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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 3
    • susieb
    • By susieb 5th Nov 18, 12:34 PM
    • 1,507 Posts
    • 1,073 Thanks
    susieb
    Dont forget that UC will pay in the holidays in the same way the ESA did last year.
    student finance should be the whole maintenance loan, less 110 per assessment period, divided by assessment periods hes at uni , most likely 9.
    Always on the hunt for a bargain
    • benstuart
    • By benstuart 5th Nov 18, 3:00 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    benstuart
    Yes you are correct, and as you quite rightly say it is a loan-not grant(ie income)
    • benstuart
    • By benstuart 5th Nov 18, 3:07 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    benstuart
    I have requested a breakdown of how the student loan has been applied, the DWP have not yet applied LCW.
    I will contact Durham University Disabilities Unit.

    Thanks once again for your time and help.
    PS Can never get hold of DWP, but they had the nerve to send an automated email to check account at 0251am this morning to check the account!
    • benstuart
    • By benstuart 5th Nov 18, 3:42 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    benstuart
    Thanks for that, yes they should pay 120 per month during the academic term(ie 9 months) and 377 per month whilst on home.( once they acknowledge the LCW-Ben's award was pre April 2017- so the LCW award should apply.
    • benstuart
    • By benstuart 6th Nov 18, 2:07 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    benstuart
    Hello ,
    Just an update, I have spoken at length to the Disability Rights UK students helpline(0330 995 0414- open 11am-1pm Tuesday and Thursday.).
    It is apparent that this is not an isolated problem, of all the issues raised 80 per cent of the calls are benefits related and specifically, one issue, when disabled students are forced to migrate from HB and ESA onto UC accounts for 75 per cent of those.
    They have regular meetings with DWP ministers, so please if you do have any issues relating to students with a disability, please contact them, it provides extra strength when meeting with
    the DWP for a more sympathetic hearing.The DWP are so defensive, it really is difficult to deal with them and get definitive answers.
    Regards,
    Stuart
    • benstuart
    • By benstuart 12th Jan 19, 1:28 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    benstuart
    UC , disabled student update
    Hello,
    An update on my son , Ben's situation.
    The DWP, having re-examined his case, have acknowledged that he does have a LCW and are are now paying him 119 per month, meaning he is now a mere 3000 worse off than under the previous system, with no change of circumstances.
    We continue to lobby our MP and the DWP, hopefully we can help instigate a rethink,
    Regards,
    Stuart.
    • susieb
    • By susieb 12th Jan 19, 4:52 PM
    • 1,507 Posts
    • 1,073 Thanks
    susieb
    One thing seems to have been overlooked unless ive missed something. Does your son get the special support element of student loan? He should as he gets pip, this is an extra 1100 a yearm however this makes a massive difference on UC as getting this special support allowance means 3K of the maintence loan is disregarded for benefit purposes.
    I went through all this in detail with my daughter and disability rights were involved, shes in support group so that makes things a little better for her, and she ended up 80 a month better on UC.
    Always on the hunt for a bargain
    • benstuart
    • By benstuart 14th Jan 19, 5:18 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    benstuart
    Hello,
    Thanks for your response, yes Ben does get the special support grant, which is discounted for UC purposes.Unfortunately the student loan itself is regarded as income and reduces UC pound for pound, reducing the award to zero( although the LCW has now been awarded, giving him 119 per month),

    Regards,

    Stuart.
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