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Financial help for people with disabilities

Financial help for people with disabilitiesWhether you're a student, in work or unable to work, if you have a disability you may be able to claim finaincial support.

Disabled Students' Allowances (DSA)

This allowance provides extra financial help if you have a disability or specific learning difficulty like dyslexia and you are studying in higher or further education.

It is available on top of the standard student finance package, is not dependent on household income and doesn't have to be repaid.

You may be eligible if you are either a full-time, part-time or postgraduate student studying for one year or more (including distance learning).

However, you must ensure that you and your course meets DSA conditions.

You cannot apply for DSA if you are eligible for an NHS bursary.

To apply, you must have evidence of your disability in the form of either a letter from a medical professional (if you have an impairment, medical condition, illness or mental health condition) or diagnostic assessment (for learning disabilities such as dyslexia).

Disabled Students' Allowances can help pay for:

  • specialist equipment for studying - for example, computer software (up to £5,212 a year for a full-time undergraduate)
  • a non-medical helper, such as a note-taker or reader (up to £20,575 a year for a full-time undergraduate)
  • other costs, such as travel (up to £1,741 a year for a full-time undergraduate)

More about the Disabled Students' Allowances 

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Access To Work

Access to Work grants help you to pay for practical support to help you start work or stay in your job. This might include specialist equipment or helpers or taxi fares if you're not able to get public transport, for example.

To claim, you need to be over 16 and either working, about to start work, or about to start a work trial. You might not be able to claim if you claim any of these benefits:

  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Income Support
  • National Insurance Credits

Find out more about Access to Work and how to apply

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Personal Independence Payments (PIP) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

Both of these benefits help with the extra costs of being disabled or having a long-term health problem. PIP is replacing DLA: if you're making a new claim, you'll get PIP, and if you're claiming DLA already it will eventually be replaced with PIP.

PIP is made up of two parts:

  • The daily living component, which is based on your ability to do everyday tasks like preparing food, eating, dressing and washing. This is worth £55.10 a week, or £82.30 if you are not expected to live for more than six months.
  • The mobility component, which is worth either £21.80 or £57.45 depending on your needs.

However much you are entitled to, you will normally be paid every four weeks.

Find out more about PIP

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This scheme allows you to lease a car, motorised wheelchair or scooter using the mobility component of PIP, if you get the higher rate.

Find out more on the Motability website

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Housing benefit

This is generally available for people on low incomes. However, you will be able to claim more if you have a disability. Support varies so speak to your local Jobcentre Plus, Jobs and Benefits Office or your local authority. For more information, visit DirectGov

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Income support

You could claim extra if you are on a low income because of your disability.
Speak to your local Jobcentre Plus or Jobs and Benefits Office. For more information, visit

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Working tax credit

If you work at least 16 hours a week and you are over 16, you could claim Working Tax Credit. This is worth up to £2,970 a year if you have a disability, with another extra 'element' of up to £1,275 if your disability is considered severe.

There are also extras if you are a parent, part of a couple or work at least 30 hours a week.

Find out more about Working Tax Credit

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Employment and Support Allowance (formerly Incapacity benefit)

This is a combination of financial support and programmes designed to get you into work if a government assessment decides that you are able to. You can claim if you're unable to work because of a disability and you are on a low income or have previously paid enough national insurance contributions to qualify.

When you claim, you'll start being paid ESA at a reduced rate while your claim is assessed. This is up to £57.90 a week if you're under 25, or £73.10 if you're older.

Once you have been assessed, you'll get either:

  • Up to £102.15 if you're assessed as able to work at some point in the future. You will have to attend interviews and do activities intended to help you into work. This is limited to a year if you are not on a low income.
  • Up to £109.30 if the assessment decides that you are unlikely to be able to work. You won't have to attend interviews, and your claim won't be limited to a year.

Find out more about ESA

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Council tax reduction and other exemptions

When you move into your own place, you will be expected to pay council tax for all the local services you receive such as rubbish collection. Your bill may be reduced if you have a disability.

If you're a student, you don't have to pay council tax, so this won't apply to you.

You may also be exempt from, or pay a reduced rate for:

  • Vehicle tax
  • VAT on things related to your disability
  • Television licence (if you are sight impaired)

You can apply for Council Tax Reduction online.

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