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CreamyChocolate
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I applied for ESA and PIP in July 2015 on mental health grounds after leaving University in June 2015. I was placed in the ESA support group, and get PIP standard daily living, and an Oxford council pension (< this is the Pension my dead father nominated me to have).

My ESA is £314 per month.

MY PIP is £230 per month

My Oxford Pension is £201 per month.

In total, I get £745 per month.

I live with my parents (mum and step-dad, so don't claim income support, housing benefit, or universal credit.

My University have agreed for me to return to my course in September 2016 - BUT obviously my circumstances have changed since leaving last year.

I'll have to tell the DWP that I'm returning to study - as I'll then be eligible for the £61 per week severe disability premium as I'll be living alone. (I currently get the enhanced rate due to living with my parents).

On the one hand, this will increase my ESA by £61 per week, BUT on the other hand, it may be affected due to the student loan I will also receive. I won't be getting the maximum loan amount as both of my parents work.

I am wondering if the DWP will reassess my ESA claim when I tell them I'll be living independently as a full time student. Obviously, this goes against their support group criteria.

I am also wondering if this will affect my PIP.

The worst case scenario is that the DWP could think I'm capable for work and suspend my ESA and PIP, leaving me with my Oxford Pension and Student loan to live off.

Slightly better: They allow me to keep my ESA , but put me into the WRAG after they call for a medical assessment after I tell them about returning to full time study.

BEST SCENARIO: My ESA and PIP are not affected, and I can start claiming Income support and housing benefit as well due to being a disabled student.

Am I overthinking this?

I really have no idea how I should approach the DWP on this.
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Tiger Rag
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Just being a student doesn't affect your entitlement to PIP and ESA.

I live alone and receive ESA support group. You have to remember that you receive ESA because you're unable to work and not because of your living arrangements. You receive PIP because you have care and /or mobility needs. Obviously, it looks strange if you say "I can't do xyz" and your course involves you doing what you say you can't do.

Informing DWP that you're a full time student won't trigger a reassessment unless your course means your needs have now changed.

Are DWP aware of the pension? Because if you're on income based ESA, that will affect it.
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CreamyChocolate
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(Original post by Tiger Rag)
Just being a student doesn't affect your entitlement to PIP and ESA.

I live alone and receive ESA support group. You have to remember that you receive ESA because you're unable to work and not because of your living arrangements. You receive PIP because you have care and /or mobility needs. Obviously, it looks strange if you say "I can't do xyz" and your course involves you doing what you say you can't do.

Informing DWP that you're a full time student won't trigger a reassessment unless your course means your needs have now changed.

Are DWP aware of the pension? Because if you're on income based ESA, that will affect it.
My course isn't a practical course involving lots of movement, not that this matters as I'm claiming ESA due to my mental health.

My parents say that the DWP may think I'm capable of limited work because my mental health cannot surely be THAT bad if I'm able to complete academic work and think analytically.

I will be moving out of my parents house in July to a 'Summer Room' in student accommodation - to see if I can manage living by myself before my course starts in September.

If I notify the DWP in July that I am now living independently, BUT NOT a student (don't forget that technically I am NOT yet a full time student until I enrol on my course in September), will I be able to claim the severe disability premium (and maybe income support/housing benefit) until September?

Then, when I enrol on my course in September, I'll tell the DWP that I am now a full time student, which means they may reassess my ESA and PIP.

This should mean I'll be at least £61 a week better off from July to September, right?

The DWP know about the pension. They have been deducting it from my ESA since July 2015. If I wasn't claiming the Pension, my ESA would be £201 more that it is currently.
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Tiger Rag
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(Original post by CreamyChocolate)
My course isn't a practical course involving lots of movement, not that this matters as I'm claiming ESA due to my mental health.

My parents say that the DWP may think I'm capable of limited work because my mental health cannot surely be THAT bad if I'm able to complete academic work and think analytically.

I will be moving out of my parents house in July to a 'Summer Room' in student accommodation - to see if I can manage living by myself before my course starts in September.

If I notify the DWP in July that I am now living independently, BUT NOT a student (don't forget that technically I am NOT yet a full time student until I enrol on my course in September), will I be able to claim the severe disability premium (and maybe income support/housing benefit) until September?

Then, when I enrol on my course in September, I'll tell the DWP that I am now a full time student, which means they may reassess my ESA and PIP.

This should mean I'll be at least £61 a week better off from July to September, right?

The DWP know about the pension. They have been deducting it from my ESA since July 2015. If I wasn't claiming the Pension, my ESA would be £201 more that it is currently.
You can't claim income support. If your ESA is less than what the government says you need to live on, you can claim some income based ESA to top up your income.

You should be able to claim the severe disability premium from July. You need to phone up when you move out, give them your new address and ask for a form for the severe disability premium. You have a few boxes to tick, your personal details to fill in and then send it off.
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CreamyChocolate
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(Original post by Tiger Rag)
You can't claim income support. If your ESA is less than what the government says you need to live on, you can claim some income based ESA to top up your income.

You should be able to claim the severe disability premium from July. You need to phone up when you move out, give them your new address and ask for a form for the severe disability premium. You have a few boxes to tick, your personal details to fill in and then send it off.
Do you know how the DWP calculate how much ESA I'm entitled to when my student loan is taken into account?

I know that I can't have savings over £6,000 on income based ESA, but going by how much student finance I received last year, I'll get around £5800 this year (including loan and grant) over one year of my course.

As this is below £6k, it shouldn't affect my ESA, right?
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Tiger Rag
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(Original post by CreamyChocolate)
Do you know how the DWP calculate how much ESA I'm entitled to when my student loan is taken into account?

I know that I can't have savings over £6,000 on income based ESA, but going by how much student finance I received last year, I'll get around £5800 this year (including loan and grant) over one year of my course.

As this is below £6k, it shouldn't affect my ESA, right?
The rules for savings and income are different.

Some of your student loan is disregarded. (ignored) Your tuition fees are disregarded in full. Your loan is divided into 42 weeks. You then have £303 a year disregarded for travel and a similar amount for books. I think the amount changes each year. But I can't be too sure on that.

Any amount of ESA (even pence) entitles you to full housing benefit, eye tests, prescriptions, etc. You don't pay council tax as a full time student.

Your student loan is counted as income whether you take it or not because it's money that you're entitled to.
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CreamyChocolate
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(Original post by Tiger Rag)
The rules for savings and income are different.

Some of your student loan is disregarded. (ignored) Your tuition fees are disregarded in full. Your loan is divided into 42 weeks. You then have £303 a year disregarded for travel and a similar amount for books. I think the amount changes each year. But I can't be too sure on that.

Any amount of ESA (even pence) entitles you to full housing benefit, eye tests, prescriptions, etc. You don't pay council tax as a full time student.

Your student loan is counted as income whether you take it or not because it's money that you're entitled to.
Do you know how the DWP calculate how much ESA I'm entitled to?

Will I be entitled to housing benefit as a student living in student accommodation - accommodation where I don't have to pay utility bills. What type of accommodation would I have to live in to qualify for housing benefit?

Say if I do qualify for housing benefit, I suppose, like ESA, there is a limit as to how much income I can have. For example, could my ESA be reduced by the total of my housing benefit? So, I'll actually get the same amount of money overall, just from different benefits. (As is the case with my ESA and Council Pension at the moment).

Am I right in thinking that you can only claim housing benefit as a full time student if you claim PIP and ESA, and you can only claim ESA if you claim PIP?

Do you know anything about DSA and how it is awarded? Is it money that is paid into your bank account, or money paid to the University for specialist course equipment like computers etc? Does DSA affect ESA.

Finally, can I apply for a specialist student finance loan? I know it's standard to get the maintenance loan and grant, but is there another type of funding especially for disabled students? I think it's called a support bursary or something like that.

A lot of questions here.
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Tiger Rag
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(Original post by CreamyChocolate)
Do you know how the DWP calculate how much ESA I'm entitled to?

Will I be entitled to housing benefit as a student living in student accommodation - accommodation where I don't have to pay utility bills. What type of accommodation would I have to live in to qualify for housing benefit?

Say if I do qualify for housing benefit, I suppose, like ESA, there is a limit as to how much income I can have. For example, could my ESA be reduced by the total of my housing benefit? So, I'll actually get the same amount of money overall, just from different benefits. (As is the case with my ESA and Council Pension at the moment).

Do you know anything about DSA and how it is awarded? Is it money that is paid into your bank account, or money paid to the University for specialist course equipment like computers etc?
I'm not too sure off the top of my head how they work it out.

To claim housing benefit, you must have a tenancy agreement in place, which you would have. Your ESA won't be reduced by the amount of housing benefit you receive. However, any amount of ESA entitles you to full housing benefit.

DSA isn't money. It's paid in the form of equipment and non-medical helpers, such as a note taker and a study skills mentor.
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CreamyChocolate
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(Original post by Tiger Rag)
I'm not too sure off the top of my head how they work it out.

To claim housing benefit, you must have a tenancy agreement in place, which you would have. Your ESA won't be reduced by the amount of housing benefit you receive. However, any amount of ESA entitles you to full housing benefit.

DSA isn't money. It's paid in the form of equipment and non-medical helpers, such as a note taker and a study skills mentor.
Thank you for replying.

Finally, can I apply for a specialist student finance loan? I know it's standard to get the maintenance loan and grant, but is there another type of funding especially for disabled students? I think it's called a support bursary or something like that. (I don't mean DSA).
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Tiger Rag
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(Original post by CreamyChocolate)
Thank you for replying.

Finally, can I apply for a specialist student finance loan? I know it's standard to get the maintenance loan and grant, but is there another type of funding especially for disabled students? I think it's called a support bursary or something like that. (I don't mean DSA).
The funding has all changed. As far as I'm aware, you're entitled to the same loan as everyone else.
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CreamyChocolate
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(Original post by Tiger Rag)
The funding has all changed. As far as I'm aware, you're entitled to the same loan as everyone else.
I know it's changed for new students applying in 2016 - they'll just get the maintance loan.

I know my University gives funding like bursaries and grants to disabled students, but I'm pretty sure student finance also give disabled students a support bursary too (Not DSA that's different).

This website talks about a special support grant if you claim housing benefit.

http://www.savethestudent.org/studen...s.html#special

I'm not sure if this is still available?

It probably won't apply to me as I'll be living with my parents at the time of applying for finance though.
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Tiger Rag
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(Original post by CreamyChocolate)
I know it's changed for new students applying in 2016 - they'll just get the maintance loan.

I know my University gives funding like bursaries and grants to disabled students, but I'm pretty sure student finance also give disabled students a support bursary too (Not DSA that's different).

This website talks about a special support grant if you claim housing benefit.

http://www.savethestudent.org/studen...s.html#special

I'm not sure if this is still available?

It probably won't apply to me as I'll be living with my parents at the time of applying for finance though.
It doesn't exist for new students.
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CreamyChocolate
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(Original post by Tiger Rag)
It doesn't exist for new students.
OK, thank you for your help.

I now know I can claim housing benefit.

I'm just a bit worried in case the DWP suspend my ESA/PIP when I enrol on my full time course.

What are the chances of them sending me for another ATOS/MAXIMA medical assessment to reassess my claim?

Did this affect you when you were a student claiming ESA?
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Tiger Rag
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(Original post by CreamyChocolate)
OK, thank you for your help.

I now know I can claim housing benefit.

I'm just a bit worried in case the DWP suspend my ESA/PIP when I enrol on my full time course.

What are the chances of them sending me for another ATOS/MAXIMA medical assessment to reassess my claim?

Did this affect you when you were a student claiming ESA?
I didn't claim ESA as a student. I did claim DLA, which PIP replaces. I never had a problem with my claim in that regard.
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CreamyChocolate
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(Original post by Tiger Rag)
I didn't claim ESA as a student. I did claim DLA, which PIP replaces. I never had a problem with my claim in that regard.
As DLA is not means tested like ESA, did you tell them about being a student? What happened when you did?

ESA just seems to have much tougher rules than PIP/DLA.
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Tiger Rag
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(Original post by CreamyChocolate)
As DLA is not means tested like ESA, did you tell them about being a student? What happened when you did?

ESA just seems to have much tougher rules than PIP/DLA.
Nothing happened. I just had to tell them my address changed and that was it. The reason for ESA rules being tougher is because it's a different benefit.
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CreamyChocolate
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(Original post by Tiger Rag)
Nothing happened. I just had to tell them my address changed and that was it. The reason for ESA rules being tougher is because it's a different benefit.
If I was just claiming PIP, I could just tell them I've changed my address.

I'm pretty sure like you said, this wouldn't affect my claim as PIP has no savings/income rules (not means tested). I wouldn't even have to tell them I'm a student.

ESA, however, does take into account income like you said.

And the DWP will know I'm a student because I'll have to tell them about my student loan as income.

I'm worrying in case they decide to reassess my claim based on this fact.

I don't want one phone call saying that I've received a student loan to start a massive chain of events that will end with them suspending my benefits because they'll think I'm capable of work by being a student.
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bethy2601
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Hi,
I was just wondering what the outcome of your situation was? How did it all pan out? Just wondering as I'm in a similar predicament.
Going to be studying social work in September - currently on ESA support group income related and also PIP. I know I have to let ESA know and they work out how much they can pay me when I have my loan details. Was just wondering did going to university affect your PIP and did you need to let them know? As of at the moment I have no plans to leave my family home in the first year.
Thank you and hope you're doing well!
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Susie19
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Can i just say the special support component of student loan still exists. It's about an extra £1100 on top of the maintenance loan and has to be paid back but crucially it then reduces the amount the DWP access your loan on to £5000 ish. Which makes a big difference to the amount of esa and hb you get.
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Sammylou40
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(Original post by bethy2601)
Hi,
I was just wondering what the outcome of your situation was? How did it all pan out? Just wondering as I'm in a similar predicament.
Going to be studying social work in September - currently on ESA support group income related and also PIP. I know I have to let ESA know and they work out how much they can pay me when I have my loan details. Was just wondering did going to university affect your PIP and did you need to let them know? As of at the moment I have no plans to leave my family home in the first year.
Thank you and hope you're doing well!
THe rules for students on esa are that you can claim only income related. Contribution based only applies if you've worked for the last 12 months. You are not entitled to support group. Only work related. The reasons are obvious. They will reassess pip cos your needs will change. Again obviously.
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