This guide to the Disabled Students Allowances has been created by the Disability Advisory Service at the University of Reading.
What’s the catch? There really isn’t one. The funding pays for the support rather than going directly to you, and doesn’t have to be paid back. It isn’t means tested, there is no age limit on applying and you can apply as an undergraduate or postgraduate student. It doesn’t affect your general student finance application, or your eligibility for any other funding sources. The process of applying has a couple of steps to go through, but isn’t too bureaucratic and it isn’t difficult to get approved for the support you need. Image: Face with raised eyebrow by Anniken & Andreas from the Noun Project
What can I get? The funding is actually made up of four different components that fund different types of support – equipment, non-medical helper, general and travel. However, before getting into what may be available through each of these, there are two fundamental principles to understand when thinking about what the DSA may be able to fund: 1) The DSA funds any additional study costs that a student incurs as a direct result of studying as a disabled student. So, for example, a student may need to travel to hospital appointments when at university, meaning that they have additional travel costs to cover. However, because this cost is not directly related to their studying, it would not be covered by the DSA. Alternatively, a student has a long-term back injury which means that they require specialist ergonomic seating when studying. As the cost of a specialist chair is due to the back injury and is necessary for the student to study effectively, this would be covered by the DSA. 2) The DSA provides the funding to cover the cost of the support needed, rather an amount of money to be used as needed. In the examples above, if these situations related to the same student, they would not be permitted to use the money allocated to purchase the chair and to pay for the travel to the hospital appointments. So, with these guidelines in mind, overleaf is an overview of what the DSA can fund.