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DSA and Travel Costs

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    Hi guys, I'm new to the forum, but have read posts on here for a while and it seems you guys are all very knowledgeable and friendly so I have decided to post my question. I have seen posts with simular relevance, but nothing that really completely covers my situation/answers my questions.

    Basically, I am going to be starting my fine art degree at UCA Farnham this september. I have sorted out my student finance ages ago, and sorted out my DSA as well, I have my needs assessment this coming monday. I have a variety of both pyhsical and mental conditions including: Behcet's syndrome (a rare chronic immune disorder which causes me to have joint aches and be quite ill sometimes), Spina bithida and scoliosis (which can make it hard for me to walk distances over 200 metres or so), M.E (chronic fatigue, which leaves me very exhausted and sometimes unable to walk far due to fatigue as well as my back problems). I also have severe OCD and depression leaving me having panic attacks quite often and needing constant reassurance.

    Ugh, when I type it all out it's rather depressing to see down on paper..

    Well, I have been accepted for DSA, and am just awaiting my needs assement, which as I said is on the following monday. I was told there would be a few things that I would be entitled to, a lady at my college said travel might be one of them, and i'm really counting on this. I never even questioned it to be fair, I just assumed that I would get support for this, and now I've looked into it more I am not sure if this is true.

    Having ocd, this has really stressed out and I keep having panic attacks and am getting really quite down over it all.

    I am going to be living at home (I live on my own due to estragment from my mum) and will of course need to pay my rent and food costs, as well as bills. But the problem is, I need to stay at home and commute to uni because of my disabilities. Although I don't live with him, I rely on my boyfriend and his family to take care of me almost on a daily basis, and would not be able to move because I need a familular support network around me. As well as this, having server ocd, I need to be in a familuar place to live and feel safe, so I am not moving due to these reasons.

    This means that I will need to commute. The train is 40 minutes journey, but it's only 20 minutes to uni by car. Due to my disabilities however, I can not drive. Problem is, commuting by train is rediculously expensive. We're looking at close to £200 a month, and although I will get the maximum student mantinence grant/loan etc, I do not haver the money to cover my rent, bills and travel.

    Sorry to go on and on, but my question is: Can DSA help with my travel as the reason I need to commute is due to my diasabilities. I've heard they can't help with public transport but I don't know if this is true. I've also heard they can pay for a taxi but again, I don't know if this is true or if I'd even qualify.

    The problem is, I'm not going to be able to afford to get to uni if I can't get any additional help, and I'm really pannicing, and not sure how to tell them this at my needs assement monday.

    Sorry for my first post being a long and rather depressing one! But I hope someone can help! xxx
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    You can ask them. They can sometimes give you money towards your rent if the place you are living in is required because of your disability. That might free up a bit of cash for you? They'll pay for taxi journeys - 20 minutes doesn't seem too long and they have it done by contract so it wouldn't be too expensive for them. You seem to have a good case for using taxis instead of public transport so just ask. You need a door to door service because of your inability to walk too far and most people with anxiety find packed trains distressing so that might also tip it in your favour.

    Just ask. If they understand your needs and requirements then they're much more likely to give you what you need to succeed.
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    I had my needs assessment two weeks ago and i have been granted taxi allowance due to me having Epilepsy, they will pay towards your travelling and all you can do is ask, they will want to help you as much as they can..!! xx
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    Thanks to both of you, that's very helpful to know!

    (Original post by sophie1405)
    I had my needs assessment two weeks ago and i have been granted taxi allowance due to me having Epilepsy, they will pay towards your travelling and all you can do is ask, they will want to help you as much as they can..!! xx
    Sophie, do you mind me asking how much they put towards your taxi allowence? For example, are they going to pay it all, or half, or just a bit of it? Thanks for helping xx
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    (Original post by little_laura)
    Thanks to both of you, that's very helpful to know!



    Sophie, do you mind me asking how much they put towards your taxi allowence? For example, are they going to pay it all, or half, or just a bit of it? Thanks for helping xx
    Sorry to butt in I just wanted to give my answer.

    I'm getting a taxi allowance for my social anxiety and panic attacks. What happens is they give you an allowance of a certain amount (I think its normally £2000 ) but you dont get given that money, you pay for it upfront yourself, and then send the receipts to student finance who reimburse you the money.
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    (Original post by insignificant)
    Sorry to butt in I just wanted to give my answer.

    I'm getting a taxi allowance for my social anxiety and panic attacks. What happens is they give you an allowance of a certain amount (I think its normally £2000 ) but you dont get given that money, you pay for it upfront yourself, and then send the receipts to student finance who reimburse you the money.
    That's okay, I need as much info and help as I can get! Thanks for your answer, I think aqfter everything everyone's said I will hopefully (fingers crossed) be eligible for a taxi allowence, however, how much does the actual taxi cost a day? I can imagen a 20 minute drive costing a lot as a 5 minute drive by taxi can cost almost £4! And in that case, although £2000 would be a great help, i'd still need to pay a lot...

    Do you happen to know how much the taxi would be? I assume it's a contracted/specialist taxi and not just a random public taxi? Thanks for all your help! xx
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    (Original post by little_laura)
    That's okay, I need as much info and help as I can get! Thanks for your answer, I think aqfter everything everyone's said I will hopefully (fingers crossed) be eligible for a taxi allowence, however, how much does the actual taxi cost a day? I can imagen a 20 minute drive costing a lot as a 5 minute drive by taxi can cost almost £4! And in that case, although £2000 would be a great help, i'd still need to pay a lot...

    Do you happen to know how much the taxi would be? I assume it's a contracted/specialist taxi and not just a random public taxi? Thanks for all your help! xx
    Yep its a taxi of your choice, aslong as get a tab with the company or if they do receipts, basically proof of purchase then you send that to student finance. I thought it wouldnt cover much, and my taxis will be about 10£ each way, but I will be in uni about 3/4 days a week and theres tons of holidays so won't actually be in all that much so it does work out alright having £2000.
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    It's worth noting with the taxi allowance that it's taxi fare - public transport cost.

    So if a bus from accommodation to University would have cost you £3 and taxi fair costs you £10 the DSA will pay you £7.
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    (Original post by Acei)
    It's worth noting with the taxi allowance that it's taxi fare - public transport cost.

    So if a bus from accommodation to University would have cost you £3 and taxi fair costs you £10 the DSA will pay you £7.
    But what if (say in my situation) you can get a bus into town but there is no bus that takes you to my uni building the only option is a 20min walk, or get a taxi , what about that portion of the journey?
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    (Original post by insignificant)
    But what if (say in my situation) you can get a bus into town but there is no bus that takes you to my uni building the only option is a 20min walk, or get a taxi , what about that portion of the journey?
    I'm afraid I don't know such a specific question, you would have to discuss that with the assessment advisor.

    However it's generally based on a daysaver cost for a bus so £3.70 in Manchester (where I'm going to), even if the trip were to be multiple buses etc then the DSA would still only remove the £3.70 cost e.g. if I needed a trip to and from the University twice in a single day it would cost me £20, and the DSA would remove £3.70 total for that day due to that being the cost of a bus therefore they'd refund me £16.30,

    If you were to buy a weekly ticket which is £11 then they'd still expect you to pay £3.70 of the ticket price even though technically the £11 should have been divided by 7. This is a very weird policy by the government whereby they won't divide a ticket they'll only pay on a 'per day' basis.

    This is very annoying particularly since the area I will live in offers a term-based ticket, if I were to get this and use my taxi allowance (2days/week) then I'd likely end up paying significantly more than the average student. Due to being able to use public transport sometimes and other days my anxiety being worse; this situation with the enhanced price is forcing me to heavily consider abandoning my taxi allowance and hoping that my anxiety is OK on most days to use the bus routes.
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    (Original post by insignificant)
    But what if (say in my situation) you can get a bus into town but there is no bus that takes you to my uni building the only option is a 20min walk, or get a taxi , what about that portion of the journey?

    Hmm.. there are two forms of travel to uni though, the bus which is very cheap £10 a week, or the train which is rediculously expensive (over £50 a week)... any idea which one they'd pay the difference from?

    Also, would there be any way I could get any more funding towards towards travel due to my disabilities?
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    (Original post by little_laura)
    Hmm.. there are two forms of travel to uni though, the bus which is very cheap £10 a week, or the train which is rediculously expensive (over £50 a week)... any idea which one they'd pay the difference from?

    Also, would there be any way I could get any more funding towards towards travel due to my disabilities?
    I don't know 100%, but I honestly can't see them paying from the higher amount, they'd hopefully go from the cost of the bus.

    I think the Disability Living Allowance can still be claimed while at University and it has a travel component attached to it. From what I've heard it is significantly more difficult to claim DLA than it is to claim DSA and with the recent crackdown from the government on all benefits it's made it even more difficult. It's well worth trying though. Since my condition is mental health and not to the point where I'd require DLA I've not had a need to apply for it so don't know the in's and out's fully.

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