ESA stopped - postgraduate studies (please help!!) — Scope | Disability forum
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ESA stopped - postgraduate studies (please help!!)

mousey Scope Member Posts: 42 Courageous
I just recieved a letter from ESA saying that my ESA has been stopped as of 2 days ago - I called them last week to say that I *will* be getting a postgraduate loan (I haven't even got the first installment yet) to fund my studies - (all of the money is going straight to the uni, I'm not keeping a penny of it, not that they'll see it any differently).

I then sent them (via recorded delivery) my term times and loan letter. This has been delivered, but I doubt they've acutually seen it yet.

I sought independent advice (Disability Rights UK Student line) some time ago and was told they only take 30 percent of the loan into consideration, as well as disregarding anothe 600 odd pounds for book and travel expenses, I was fully expecting my ESA to be *reduced* and was willing to take the hit at the chance of bettering my life, but it seems like they've just convenitently forgotten this rule and cancelled it outright, leaving me with no way of paying my rent / bills / pet care this month...

Aside from calling them on monday, am I definitely right here to be questioning this as they haven't done their job properly?

Apologies if I seem annoyed or stressed, I am. Currently trying to stave off flashbacks and panic attacks. I'll be contacting my CMHT on monday and telling my carers.

Thank you in advance for any help offered. :)


  • mousey
    mousey Scope Member Posts: 42 Courageous
    Also I forgot to say the course is online, part time, over 2 years.
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 49,590 Disability Gamechanger
    Any loans for student fees should not affect any of your ESA. Any Students maintenance loans available to you will affect any Income Related ESA you're claiming, even if you decide not to take that loan.

    A disabled student allowance will not affect your ESA. If you think the decision is wrong you'll need to ring them on Monday. You can request the Mandatory Reconsideration to stop your ESA completely.
    I would appreciate it if members wouldn't tag me please. I have all notifcations turned off and wouldn't want a member thinking i'm being rude by not replying.
    If i see a question that i know the answer to i will try my best to help.
  • mousey
    mousey Scope Member Posts: 42 Courageous
    Thanks poppy, unfortunately the postgrad loan is considered both tuition fees and maintenance even though it just covers the course fees, which is why I was expecting it to reduce my esa - but from what I was told by disability rights it is definitely a reduction, I worked it out to be about £80 less a month. 

    Thanks for letting me know about the mandatory reconsideration part, I’ll definitely contest with this if they don’t recognise their mistake. 
  • mousey
    mousey Scope Member Posts: 42 Courageous
    A little update - decision maker is looking at my claim, letter has been sent detailing their calculations but I won’t receive this until next week so still in limbo.

    So as far as I can find out: they will take 30% of the loan into consideration. Then disregard £303 and £390 for travel/books/etc.

    I found this: “Next you'd have to find out your maximum maintenance loan. That's going to have £390 and £303 disregarded from it (for books/equipment and for travel, whether or not you need these). Whatever is left is then divided up amongst the number of weeks on the course - really hard to tell, but if you start in October, it would depend when you finish. Loans are normally apportioned over 42 or 43 weeks, but it might be less for you.

    After the apportionment into a weekly amount, another £10 a week would be disregarded, & if the remaining figure is higher than your ESA, your ESA would stop. If your income-related ESA is more than the remaining figure, you'd keep the difference.”

    So this is what I’ve worked out:

    My loan, over 2 years, is £11836. that’s £5918 for year one. 

    Minus £303 and £390 is £5225.

    5225 divided by 42 is 124.4

    But then I remembered they take only 30% of the loan into consideration so did the sums again and got:

    1175 (30%)
    - 303
    = 1028.4

    And divided that by 42 = 25.7.

    Minus £10: £15.70. 

    Have I done this correctly? I keep doing different sums and I’m losing my mind trying to figure this out. 😭
  • mousey
    mousey Scope Member Posts: 42 Courageous
    But I’ve just been through my course information and I counted 36 weeks on the course. Will that change the amount deducted from my award?
  • L_Volunteer
    L_Volunteer Community Volunteer Adviser, Scope Member Posts: 7,979 Disability Gamechanger
    Based on what you said @mousey, it would affect the calculations because there is less to divide it by (there are fewer weeks). However, it is very unusual to receive a significant amount of maintenance loan at the postgraduate level. I know, from experience, the postgraduate loan didn't even cover all my tuition!  :)
    Community Volunteer Adviser with professional knowledge of education, special educational needs and disabilities and EHCP's. Pronouns: She/her. 

    Please note: if I use the online community outside of its hours of administration, I am doing so in a personal capacity only.
  • mousey
    mousey Scope Member Posts: 42 Courageous
    Based on what you said @mousey, it would affect the calculations because there is less to divide it by (there are fewer weeks). However, it is very unusual to receive a significant amount of maintenance loan at the postgraduate level. I know, from experience, the postgraduate loan didn't even cover all my tuition!  :)
    Thank you, I got the letter and I don’t really understand what they’re saying in the letter as it doesn’t give a decision, just a sum which at the end says:

     “therefore the weekly amount to be considered in the assessment is £5918 x 30% - £693 = £1082.40 / 49 weeks =£22.08 less £10 disregard is £12.08 weekly. "

    Yes it is very close, it just about covers my tuition I think! But ESA doesn't see it this way as on the loan letter it says it's for both.
  • Saffarooney
    Saffarooney Community member Posts: 3 Listener
    I am in a similar situation to you, Mousey. I have been accepted onto a part time, online, postgraduate course. I also applied for the maximum grant available from student finance. Now I'm wondering if I should forget the whole idea as I'm really worried about ESA being cut, or drastically reduced. Any updates on your situation? 


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