mark_18
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Hello

So I applied for DSA, got a letter from my GP which states my problems etc, as I was advised to do... sent off my application but was declined because apparently they do not consider my illness to be a disability under the Equality Act 2000.

I would love for the person who made that decision to spend a day in my shoes!!

So I suffer with a condition called cluster headaches, it is a neurological condition which causes acute pain due to a problem with a nerve in my head. Anyone who has ever suffered with it or knows anything about the condition will understand that it is a lot more than just a headache, it is not something that you can take a couple of paracetamol for.

I have suffered for about 5 years and it affects the way that I live my life on a day to day basis... I have to plan everything around this condition.

I have to carry auto-injectors everywhere I go and I also carry oxygen in the car which I need access to when I have an attack.

I take preventative medication everyday.

They come with little warning and strike at any time.

Not only is this condition hard enough, but I also have to balance the effects of the medication that I take.

Under the Equality Act 2000, a problem is considered a disability if it is substantial and long term.... errmm well I don't see what the issue is here?!

Their declining letter stated that they do not consider headaches as a disability...

If it was just a headaches that I had then I wouldn't be applying!!!

So frustrating, can anyone help?
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Tiger Rag
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Are you under any consultants? If you can, appeal.
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Sparkyj2202
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Please, please go back to them and challenge it. I have Trigeminal Neuraligia (diagnosed by neuro surgeon) and have been accepted for DSA. I do have other conditions but they have agreed to accept TN as a condition (although they have declined another of my conditions but that's another story). I have had lots of hassle with Student Finance regarding my DSA application but I've just kept at them, asking exactly what they need for evidence and taking the names of the advisors for reference. You can ask to speak to an assessor as well to get a full breakdown of their decision. They are very particular re the wording of your evidence, my doctor had to add a couple of words to mine for them to accept it.
Do you have a consultant, can you send them copies of your prescriptions?
Not sure if you know but they will accept emailed evidence to speed things up.
Good luck, don't give up!
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mark_18
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Thanks for the quick replies guys

Yes I have a consultant at the Walton Centre in Liverpool - which is where I was diagnosed years ago.

I have an appointment there this Friday.

They have had details of my prescription meds and a copy of my oxygen prescription.

I will ask my GP to maybe elaborate more about the condition, but I don't see what else he could really add, I would say that they pretty much have all the information they need?!

I have asked them to clarify regarding their assertion that I was applying because I suffer with headaches, to see whether they understood that it's not just a headache, but rather cluster headaches - I will see what they say.

I will also ask the consultant on Friday and see whether they can help.

Thanks for the advice!
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Sparkyj2202
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Getting them to spell out what exactly they need was the way I got mine sorted. If you could get your consultant to write a letter stating your full medical condition as well and how it effects you that could help too.
They wanted my doc to specifically state that my conditions were long term ongoing conditions.

Good luck, hope you get it sorted.
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xMissDebby
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What are you hoping to get out of DSA for having this problem? I'm only asking because maybe they don't think that they can provide help for it, they seem to provide help for things in relation to learning, such as laptops and equipment for those with dyslexia, autism that struggle with specific learning difficulties and funding for non medical helpers, such as readers and writers.

On the gov website here https://www.gov.uk/disabled-students...what-youll-get
it says
What DSAs can pay for

You can get help with the costs of:

specialist equipment, like computer software
non-medical helpers, like a note-taker or reader
extra travel costs you have to pay because of your disability
other costs, like photocopying

DSAs don’t cover disability-related costs you’d have if you weren’t attending a course, or costs that any student might have.
It doesn't sound like you'd actually get anything from DSA even if they accepted it as a disability, since it says it doesn't cover disability related costs that you'd have even if you weren't attending a course at a university. Your disability would still be in place regardless of attendance to a university or not, so DSA won't cover it I believe.

I think it would be best just to ring them and talk to an advisor directly about it, thats all you can do really.
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samba
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(Original post by xMissDebby)
What are you hoping to get out of DSA for having this problem? I'm only asking because maybe they don't think that they can provide help for it, they seem to provide help for things in relation to learning, such as laptops and equipment for those with dyslexia, autism that struggle with specific learning difficulties and funding for non medical helpers, such as readers and writers.

On the gov website here https://www.gov.uk/disabled-students...what-youll-get
it says


It doesn't sound like you'd actually get anything from DSA even if they accepted it as a disability, since it says it doesn't cover disability related costs that you'd have even if you weren't attending a course at a university. Your disability would still be in place regardless of attendance to a university or not, so DSA won't cover it I believe.

I think it would be best just to ring them and talk to an advisor directly about it, thats all you can do really.
You don't think carrying an oxygen tank around necessitates a car which is extra travel cost?
You don't think it affects concentration in lectures/study requiring a dictaphone/non medical helper?

@ OP - Appeal.
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xMissDebby
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(Original post by samba)
You don't think carrying an oxygen tank around necessitates a car which is extra travel cost?
You don't think it affects concentration in lectures/study requiring a dictaphone/non medical helper?

@ OP - Appeal.
Its not an extra travel cost which changes because he is a student though. Needing a car because you have to carry oxygen around should be covered by disabled living allowance, not students from what I can gather reading all these pages of information.

Maybe so, I'm not saying he doesn't need any help, I'm just saying that he should be clear on what he wants or needs from DSA and how it affects his ability to study, as it isn't clear from his OP at least how it would affect it and he obviously has not made it clear enough to DSA for them to feel it meets their criteria or what they can provide.
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samba
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(Original post by xMissDebby)
Its not an extra travel cost which changes because he is a student though. Needing a car because you have to carry oxygen around should be covered by disabled living allowance, not students from what I can gather reading all these pages of information.

Maybe so, I'm not saying he doesn't need any help, I'm just saying that he should be clear on what he wants or needs from DSA and how it affects his ability to study, as it isn't clear from his OP at least how it would affect it and he obviously has not made it clear enough to DSA for them to feel it meets their criteria or what they can provide.
It's an extra travel cost compared to public transport costs, so he should get a petrol allowance minus £510. You don't make it clear what you need until the needs assessment; if you don't make it to that point you have no real opportunity to do so.

edit: Getting the higher rate of DLA mobility for that would be virtually impossible btw, not that it matters.
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mark_18
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Hey all,

There are some interesting points made here, thanks for the info.

I never originally set out to claim DSA because I didn't think they would be able to help. It was only when I went to see the disability support team at uni that they told me what help was available and said that I should apply.

I will be driving to campus, about a 50 miles round trip - my uni told me that they would pay an allowance and also provide a taxi allowance for days when I might not be able to drive back from campus because I'm not well enough - otherwise I would be stranded.

Software to help me keep track of my progress, assignments and assessments etc. There will be days, a few days per week or more, for up to several weeks where my attendance will be poor.

A dictaphone to record lectures for when I am in but can't concentrate.

Possibly a helper to take notes for the same reason?

I do get DLA, higher care, lower mobility, I was awarded it indefinitely.

I will certainly appeal against it @samba

You're right @revron77, everything seems to be getting harder for disabled people lately - it is like they want you dissected on a table before they will give you anything. I understand that they want to stop people taking advantage, but to what cost to actual disabled people?
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NJones
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As a DSA assessor we are now required to ask about and take into account DLA/ PIP and mobility cars when assessing students for the transport element of DSA. I've said before this area is a very difficult one to get funding agreed for. If a mobility car/ funding has provided for transport then DSA will not fund additional travel costs. If uni have agreed to fund this as stated, then this may also be taken into account. Students are expected to get to their course, even if they have chosen to study 50 miles away.

If the OP feels that his condition is sufficiently debilitating and meet the specifications et out by SFE then as suggested above- get evidence of the condition and how it would affect your academic studies form a consultant/ GP and appeal. Recommendations can be made to ensure s/he is able to continue studies if unable to get to uni, provide reasonable adjustments within uni and provide equipment/ software if necessary.
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balotelli12
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(Original post by revron77)
The DSA are mad about doing anything they can to reduce the amount of payout they provide to the disabled.

For example, they decided that those with dyslexia can be completely dismissed if their assessment was carried out before the age of 16... so that'd mean I'd need another assessment and have to pay a private company to be assessed, which by that time my extra funding from DSA would be unworthwhile.

They care only about finding excuses to reduce the payouts they provide. DSA desk jockeys aren't arrogant about illnesses, they are purposely arrogant because it lets them meet their quota of Less Disabled Students Supported = Larger Pat On The Back!

Never be surprised when the government becomes frugal with its money when the disabled comes knocking, but all arms open when the bankers stop by.


Utter gibberish!

Requiring a post 16 assessment is perfectly reasonable and has always been the case.
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balotelli12
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(Original post by mark_18)
Hey all,

There are some interesting points made here, thanks for the info.

I never originally set out to claim DSA because I didn't think they would be able to help. It was only when I went to see the disability support team at uni that they told me what help was available and said that I should apply.

I will be driving to campus, about a 50 miles round trip - my uni told me that they would pay an allowance and also provide a taxi allowance for days when I might not be able to drive back from campus because I'm not well enough - otherwise I would be stranded.

Software to help me keep track of my progress, assignments and assessments etc. There will be days, a few days per week or more, for up to several weeks where my attendance will be poor.

A dictaphone to record lectures for when I am in but can't concentrate.

Possibly a helper to take notes for the same reason?

I do get DLA, higher care, lower mobility, I was awarded it indefinitely.

I will certainly appeal against it @samba

You're right @revron77, everything seems to be getting harder for disabled people lately - it is like they want you dissected on a table before they will give you anything. I understand that they want to stop people taking advantage, but to what cost to actual disabled people?


There is no longer any such thing as indefinite DLA.

Everyone, including you, will be reassessed for PIP by 2018.

In PIP the lower rates have been abolished.
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KiwiMonkey96
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(Original post by balotelli12)
Utter gibberish!

Requiring a post 16 assessment is perfectly reasonable and has always been the case.
I would have to agree that a post-16 assessment for things such as dyslexia is reasonable, I would like to think that there should maybe be more help in paying for one but that is a seperate issue, it allows the acessor to be able to best identify what problems your dyslexia currently effects you as its effects can change over time as you learn to adapt to certain things ect.
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mark_18
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(Original post by balotelli12)
There is no longer any such thing as indefinite DLA.

Everyone, including you, will be reassessed for PIP by 2018.

In PIP the lower rates have been abolished.
Thanks, yes I am aware of that, I was just stating what my current award is at present

Lower care component has been removed, but mobility still has two components, just as DLA did have - my lower mobility rate equates to the same at the standard mobility rate of PIP
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mark_18
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(Original post by NJones)
As a DSA assessor we are now required to ask about and take into account DLA/ PIP and mobility cars when assessing students for the transport element of DSA. I've said before this area is a very difficult one to get funding agreed for. If a mobility car/ funding has provided for transport then DSA will not fund additional travel costs. If uni have agreed to fund this as stated, then this may also be taken into account. Students are expected to get to their course, even if they have chosen to study 50 miles away.

If the OP feels that his condition is sufficiently debilitating and meet the specifications et out by SFE then as suggested above- get evidence of the condition and how it would affect your academic studies form a consultant/ GP and appeal. Recommendations can be made to ensure s/he is able to continue studies if unable to get to uni, provide reasonable adjustments within uni and provide equipment/ software if necessary.
Thanks for the info!

Yes it was always my intention to commute to uni regardless of my condition so I wouldn't expect to be paid a travel allowance. The uni said it would probably be an amount to use for private taxi's should I not be able to drive home.

I will be getting as much info together as possible to go back to SFE with.
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samba
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(Original post by NJones)
As a DSA assessor we are now required to ask about and take into account DLA/ PIP and mobility cars when assessing students for the transport element of DSA. I've said before this area is a very difficult one to get funding agreed for. If a mobility car/ funding has provided for transport then DSA will not fund additional travel costs. If uni have agreed to fund this as stated, then this may also be taken into account. Students are expected to get to their course, even if they have chosen to study 50 miles away.

If the OP feels that his condition is sufficiently debilitating and meet the specifications et out by SFE then as suggested above- get evidence of the condition and how it would affect your academic studies form a consultant/ GP and appeal. Recommendations can be made to ensure s/he is able to continue studies if unable to get to uni, provide reasonable adjustments within uni and provide equipment/ software if necessary.
You're probably aware, but unfortunately with the lower mobility component of DLA you can't get motability/funding for a car.
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Tiger Rag
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(Original post by revron77)
Dyslexia doesn't disappear within a few years, its a lifetime condition that never fully goes away. It can be improved, but it will always be there.

So if you do believe that re-assessment of long term chronic conditions THAT CAN'T BE CURED is "perfectly reasonable". Do you also believe that those with down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism are also conditions that need to be re-assessed? And if yes, for what benefit? To state the obvious that it still affects the surfer?
Things like Autism and Downs Syndrome can and do change.

Possibly a helper to take notes for the same reason?
I found an note taker was more useful than the dictaphone at times. My note taker also helped me with things like reading if I needed it. (my situation is slightly different)

Regarding DLA / PIP mobility - do SFE take into account that some of us use those benefits to fund other mobility related things? Wouldn't be too happy if they expected me to use my DLA mobility to pay for transport costs when it went on other things. I also have to have someone to come with me too, due to having no sense of direction, not being to follow and understand signs, etc.
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NJones
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(Original post by samba)
You're probably aware, but unfortunately with the lower mobility component of DLA you can't get motability/funding for a car.
I'm no expert in these funding areas (yet) so any info is welcome. As an assessor for DSA we have to been told to ask about these things before considering funding transport. Yet DSA is supposed to be NOT means tested?
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Tiger Rag
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(Original post by NJones)
I'm no expert in these funding areas (yet) so any info is welcome. As an assessor for DSA we have to been told to ask about these things before considering funding transport. Yet DSA is supposed to be NOT means tested?
This is what bothers me. I applied for DSA in 2009/10 and 2011 and it never asked about DLA. I applied (but have have to cancel my application) for this year and it asked about DLA / PIP.

Would they take into consideration that many of us use DLA mobility for other things? The impression I got from the form, was that it didn't. So, even if all my DLA mobility went on other stuff, DSA would still include it.
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