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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 2
    • bigbill
    • By bigbill 3rd Nov 18, 11:51 PM
    • 797 Posts
    • 468 Thanks
    bigbill
    Without reading all this post I would guess that the new UC claim does not include any extras such as LCW / LCWRA / SDP so would be a lot less than his previous HB calculation which would have had the disability premium and possible SDP included in their calculations.

    Time will tell once more info is given.
    • poppy12345
    • By poppy12345 4th Nov 18, 6:53 AM
    • 4,153 Posts
    • 3,992 Thanks
    poppy12345
    Without reading all this post I would guess that the new UC claim does not include any extras such as LCW / LCWRA / SDP so would be a lot less than his previous HB calculation which would have had the disability premium and possible SDP included in their calculations.

    Time will tell once more info is given.
    Originally posted by bigbill
    Had you read the thread you would have seen that the OP's son has LCW under ESA as an active claim when he's home from Uni during summer holiday. This is paid at the rate before that changes took place in April 2017.


    As they live at home when not in Uni, it's highly unlikely that the SDP would have been paid.
    • huckster
    • By huckster 4th Nov 18, 8:28 AM
    • 3,427 Posts
    • 1,507 Thanks
    huckster
    It might help if we had a full breakdown of the £5534 that was paid previously.

    With a full breakdown, we might understand the previous award and that would inform us what elements should still be payable.
    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.
    • pmlindyloo
    • By pmlindyloo 4th Nov 18, 9:34 AM
    • 12,117 Posts
    • 13,973 Thanks
    pmlindyloo
    Rules for students under Universal Credit

    http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2018-0759/Students_Eligibility_conditionality_and_student_in come_v8.pdf
    • calcotti
    • By calcotti 4th Nov 18, 1:00 PM
    • 1,208 Posts
    • 828 Thanks
    calcotti
    That pasted link has got one of those gremlins that has inserted a gap into the middle of the word income. I am unable to post a corrected link, looks ok when typed out but displays wrongly when saved. Anybody wanting to follow the link needs to edit out the gap in the word income.

    As previously posted there is a £110 disregard/month. The maximum grant available to a student is taken into account regardless of whether or not the student has taken it up.
    Last edited by calcotti; 04-11-2018 at 1:26 PM.
    • benstuart
    • By benstuart 4th Nov 18, 1:26 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    benstuart
    My apologies,
    I have just spent over an hour responding to everyone , but the post has not appeared, it would appear it does not like cut and paste , as well as posted links for new members,
    I will try again,
    Regards,
    Stuart.
    • benstuart
    • By benstuart 4th Nov 18, 2:51 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    benstuart
    Hello,
    May I start by thanking all those that have taken the time and trouble to respond.
    I will respond in post order(My apologies if I miss anything or that this is not the most effecient way to respond.
    Post 13
    You are quite correct, the LCW should be included as Ben's claim predates April 2017, I will query this with the DWP.
    Ben did get the one bedroom rate.
    Post 14.
    Your calculations are correct, apart from the fact thathe is not in the LCWRA group, I was merely pointing out that the regulations changed in April 2017.
    Post 15
    His maintenance loan is £6236, he started in 2015, but missed a year through illness.
    Post 16
    The £5534 was apportioned , ESA £2252 and HB £2982.
    I have written to my MP,Ben's MP,The chairman of the APPG on Disability and Damian Hinds(DWP Minister)
    Post 17.
    Your figures would appear to be correct under the current regulations, giving an award of £120 per month(A reduction of only £4000 per year)
    Post 18
    You are correct, ESA entitlement still applies all year,the student loan is apportioned over the academic year, therefore earning threshold is breached and no payment made.
    Post 21
    Current "award" does not includeLCW etc.
    Weekly eligible rent £110.45 to quote Durham CC
    "As you are receiving ESA, I can pay your maximum HB of £110"
    Post 23
    ESA £2552, HB £2982.
    Post 24
    Sorry the link does not work for me.

    I have tried unsuccessfully to post links and cut and paste from the Disability Rights UK website, but as a new member, I am precluded from doing so.
    I have found the Disability Rights UK website most informative.(search disabled students universal credit on the site).
    Their CEO wrote to Damian Hinds in July, highlighting the plight of disabled students.
    In his reply, and I quote
    "UC is designed to encourage disabled people to undertake education", but without explaining why.
    Quite how this would be achieved by reducing a disabled students award by £5534, is not clear..
    I have written to him for clarification.
    Once again thank you for your time and patience,
    Regards,
    Stuart.
    • calcotti
    • By calcotti 4th Nov 18, 3:16 PM
    • 1,208 Posts
    • 828 Thanks
    calcotti
    To use the link in post 24 you need to edit out the gap in the word income. It’s a glitch that appears sometimes when pasting links that this site inserts gaps which shouldn’t be there. I tried to explain this in post 25.

    Very glad you have raised this with MP.
    • calcotti
    • By calcotti 4th Nov 18, 3:33 PM
    • 1,208 Posts
    • 828 Thanks
    calcotti
    If we use grant of £6,236 and rent of £110/week (£476.67/month)

    Standard allowance £251.77
    LCW £126.11
    Housing £476.67
    Maximum UC payable = £854.55

    loan £692 less £110 disregard = £582

    UC payable is £272.55/month for 9 months and £377.88 for 3 months (when there are no housing costs and no loan) which I make £3,586.61 for the year.

    Compared to the £5,534 previously this is a loss of £1,958 for the year. Admit I don’t understand the breakdown of the previous award if ESA was only paid for 3 months in summer and HB was paid for 9 months at £110/week.

    If the DWP use the maximum grant available of £8,700 this would obviously reduce the UC (is the available grant reduced due to household income?).

    I think the difference is because for HB purposes the student loan was ignored as income but is not for a UC.

    Damian Hinds response is typical of all official statements which ignore the points put to them but simply make an opposite statement. Recent report by Public Accounts Committee of MPs stated that a significant risk to the successful rollout of UC is the DWP's 'systemic culture of denial and defensiveness - it starts at the top.
    Last edited by calcotti; 04-11-2018 at 3:42 PM.
    • benstuart
    • By benstuart 4th Nov 18, 3:56 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    benstuart
    Thanks for that, although so far the DWP .have not included the LCW and the maximum rent the DWP have used is £75(which is the Local housing Alowance rate), but Durham CC, have used a figure set by "The Rent Service" and is set at £137 less charge for services giving £110 per week
    I will query with DWP
    • calcotti
    • By calcotti 4th Nov 18, 4:08 PM
    • 1,208 Posts
    • 828 Thanks
    calcotti
    Thanks for that, although so far the DWP .have not included the LCW and the maximum rent the DWP have used is £75(which is the Local housing Alowance rate), but Durham CC, have used a figure set by "The Rent Service" and is set at £137 less charge for services giving £110 per week
    I will query with DWP
    Originally posted by benstuart
    The DWP are right to use the LHA rate but I think it should be the one bedroom rate not the shared room rate (if getting Daily living PIP) and the DWP may have got this wrong.
    • benstuart
    • By benstuart 4th Nov 18, 4:14 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    benstuart
    Thanks for that, your confusion with regard to esa and hb apportionment may well be down to my misunderstanding , but the overall figure is correct
    • Alice Holt
    • By Alice Holt 4th Nov 18, 4:16 PM
    • 2,702 Posts
    • 3,161 Thanks
    Alice Holt
    The DWP are right to use the LHA rate but I think it should be the one bedroom rate not the shared room rate (if getting Daily living PIP) and the DWP may have got this wrong.
    Originally posted by calcotti
    That is indeed the LHA one bedroom rate:
    "Durham
    Shared Accommodation Rate:£65.00 per week
    One Bedroom Rate:£74.79 per week"

    The Rent Service closed in 2009, their role taken over by the Valuation Office. Puzzled by why Durham CC would use a figure set by them, rather than the LHA.
    Last edited by Alice Holt; 04-11-2018 at 4:20 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 4th Nov 18, 4:21 PM
    • 1,208 Posts
    • 828 Thanks
    calcotti
    Thanks Alice, I hadn’t picked up on the location.the rates are much lower than where I live.

    Revising my calculation, grant of £6,236 and rent allowance of £74.79/week (£324.09month)

    Standard allowance £251.77
    LCW £126.11
    Housing £324.09
    Maximum UC payable = £701.97

    loan £692 less £110 disregard = £582

    UC payable is £119.97month for 9 months and £377.88 for 3 months (when there are no housing costs and no loan) which I make £2,213.37 for the year.

    Compared to the £5,534 previously this is a loss of £3,321 for the year.
    Last edited by calcotti; 04-11-2018 at 4:30 PM.
    • benstuart
    • By benstuart 4th Nov 18, 5:09 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    benstuart
    Many thanks for that,
    Under the current regulations I think you calculations are correct.
    It will be interesting to see what the mandatory reconsideration brings.
    (Is that the way they would apportion the student loan*over nine months)
    I will still let the MP's do their job, it still seems grossly unfair that being forced to apply for UC there is no transitional relief, regulations can and do change , if it is manifestly unfair(or am I being naive!).
    Regards,
    Stuart.
    • calcotti
    • By calcotti 4th Nov 18, 5:17 PM
    • 1,208 Posts
    • 828 Thanks
    calcotti
    Many thanks for that,
    Under the current regulations I think you calculations are correct.
    It will be interesting to see what the mandatory reconsideration brings.
    (Is that the way they would apportion the student loan*over nine months)
    I will still let the MP's do their job, it still seems grossly unfair that being forced to apply for UC there is no transitional relief, regulations can and do change , if it is manifestly unfair(or am I being naive!).
    Regards,
    Stuart.
    Originally posted by benstuart
    This is what the link says about student income:

    “Student income
    Students in advanced education can normally receive financial support through various educational loans, grants and bursaries, which provide for their basic maintenance and living expenses. These include:
     loans
     loans and a combination of grants or bursaries
     grants and/or bursaries
    The maximum amount of loan or grant available to the claimant is the amount taken into account when calculating a universal credit award whether or not they take up this maximum amount:
     starting in the assessment period in which they start the course or where the course is for two years or more an assessment period in which the second or subsequent academic year; and
     stopping with the assessment period in which the course ends or the long vacation starts
    The long vacation is the longest vacation during a course that is intended to last for two or more years and is for a period of one month or more. There is no student income taken into account for assessment periods that fall wholly within the long vacation.”

    I have taken this as 9 months.

    Don’t think you’re being naive at all. There are lots of little details in UC which impact the amount of benefit payable and particular groups seem to be affected most - it appears that disabled students are one of them. Drawing this to the attention of your MP is important.
    • Alice Holt
    • By Alice Holt 4th Nov 18, 5:24 PM
    • 2,702 Posts
    • 3,161 Thanks
    Alice Holt
    , it still seems grossly unfair that being forced to apply for UC there is no transitional relief, regulations can and do change , if it is manifestly unfair(or am I being naive!).
    Originally posted by benstuart
    Particularly when the government's oft repeated response has been - 'No one will experience a reduction in the benefit they are receiving at the point of migration to universal credit where circumstances remain the same".

    CPAG successfully took the government to court over the issue of loss of disability premiums when forced to claim UC:
    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/universal-credit-disabled-people-high-court-government-disabled-dwp-a8398241.html

    Totally agree with calotti on this "Don’t think you’re being naive at all. There are lots of little details in UC which impact the amount of benefit payable and particular groups seem to be affected most - it appears that disabled students are one of them. Drawing this to the attention of your MP is important."
    It's a shame the government will spend taxpayers money defending the indefensible (IMO) through the court system.
    Last edited by Alice Holt; 04-11-2018 at 5:29 PM.
    Alice Holt Forest situated some 4 miles south of Farnham forms the most northerly gateway to the South Downs National Park.
    • benstuart
    • By benstuart 4th Nov 18, 5:29 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    benstuart
    Thanks for the thorough explanation, I will update on what the politicians and Disability Rights have to say,
    Regards,
    Stuart
    • usernameisalreadyinuse
    • By usernameisalreadyinuse 4th Nov 18, 9:20 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    usernameisalreadyinuse
    Am I right in thinking that this penalises Disabled Students from poorer homes as they will be entitled to a larger loan (not grant!)?
    • huckster
    • By huckster 5th Nov 18, 7:49 AM
    • 3,427 Posts
    • 1,507 Thanks
    huckster
    Seems to me after reading the thread again.

    Make sure UC applies the LCW back to the correct date. Ask for details of the student finance calculation made by UC, when they applied it against the claim for the relevant period. Has it been applied correctly ?

    Speak to the University department that assists disabled students about these issues. Perhaps they can help by making enquiries on your Sons behalf.
    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.
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