ESA and learners loan — Scope | Disability forum
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ESA and learners loan

jh8751 Member Posts: 5 Listener

Just wondered if you could give me some advice. 

I have been on contribution based ESA in the support group for several years now (was incapacity benefit) although I’m still trying to manage my condition I was looking into a college course. This is 2 hours a week but would also mean I would need to volunteer 12 hours a week. At this moment I’m not sure if I’m capable but would like to try. However to do this course I would need a student loan. 

I have phoned the benefits agency and they said I can do the course but if I get any kind of student loan it can effect my benefits?

I don’t want to start the course and lose all my benefits. And then not be able to cope with the course due to my health. 

Are you able to provide any advice on this? 

Thank you 


  • Pippa_Alumni
    Pippa_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 5,798 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @jh8751,

    Best of luck with your course! What will you be studying?

    The following information is from the site: 
    You can apply for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) to cover some of the extra costs you have because of a mental health problem, long term illness or any other disability.
    You can get the allowances on top of your other student finance. You will not need to repay DSAs.
    If you’re a part-time student your ‘course intensity’ can affect how much you get.
    It seems as though student loans should not affect benefits, although hopefully some of our other members will be able to clarify this.
  • jh8751
    jh8751 Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Thanks for your reply. I would like to do a teaching assistant course. However the course is only 2 hours a week but I’d need to volunteer for 12 hours. I was it give it a try but concerned it may stop my benefits by getting a learners loan or doing the hours?  I may not even be able to cope with it. I just want to try as don’t want to be on benefits forever. X
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 28,560 Disability Gamechanger

    Student loan affect means tested benefits and are counted as income, this means they reduced any means tested benefits you claim. You will also need to get permission to volunteer for those 12 hours per week from DWP, even if it is part of the course.


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