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  • FIRST POST
    • benstuart
    • By benstuart 3rd Nov 18, 3:33 PM
    • 21Posts
    • 5Thanks
    benstuart
    Disabled Student-Universal Credit
    • #1
    • 3rd Nov 18, 3:33 PM
    Disabled Student-Universal Credit 3rd Nov 18 at 3:33 PM
    Hello,
    My son Ben (has from Aspergers Syndrome,ME and occasional bouts of depression), he attends Durham University, and is studying towards a Masters in Chemistry(we are so proud of him!).He has just stated his third year.
    In previous years he has received housing benefit and (when at home) ESA-Ir totalling £5534 per annum.
    On reapplying to Durham County council, we were informed that because it was now a full service area, they could now no longer process new housing benefit claims, we would have to apply for Universal Credit.
    This we did on 05/09/18, the first phone call, including waiting lasted 3 hours 5 minutes.
    After setting up the account, interviews,intrusive emails,repeated requests for more information and interminable delays we finally got a decision on 02/11/2018.
    The decision was that the DWP were going to reduce Ben's benefit from £5534 to Zero!
    The main reasons being
    1.Student loans are classed as income, and are deducted from the award
    2.There is no transition payment, due to it being classed as a change in circumstances(a new claim)-even though there was no change in circumstances, he was forced to apply because Durham CC no longer processed claims
    3.There was no recognition of Ben's disability(ie a Limited Capability for Work.
    I have asked for a breakdown of the total adjustment(reduction) they have made.
    The upshot of all this is that disabled students in similar circumstances will find it virtually impossible to get a meaningful Universal Credit award.
    We are supposed to encourage those with a disability to achieve their potential, the effect of this will be to jeopardise Ben's place studying a subject he loves at a prestigious university.
    It surely cannot be fair or equitable ,due to arbitrary decisions by the DWP, to cut a benefit by £5534 per annum, for a disabled student.
    Any suggestions,information or assistance would be gratefully received,
    Regards,
    Stuart.
Page 1
    • Alice Holt
    • By Alice Holt 3rd Nov 18, 3:45 PM
    • 2,885 Posts
    • 3,367 Thanks
    Alice Holt
    • #2
    • 3rd Nov 18, 3:45 PM
    • #2
    • 3rd Nov 18, 3:45 PM
    The element of the student loan which should be set against UC is, I think, only the maintenance amount.
    It should exclude tuition fees, etc.

    However UC and students is particularly fraught. and I would speak to these people:
    https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/how-we-can-help/helplines/disabled-students-helpline

    In the meantime start an MR / appeal against the UC in case they have got it wrong.
    There are timescales for this, so put in an MR:
    https://www.leicester.gov.uk/media/178163/mandatory-reconsideration-request.pdf
    You can withdraw the appeal if they are proved correct.

    Also contact your MP.

    Was he in the Support Group for ESA?
    Alice Holt Forest situated some 4 miles south of Farnham forms the most northerly gateway to the South Downs National Park.
    • benstuart
    • By benstuart 3rd Nov 18, 4:09 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    benstuart
    • #3
    • 3rd Nov 18, 4:09 PM
    • #3
    • 3rd Nov 18, 4:09 PM
    Hello Alice,

    Many thanks for your prompt and informative response
    You are correct in thinking only the maintenace element is include, but in Ben's case this is over £6000( I have requested a full breakdown of the Total Adjustment(the total comes to £6994 per annnum)
    I have emailed disabilty rights , as I have found them helpful and friendly in the past.
    I have requested a MR(We had to go to a tribunal to get Ben's ESA, , so I have no great faith in the MR, but will persist)
    He was in the work related group(he was automatically placed in that after the tribunal, I should have appealed that, but after 18 months dealing with the DWP, I had almost lost the will to live! )
    I have contacted my MP, and Ben's in Durham.
    I really would like to hear a politician or civil servant justify the removal of £5534(Ben has to live in halls of residence, so that the university can provide the appropriate pastoral care- the rent is expensive!) from a disabled student which will seriously affect his life chances(Even the lady at the DWP(guardedly), advised me to contact my MP
    Once again,many thanks for your help,
    Regards,
    Stuart.
    • pmlindyloo
    • By pmlindyloo 3rd Nov 18, 4:35 PM
    • 12,253 Posts
    • 14,078 Thanks
    pmlindyloo
    • #4
    • 3rd Nov 18, 4:35 PM
    • #4
    • 3rd Nov 18, 4:35 PM
    Does your son receive DLA/PIP?

    Was he receiving income based ESA when he was attending university?

    I am a little confused by what has happened because the 'rules' for UC and income based ESA (on which presumably his HB award was based) as a full time student are very similar.

    https://www.turn2us.org.uk/Benefit-guides/Full-time-students-and-benefits/Can-full-time-students-claim-disability-benefits#guide-content
    • poppy12345
    • By poppy12345 3rd Nov 18, 5:10 PM
    • 4,720 Posts
    • 4,421 Thanks
    poppy12345
    • #5
    • 3rd Nov 18, 5:10 PM
    • #5
    • 3rd Nov 18, 5:10 PM
    Hello,

    In previous years he has received housing benefit and (when at home) ESA-Ir totalling £5534 per annum.
    Originally posted by benstuart
    Does he still have an ESA award of LCW? It's not clear in either of your posts.



    To get universal credit (UC) a disabled student must satisfy two provisions: firstly, s/he must be entitled to disability living allowance (DLA) or personal independence payment (PIP) (or certain other disability benefits), and secondly, have limited capability for work Ė ie, satisfy the limited capability for work test in the work capability assessment



    The above was taken from this link.

    http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/universal-credit-and-disabled-students
    • benstuart
    • By benstuart 3rd Nov 18, 5:41 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    benstuart
    • #6
    • 3rd Nov 18, 5:41 PM
    • #6
    • 3rd Nov 18, 5:41 PM
    He is receiving PIP.
    He received housing benefit while at university and ESA ir whilst at home.
    I cannot comment on the similarities, only on the outcome.
    • poppy12345
    • By poppy12345 3rd Nov 18, 5:54 PM
    • 4,720 Posts
    • 4,421 Thanks
    poppy12345
    • #7
    • 3rd Nov 18, 5:54 PM
    • #7
    • 3rd Nov 18, 5:54 PM
    He is receiving PIP.
    He received housing benefit while at university and ESA ir whilst at home.
    I cannot comment on the similarities, only on the outcome.
    Originally posted by benstuart
    That doesn't answer my question. As he's not at home now, is he still receiving ESA? Or was he still receiving ESA before he started the UC claim?
    • benstuart
    • By benstuart 3rd Nov 18, 7:31 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    benstuart
    • #8
    • 3rd Nov 18, 7:31 PM
    • #8
    • 3rd Nov 18, 7:31 PM
    He has an ongoing,entitlement to esa, it is only paid whilst he is at home(his student finance is spread over the academic year and thus precludes him receiving ESA), he receives housing benefit whilst at university.He was receiving ESA Before his UC claim.
    • Ineededaname
    • By Ineededaname 3rd Nov 18, 7:58 PM
    • 122 Posts
    • 57 Thanks
    Ineededaname
    • #9
    • 3rd Nov 18, 7:58 PM
    • #9
    • 3rd Nov 18, 7:58 PM
    Without an active WCA decision a disabled student is not entitled to Universal Credit. I find it very strange they have noted that and the claim is still open at all.

    Regardless, something is incorrect here. You said the entitlement to ESA was year round. If this is the case why the need to reapply?

    If the ESA claim did close then I think you are stuck. There shouldn't be any entitlement to UC at all at this point. (Unless he meets another exception but unlikely).

    If the ESA claim was still open when you claimed UC then the LCW decision would carry over and as he is also in receipt of PIP he is entitled. If he was receiving the limited capability for work rate on ESA he should also get extra UC. He may also have been entitled to one bed rate of housing instead of shared accommodation rate due to the PIP claim - if so this should also be the case on UC. In this scenario - the amount they have calculated at this point may not be correct. It takes time for the LCW decision to fully transfer over and if it does apply the housing exception could have been missed.

    This whole situation depends on one very important question - did he have an ACTIVE ESA claim when the UC claim was made.

    Income related benefits have never supposed to be for students. Understandably there are extra costs involved due to the disability but this is what the disability benefit is intended for. All students need to pay accommodation and many have no choice but to use the expensive halls at the very least for their first year. Unfortunatley it's sad reality that student finance just does not cover the costs these days. Lots of students need to work part time or receive substantial parental support
    • poppy12345
    • By poppy12345 3rd Nov 18, 8:01 PM
    • 4,720 Posts
    • 4,421 Thanks
    poppy12345
    Have they taken his ESA award into consideration for the UC? See my link above that students can only claim UC IF they satisfy the two provisions (DLA/PIP award and LCW) it's possible that they haven't taken the ESA into consideration, if they havent then he won't qualify for UC.



    It happens all the time, people claim UC because they have no other option and their ESA award isn't honoured in the UC claim.
    • benstuart
    • By benstuart 3rd Nov 18, 8:21 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    benstuart
    I will try to answer the points one by one.
    Ben does have an active WCA.
    The reapplication was for housing benefit, not esa.
    The esa claim is not closed, and was active
    LCW within UC was changed in April 2017, it is now LCWRA, which is defined not only as Limited Capability for Work, but also not being in a position to prepare for it.
    He did get the one bedroom rate.
    He qualified for these benefits as agreed by the DWP, nothing has changed.
    He does receive substantial parental support.
    He has 40 hours lectures, labwork and seminars, not mentioning the research work outside of this,he suffers from ME(CFS),He is exhausted at the end of thew day and week..
    • benstuart
    • By benstuart 3rd Nov 18, 8:43 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    benstuart
    The UC claim was accepted, the reason it was reduced to zero is the fact that the adjustments(student loan) outweighed the original award.
    The point being Ben's circumstances have not changed.
    Disability Rights UK(disabled students-universal credit), put it more succinctly how the system is doing disabled students a disservice than I possibly could.
    • Ineededaname
    • By Ineededaname 3rd Nov 18, 8:58 PM
    • 122 Posts
    • 57 Thanks
    Ineededaname
    Perfect thank you.

    The LCW rate IS payable on UC if the person's ESA or UC claim was started prior to April 2017. I'm assuming this is the case.

    If he got one bed rate before that should also still apply.

    Those are the two things you need to check with the DWP. If he's had a payment statement you can see which elements they've given him and the amounts so you can check this quite easily.
    • Alice Holt
    • By Alice Holt 3rd Nov 18, 9:27 PM
    • 2,885 Posts
    • 3,367 Thanks
    Alice Holt
    As he is now in the LCWRA group (post 11), I would have thought the UC award should have been:
    Basic............................................. .......£252 pm (Under 25 rate)
    LCWRA addition....................................£328
    One bed rate housing element ............c£325 (estimated)

    Giving a total of c.£905 pm. So, even after a £7k student loan deduction (and the housing element only applying during term time?) a UC award of £0 looks incorrect to me.
    Unless, quite possibly, I have missed something. What do others think.
    Last edited by Alice Holt; 03-11-2018 at 9:48 PM.
    Alice Holt Forest situated some 4 miles south of Farnham forms the most northerly gateway to the South Downs National Park.
    • calcotti
    • By calcotti 3rd Nov 18, 10:16 PM
    • 1,929 Posts
    • 1,297 Thanks
    calcotti
    If living away from home I think the loan could be £8,400 which over 9 months is about £930/month (higher in London).

    This is not an area I know about the root of the OP’s question seems to be whether student loans are treated differently under UC than under Housing Benefit.
    • huckster
    • By huckster 3rd Nov 18, 10:43 PM
    • 3,505 Posts
    • 1,551 Thanks
    huckster
    Why would ESA(IR) have paid £5500 to a student also receiving student finance to cover their living costs ?

    Under UC as far as I know, they just look at student maintenance finance which must be the max the student can apply for. They disallow the first £110 per monthly assessment period and then apply the relevant student income amount against the assessment period months for the student year.

    Did ESA rules exempt a disabled persons student maintence finance being considered and this is not the case under UC ?

    If this is the case, this is not the first example i have seen where UC legislation has not included previous exemptions that applied to legacy benefits. Because the managed migration transition protection has not yet come into force, DWP can only go by current UC legislation.

    Suggest you ask your MP to raise this with DWP ministers and also minister responsible for Universities.
    The comments I post are personal opinion. Always refer to official information sources before relying on internet forums. If you have a problem with any organisation, enter into their official complaints process at the earliest opportunity, as sometimes complaints have to be started within a certain time frame.
    • Ineededaname
    • By Ineededaname 3rd Nov 18, 10:46 PM
    • 122 Posts
    • 57 Thanks
    Ineededaname
    OP stated the loan is £6994. This is deducted in term time only (usually over nine months) and I believe there is a disregard of £110 each month. So £6994 / 9 = £777.11 - £110 is £667.11.

    https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2013/376/regulation/71/made

    So the base award would need to be higher than that for anything to be payable. I don't believe OP meant the son was found LCWRA. I think they were just mentioning the change in LCW made from April 2017. As I stated this shouldn't apply if the original ESA was made before then. I'd also assume the son is below 25?

    So standard rate £251.77
    LCW £126.11
    1 bed housing at LHA rate.. ? Completley depends on the post code. Using Alice's rate of £325...

    = £702.88

    Doesn't look good.

    I'm at a loss of how there is a £5534 annual loss from ESA/HB. Student income is taken into account for both of these as well?
    • calcotti
    • By calcotti 3rd Nov 18, 11:03 PM
    • 1,929 Posts
    • 1,297 Thanks
    calcotti
    Sorry - missed the OP statement on the loan amount (can be difficult keeping track as the thread progresses)!

    I think student income is ignored for HB if getting Income based ESA,see last paragraph here https://www.turn2us.org.uk/Benefit-guides/Full-time-students-and-benefits/Can-full-time-students-get-help-with-housing-costs - but OP said ESA only applied in vacation.
    • Ineededaname
    • By Ineededaname 3rd Nov 18, 11:06 PM
    • 122 Posts
    • 57 Thanks
    Ineededaname
    Ahh I guess that is the discrepancy then, that's quite massive...
    • calcotti
    • By calcotti 3rd Nov 18, 11:09 PM
    • 1,929 Posts
    • 1,297 Thanks
    calcotti
    Ahh I guess that is the discrepancy then, that's quite massive...
    Originally posted by Ineededaname
    It would be but I wasnít clear that it applied if was only getting ESA in vacation. If it doesnít apply I donít know if there are any other differences. Benefits and students not my area.
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