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DSA general allowance, what does it include?

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    Hi all,

    So far I've had a letter from SFE stating that for this course I don't need a Needs Assessment (because the course is nearly at an end) and that funding has been approved for non medical helpers and the general allowance.

    I know that I can claim back the cost of printing costs, paper etc, but wondered if I will be able to claim back the cost of some books I have bought. I find it difficult to work with a book for an essay without having access to it the whole time I am writing the essay (eg only having access to a book in the library or having to return a recalled book doesn't work for me). Because of this I have bought quite a few books, especially for my dissertation as I've now been working on it for over a year. Most of the books were pretty cheap (only a few pounds each).

    What other things can i claim through the general allowance? I don't want to be seen as taking advantage but at the same time I don't want to miss out on claiming back for something I am entitled to. I buy a lot of folders, subject dividers, plastic wallets etc to help me keep organised, it's one of the ways I manage my learning difficulties, but I don't want it to look like I'm just claiming for a load of stationary I don't need. It's not as if I buy expensive stuff either, usually just the sort of things you can find in supermarkets. The only 'expensive' things I buy are the ink cartridges for my printer but I obviously can only buy the ones for my specific model so they are a fairly fixed price.
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    There should be information on that letter. Because what I need, for example, (I only claim for coloured paper, extra travel costs and ink) isn't going to be what you need.
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    (Original post by pipsi)
    Hi all,

    So far I've had a letter from SFE stating that for this course I don't need a Needs Assessment (because the course is nearly at an end) and that funding has been approved for non medical helpers and the general allowance.

    I know that I can claim back the cost of printing costs, paper etc, but wondered if I will be able to claim back the cost of some books I have bought. I find it difficult to work with a book for an essay without having access to it the whole time I am writing the essay (eg only having access to a book in the library or having to return a recalled book doesn't work for me). Because of this I have bought quite a few books, especially for my dissertation as I've now been working on it for over a year. Most of the books were pretty cheap (only a few pounds each).

    What other things can i claim through the general allowance? I don't want to be seen as taking advantage but at the same time I don't want to miss out on claiming back for something I am entitled to. I buy a lot of folders, subject dividers, plastic wallets etc to help me keep organised, it's one of the ways I manage my learning difficulties, but I don't want it to look like I'm just claiming for a load of stationary I don't need. It's not as if I buy expensive stuff either, usually just the sort of things you can find in supermarkets. The only 'expensive' things I buy are the ink cartridges for my printer but I obviously can only buy the ones for my specific model so they are a fairly fixed price.
    Books should be OK, though they will need to be books other students aren't expected to buy (e.g. core textbooks) but, as many of them seem to be for your dissertation, then it's likely that they aren't core books so, yes, they should be OK.

    It can be used to help top up the specialist equipment or non-medical helper allowance. But as you aren't entitled to specialist equipment at this stage, and it's unlikely you'll use all the non-medical helper allowance at this late stage, then this is likely to be irrelevant.

    I'm not sure if you'll be able to claim back for stationary. I've never known any student with dyspraxia or dyslexia claim for file dividers and plastic wallets as these are seen as "normal" study costs for any student (even if many students do not buy them and, by having organisation difficulties, you are more likely to use them). In this way it's quite similar to core textbooks. If you feel that you can justify it, and seeing as you have not had an assessment, I'd contact the funding body as the worst that can happen is they say no but don't expect to be re-imbursed. I know people with dyslexia are able to claim coloured paper through the GA though.

    The cost of Internet can be claimed back, if not provided in accomodation costs/rent, but I don't know if this is dependent on having a computer supplied through the specialist equipment allowance.

    Other than that I can't think of anything that will be relevant to you. Tapes for recording lectures, but you haven't had a dictaphone provided through DSA and most are digital anyway.

    Might also be worth speaking to someone at DUSSD if you haven't already as well as confirming what you're eligible to claim for with the funding body.
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    I was going to post another thread, but it goes along to same lines as this one!

    I have been given a study needs assesment and I have £500 general allowance. I know I can claim non core text books (a few on my list to claim back), but as I will be issued a dictaphone I am just worried about the file sizes and the need to back them up. Do you think I have a good reason to claim for an external hard drive out of this allowance? I dont want to take the piss, but I also want to take advantage of what I am entitled to.

    Also regarding internet costs; what if you live in a houseshare and your name isnt on the internet bill? This is the problem I face at the moment. Also can you apply the internet costs back via the same claim reimbursement form?


    Thank you!

    Epica
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    I doubt you'd be able to claim on an external drive. Most students need that too.
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    (Original post by OU Student)
    There should be information on that letter. Because what I need, for example, (I only claim for coloured paper, extra travel costs and ink) isn't going to be what you need.
    Nope, the letter doesn't say anything other than that my application has been approved.
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    (Original post by River85)
    Books should be OK, though they will need to be books other students aren't expected to buy (e.g. core textbooks) but, as many of them seem to be for your dissertation, then it's likely that they aren't core books so, yes, they should be OK.

    It can be used to help top up the specialist equipment or non-medical helper allowance. But as you aren't entitled to specialist equipment at this stage, and it's unlikely you'll use all the non-medical helper allowance at this late stage, then this is likely to be irrelevant.

    The cost of Internet can be claimed back, if not provided in accomodation costs/rent, but I don't know if this is dependent on having a computer supplied through the specialist equipment allowance.

    Other than that I can't think of anything that will be relevant to you. Tapes for recording lectures, but you haven't had a dictaphone provided through DSA and most are digital anyway.

    Might also be worth speaking to someone at DUSSD if you haven't already as well as confirming what you're eligible to claim for with the funding body.
    That's good to know that i can claim back some of my books, I won't claim back for all that I've bought because I have bought lots, but some of the more useful ones for my dissertation would be worth claiming for.

    I do get non medical helper allowance for study skills sessions and also for proof reading.

    No one at DUSSD has mentioned internet but at the moment it is included in my rent package and i share with five others so the cost to me if we did have to pay it would be pretty small so not worth worrying about.

    My study skills tutor has suggested a dictaphone would be invaluable for lectures but unfortunately I can't afford one so will have to wait until I've had my needs assessment for my course that starts in October.

    I'll ask for more clarification when I next go to DUSSD, I find the receptionists, Laura in particular, are very helpful.
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    For general allowance you need to refer to your assessment of need report to see what limits the assessor put on. £500 may be broken down into £200 per academic year for books, £100 for printing etc and these are normally the limits you need to claim to. However some funding bodies will allow you to go over one limit at the cost of reducing another.
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    The report I received only said I was entitled to general allowance, it didn't break down what it could be used for. I didn't have a needs assessment for my current course because it is quite close to the end so my advisor at uni was able to make recommendations to DSA.

    I had a needs assessment for my new course on Monday and when the report comes through for that i expect it to have the amounts broken down into what i can spend it on.

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