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Question about ESA, part time OU course and part time work

Charlotterosetait Member Posts: 2 Listener
Hi, I'm currently on ESA (pre-assessment rate) and I'm starting a part time Open University course in October. It says online that you can still claim ESA if you are a part time student OR if you work part time, but doesn't say anything about if you study part time and work part time? I wondered if anyone could shed some light on this if possible please!


  • CockneyRebel
    CockneyRebel Member Posts: 5,216 Disability Gamechanger
    edited September 2017
    Hi Charlottrosetait and welcome to our community

    The Advisers are generally not on at the weekends and one of them is probably best placed to give you an answer.

    I think that if you are studying with the OU then as this is flexible study time it would be diregarded for the purpose of ESA. If you were attending college this may be a different matter

    As long as you stick to the rules regarding permitted work you should be ok.
    BUT, any work you do should not conflict with your ESA claim. for example, Somebody that is claiming they have agrophobia would be unwise to take part time work delivering leaflets or dog walking

    Be all you can be, make  every day count. Namaste
  • steve51
    steve51 Member Posts: 7,154 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Charlotterosetait

    A very big welcome to you to our online community.

    I have posted some info on Benefits for you on our site

    We also have a "Benefit Advisor" & I pass your post onto them if that is ok ???

    Please please let me know if I can help you with anything else ???

    Hi @BenefitsTrainingCo

    Can you please help me with this post ????
  • BenefitsTrainingCo
    BenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,628 Pioneering

    Yes, we can help. The rules about working and studying don't interact with each other - that means that if you meet the rules about working part-time, and you also meet the rules about studying part-time, you are fine. There's no rule which says you can't do both.

    To work part-time on ESA you must be doing permitted work. Here's an extract from the information on permitted work:

    Permitted work

    If you do ‘permitted work’ it won’t usually affect your ESA. It’s permitted work if both the following apply:

    • you earn up to £120 a week
    • you work less than 16 hours a week

    There’s no limit on how many weeks your permitted work can last for.

    Supported permitted work

    You can do ‘supported permitted work’ and earn up to £120 a week. Supported permitted work must be one of the following:

    • part of a treatment programme
    • supervised by someone from a local council or voluntary organisation whose job it is to arrange work for disabled people
    Make sure you tell the DWP that you are doing the permitted work.

    Studying part-time on ESA is fine. You should make sure that the course is definitely part-time (classed as part-time by the OU if it is higher education, or if it's further education, involves no more than 16 guided learning hours a week). I've assumed you are 19 or over - if you are younger, the rules can be different.

    Higher education is something above A level/Highers/NVQ level 4. Further education is adult education at a level below higher education. 

    If you are on DLA or PIP, you can study full-time and get ESA, but any student finance you have would be taken into account for income-related ESA.

    I think you probably don't have anything to worry about here but please make sure the DWP know about both your work and your studying. The only possible down side is that this may be taken into account in your assessment, but it should all be about the ESA activities and which descriptors you meet. Working and studying doesn't mean you can't have limited capability for work if you score enough points.

    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • Hayley1234
    Hayley1234 Member Posts: 5 Listener
    I’m on Esa and have just started college 3 hours a week one day,I need to work to get some extra money is this allowed in permitted work I was on permitted work a few months ago but not sure if can do it like a cleaning job or something as well as college. Please help.
  • Chloe_Scope
    Chloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,557 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Hayley1234, and welcome to the community! 

    Benefits and being a student can make things more complicated. You could contact the Disabled Students Helpline on 0330 995 0414, they may be able to offer more specific guidance.

    Have you spoken to anyone about wanting to work part-time?

  • Hayley1234
    Hayley1234 Member Posts: 5 Listener
    I just read somewhere on a post on here that if I’m Esa as long as your course is part time u can do permitted work under a certain amount of hours and not earn more that 125 a week
  • Hayley1234
    Hayley1234 Member Posts: 5 Listener
    I haven’t got a job yet but I do want to look for a little job to earn extra money w
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 28,462 Disability Gamechanger
    Permitted work is not college, it's something totally different. If you want to work, whether it's paid or voluntary then you will need to get permission from DWP before starting the work. You mustn't earn more than £131.50 per week. If you earn more than this then you won't be entitled to any ESA for those weeks.

    Do be aware that if the work you do contradicts the reasons why you claim ESA then you could be re-assessed early and it can go against you when the next decision is made.

  • Chloe_Scope
    Chloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,557 Disability Gamechanger
    I would definitely make sure you speak to someone about the education side if you are planning on working as the same rules may not apply if you are in education, wanting to work, and on ESA. Like Poppy has said, this will need to be declared to DWP before you start.

  • Hayley1234
    Hayley1234 Member Posts: 5 Listener


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