It is unfortunate that there is a large proportion of jobcentre staff who do no know all the regulations and how they are applied. Here, I am thinking of the benefit processing staff/ATOS.

    I have been on incapacity benefit and then ESA and I have learned over the years that getting the DWP to do what is best for you is about how you present the information. When I was switched from IB to ESA I was initially denied it as I was in no fit state to complete the forms myself and couldn't find help. Then I met 2 very amazing people (one of them my jobcenter adviser) who helped me reapply and gather all the evidence needed so there was no confusion regarding my circumstances and whether I was fit for work. By evidence, I mean I went armed to the teeth; GP letter, psychologist report, a letter from the organisation I was volunteering with detailing my limited capability and reduced duties and how it benefited me. I also took a letter from myself and a family member detailing the day to day effects of my condition.

    So to clarify I am looking for:
      Information from official sources (like the link given but for Scotland) on the policies for income based ESA recipients who wish to go to college
      Information from people in similar situations

    I am also conducting my own research and contacting any relevant organisations I can find, however, after reading a few related posts here this seemed a good place to put out feelers.

    Thanks again and help really is appreciated :)
  • BadBunnie
    BadBunnie Posts: 12 Forumite
    edited 17 July 2014 at 7:56PM
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    Hi epitome, your post went up while I was typing my mammoth reponse lol. So that the info on my circumstances is more visable;
      I am on Income related ESA, no contribution element
      I am in the work related activity group (as requested by me)
      The course is classed as full-time but is only 16hrs per week over 3 days- no timetable has been set yet
      The course is SCQF level 6 which is the equivalent of the Scottish Highers. As a newbie, I'm not allowed to post links but you could google SCQF to get more info.
      I have worked my !!! off for the DWP making sure we are all on the same page and would like to continue doing so, so I can do what's best for my health and not muck it up- a thought that terrifies me lol
  • rogerblack
    rogerblack Posts: 9,446 Forumite
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    BadBunnie wrote: »
    • I am on Income related ESA, no contribution element
    • The course is classed as full-time but is only 16hrs per week over 3 days- no timetable has been set yet

    Do you get DLA, or PIP.
    You cannot do full time courses on income-based ESA, at all, unless this is the case.
  • epitome
    epitome Posts: 3,199 Forumite
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    BadBunnie wrote: »
    I have been on incapacity benefit and then ESA and I have learned over the years that getting the DWP to do what is best for you is about how you present the information. When I was switched from IB to ESA I was initially denied it as I was in no fit state to complete the forms myself and couldn't find help. Then I met 2 very amazing people (one of them my jobcenter adviser) who helped me reapply
    You should have appealed... did you appeal and win your appeal, or did you make a new claim and let your IB migration lapse?

    What do you mean you are in WRAG "at your request"?

    Education has nothing to do with employment or permitted work, however, you misunderstand the Permitted Work rule... Permitted Work is under 16 hours a week. If you did 16 hours of work a week your claim would be closed. If you did 15 hours and 59 minutes you could do it as Permitted Work.

    What usually matters is the course classification, even if it was 12 hours a week it might still be classed as Full Time and you would not be allowed to do the course on ESA.

    I will look at the rules for Education again tomorrow and I will copy and paste them here for you, as long as I can remember to do it :)
  • BadBunnie
    BadBunnie Posts: 12 Forumite
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    Do you get DLA, or PIP.

    No.
    You should have appealed... did you appeal and win your appeal, or did you make a new claim and let your IB migration lapse?

    No I did not appeal. I reapplied with the correct information. I have ME/CFS so it was decided best to reapply and include as much information as possible explaining the intermittent nature of my condition with the help of the evidence I mentioned. The form is not designed for people with these types of conditions.
    What do you mean you are in WRAG "at your request"?

    When I reapplied I requested that I be put into that group so I could get the help I needed to continue moving forward. It's a very dynamic situation with my health and I am only just learning to manage it (please don't confuse this with being able to cope). I was diagnosed in 2007 and I have only been on ESA for the last year. Being in the work group has allowed me to explore what I am capable of and find the help I needed. Up until I completed the short courses I mentioned, going back to college hadn't crossed my mind. Doing the courses made me realise that it could be a good stepping stone that would provided me with a less stressful environment to experiment in. I would like to add that these courses and the college course are all steps to helping me with becoming self employed (again) so I will still have that flexibility.
    Education has nothing to do with employment or permitted work, however, you misunderstand the Permitted Work rule... Permitted Work is under 16 hours a week. If you did 16 hours of work a week your claim would be closed. If you did 15 hours and 59 minutes you could do it as Permitted Work.

    Yeah, that point slipped my mind :(
    What usually matters is the course classification, even if it was 12 hours a week it might still be classed as Full Time and you would not be allowed to do the course on ESA.

    It's definitely classed as full-time. Which is stupid lol. I suppose it helps for other things in the scheme of it.
    I will look at the rules for Education again tomorrow and I will copy and paste them here for you, as long as I can remember to do it

    thank you! thank you! thank you! :P

    Also, I totally apologise for the ridiculous over use of quotes, it was just the easiest way to reply cause my head is buzzing! :P Time for me to put this out of my head for a bit and do something else! :)

    thanks again guys
  • rogerblack
    rogerblack Posts: 9,446 Forumite
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    BadBunnie wrote: »
    No I did not appeal. I reapplied with the correct information. I have ME/CFS so it was decided best to reapply and include as much information as possible explaining the intermittent nature of my condition with the help of the evidence I mentioned. The form is not designed for people with these types of conditions.

    If this decision not to award you ESA was under 13 months ago, you can and should appeal it.
  • epitome
    epitome Posts: 3,199 Forumite
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    Hmmm, you should have appealed with all that information you gathered.

    Out of interest, when did your IB stop?
  • missbiggles1
    missbiggles1 Posts: 17,481 Forumite
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    A full time course may only have 16 hours of contact time but there'll be many extra hours of independent study required as well. What level course are you planning to do?
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