TLDR; I claimed from DSA for mileage travel fees laptop reimbursement, and software subscription fees which I had to pay (notetaking/recording software which I was using in class to take my notes, and Grammarly Premium to help with my essays etc), which were in my quote.
DSA have accepted my travel allowance and laptop reimbursement claims but rejected my claims for the subscription fees as they're not pre-agreed reimbursements and they're listed on my quote, so DSA pay the supplier for them.
However, the supplier did not give me access to the software I was allocated until now (and only because the disability dept followed up on my behalf) so I had to pay out of pocket. Who's paying me back?
I've recently had to claim a few things back from DSA (mileage allowance for travel, pre-agreed computer reimbursement, and software I'm paying for).
DSA has processed the claims for travel mileage allowance and my pre-agreed computer allowance, and the money is being paid into my account within the next 5-7 days. This is amazing; I thought it would take much longer since I have had major delays with them before (submitted the claims on 29th Jan)
I've been having issues with the other items on my reimbursement list: Glean for DSA, and Grammarly Premium, both of which I'm entitled to by the supplier, but never received.
I just got access to my 4 year Grammarly Premium licence at the end of January, and I still don't have access to Glean for DSA, as they haven't sent me the link yet and continue to blank me.
I know with Glean, I will have to keep paying £10 p/m if I want access to my notes/recordings. Obviously, I will need access to my notes; I had to write 3 essays last semester and am currently working on writing a c. 800-word reflective essay, a 1500-word 2-part report and a 1500-word mini dissertation.
DSA said they couldn't reimburse me for the £82.08 I've spent on the software, because it's not a pre-agreed reimbursement and because it's in my DSA quote, and they paid the supplier, but the supplier hasn't given me what DSA paid them to give me.
So, who's in the right to be reimbursing me? DSA or the supplier? If it is DSA, how do I query their rejection of part of my reimbursement?
There have been delays from both DSA and the supplier, which have led to this sticky situation (and I wrote on the claims form ' I ended up having to pay a subscription fee due to DSA's delays in sorting out the removal of my laptop from my quote, and additional delays from the supplier in delivering my assistive tech software')
DSA's delays didn't directly lead to the supplier's delays but prolonged the issue.
The DSA supplier has been notoriously tricky to get hold of ('suddenly' they replied to my emails after over 30 working days, because I spoke to my disability advisor about another issue at the end of Jan 2023, and he asked me and I told him I hadn't had any contact with the suppliers since the beginning of December. He followed up, and they lied to him that they had already sent an email before, but that they would re-send it.
They hadn't emailed me at all cos I was checking my emails and spam every 2 days, so I would have seen it). So far, they have blanked me again when I said, 'I don't think I received 2 invites for subscription software' (Glean and another software called Scholarcy, which is £8 p/m. I could really do with having access to right now, which condenses scientific journals into flashcards to make it easier for me to process the information, and I'm writing a 1500-word mini dissertation and a 1500 2-part report on my chosen discipline, which is nutrition).
I'm 99% sure they didn't send them on purpose and I didn't receive them but didn't want to be accusatory and upset the boat. I don't expect them to even reply unless I get my disability advisor involved again, but I don't want to contact him unless I really have to - I don't want to seem annoying even though none of it's my fault, and I don't think the supplier will be too happy at having to deal with him again and *shock horror* give the student the software they ******* NEED and which the government is PAYING THEM FOR. They just want the money and don't want to work. IMO they need to be reported and shut down. If anyone else gets assigned 'Assistive Solutions' as a DSA supplier, RUN and give DSA the name and contact details of a new supplier to switch to, who will give you access to the things you need.
I still haven't even been able to organise assistive tech training, because that's supplied by a different supplier, and obviously, I can't organise that until I receive all my equipment, which I have not.
I don't think I'm going to get access to the software I should before the semester/my foundation year ends in 8 weeks (based on the issues/delays/lack of contact I've had, so I have to keep paying for it (luckily the supplier did send me the link to the most expensive of the software, Grammarly Premium, which is £30 p/m).
It still adds up, though; with the software they haven't paid, by the end of March, I would have paid in total £118.06 (the £52.08 I've paid for Grammarly so far, the £30 I've paid for Glean since my free trial ended since I needed access to my notes/recordings, plus the £20 I will be paying for Glean for Feb & March, and the £7.99 per month I will probably be paying for Scholarcy for Feb and March).
22/10/22 - received DSA funding letter.
25/10/22 Supplier contacted by needs assessment centre on my behalf.
25/10/22 Email reply from supplier w upgrade options.
27/10/22 Called supplier about removing laptop from quote as I wanted to upgrade myself and claim part reimbursement.
27/10/22 email DSA to ask to remove laptop from quote. Got automated email saying they would reply within 10 working days
27/10/22 - call supplier, ask how to remove laptop from quote. Supplier tells me to email DSA. Emailed DSA, got an automated email saying 'we'll reply w/in 10 working days'. Should have had a reply by 9/11/22 (10 working days/14 calendar days)
18/11/22 DSA finally replied to my email (17 working days/23 calendar dates). They tell me they are contacting my needs assessor for a new quote, and have to issue me a new letter.
30/11/22 I receive DSA funding letter V2. Details forwarded from assessment centre to DSA supplier again.
2/12/22 I got an email asking me to confirm my address, institution and end date (I thought they would have that on record anyway?) and asking me whether I use a Windows or Mac (which I had mentioned on the phone, and also, can't they see the equipment list is full of MAC versions of software??)
6/12/22 I replied (was trying to work out whether they meant my home or uni address, and kept procrastinating about it/slight anxiety)
6/12/22 Recived an 'order acknowledgement' confirming the list of equipment and someone would be in touch within 10 working days for delivery/download of licence keys etc.
14/01/23- left the supplier a scathing 1-star review on Google telling people to run and avoid them like the plague.
23/01/23 Spoke to the Disabilities Advisor about some other issue, he asked about DSA, and I said I hadn't had any contact for 49 calendar days/32 working days (far in excess of the 10 working days they said someone would contact me within). He reached out to them on my behalf.
24/01/23 He emailed me back, told me the supplier told him they had already sent an email asking me which dates suited me for a delivery (1000% a lie, I was checking my spam and email inbox every other day) and asked them to re-send it which, to their credit, they did.
24/01/23 My equipment is finally ready to deliver from 26/02/23 (a microphone. Literally that's all they're delivering, the rest is software I need licence keys for) and they asked for a suitable date.
25/01/23 I replied asking if they could deliver on the 27th (Friday) cos I had uni on the 26th.
26/01/23 They said they were 'fully booked' and couldn't deliver til Monday the 30th onward.
26/01/23 Asked them to deliver on 30/01/23, but called them out on the software and said 'Sofware and licence keys do not need a physical delivery' and can I have them ASAP (basically, but in a nicer way)
27/01/23 Replied saying my microphone would be delivered on Monday the 30th, and the licence keys would arrive by the end of today.
31/01/23 I replied and said thanks for getting my physical equipment delivered; it arrived with no problem. However, I checked my emails and I have not had the email invites to access the Glean and Scholarcy subscriptions. please can you re-send the Glean & Scholarcy invites?
I've heard nothing since, and given the delays I've had I don't expect them to reply at all unless I get the disability dept involved. So now I'm not sure what to do.