Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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Esa, pip, student finance and overpayment

Hi guys
Prior to joining university I was on Esa income related support and pip standard living no mobility. I started a degree in February 2018, my pip ended in March 2019 so I informed Esa that my pip is ending and would therefore be ineligible for Esa. So dwp asked me to send my student finance income (proof). This week I received a call from dwp that I have to repay my Esa since I joined university! This is wrong! Is it true that if you receive pip you can still receive student finance and Esa? Could you someone please clarify? I explained it to the lady who called me and she said I need further information and a letter is on the way!

many thanks


  • TomF_ScopeTomF_Scope Scope helpline Posts: 2 Connected
    Hi John,

    Disability Rights Uk publishes some very handy FAQs that go into benefit eligibility as a student. However most students attending full-time courses are excluded from claiming Housing benefit until the course ends. There are some exceptions to this rule. For example, you can claim housing benefit as a student if you are disabled or have a serious health condition and you get income-related ESA. https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/how-we-can-help/individuals/education/frequently-asked-questions-students

    But for the basis of benefit calculations, student finance is partially counted as income. If you aren’t eligible for contributory ESA and do not live in a ‘full service’ Universal Credit area (see above), you can claim income-related ESA as a full-time student if you are also getting disability living allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP). As a higher education student, you will be automatically counted as having limited capability for work.  You will still be assessed under the limited capability for work-related activity test, which decides whether you are in the support group or the work-related activity group. It can be complicated to calculate how much benefit you might finally receive.

    Disability Rights Uk also run the Disabled Students Helpline which runs 1am-1pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays on: 

    0330 995 0414

    More info on Disabled Students helpline here: https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/how-we-can-help/helplines/disabled-students-helpline
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