Frequently Asked Questions - Disabled Students' Allowance




Disabled Students' Allowance

What are DSAs?

Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) are Student Finance grants that help to pay for extra Assistive Technology and Specialist Support that you may need as a direct result of your disability, on-going health condition, sensory impairment, mental-health condition or specific learning difficulty. The Disabled Students' Allowances can help with the cost of Specialist Support, Assistive Technology, and the cost of extra travel and other items for your course, such as extra books and photocopying. See What are DSAs


Do I qualify for the Disabled Students' Allowance?

You will qualify for DSA if you are a student on a higher education course, who lives in England. You must also be able to prove that you have a disability, medical condition, sensory impairment, mental-health condition or a specific learning difficulty which affects your ability to study. To find out more see Do I qualify. For further details visit direct.gov


What if I do not qualify for DSA?

See: Do I qualify for DSA.

Even if you do not think you are eligible for DSA you may find it helpful to get in contact with a Disability Advisor at your University or College, as you may be eligible for other types of support.


What DSA help can I get?

You can get help with paying for: Assistive Technology (computers, printers, recorders, etc.), Assistive Software, Specialist Support (for notetaking, organising your work, etc.), and extra travel costs. For more details see What help can I get


Do I have to pay for anything?

You may need to pay for any tests or letters to prove that you qualify for DSA. However it may be possible to get financial help through your University or College. You should speak to your Disability Advisor about this.

You will have to pay for: consumables; additional travel costs; photocopying; additional non-core textbooks; and internet costs. However you may be able to claim back these costs through the general allowance. See Reimbursement


What will I need to do?

Application

Evidence - You will need proof that you have a disability, mental-health condition, medical condition, or a specific learning difficulty, such as dyslexia, which affects your ability to study. See Evidence

Application - You will need to apply for DSA by filling in either an online or paper application form, then send it to your DSA Funding Provider along with any evidence. See Application Form

Approval - You will need to wait for an approval letter from your DSA Funding Provider before you can proceed any further. Your Funding Provider will look at your application and let you know whether you qualify for DSA. See Approval Letter

Needs Assessment

DSA Needs Assessment Centre You will need to contact a Needs Assessment Centre and arrange a DSA Needs Assessment. See What is a DSA Needs Assessment?.

DSANeeds Assessment The DSA Needs Assessment is an informal meeting to help identify the kind of support that will assist your particular needs. See DSA Needs Assessment Overview

DSA Needs Assessment Report Your Needs Assessor will write a report which identifies the types of Assistive Technology and Specialist Support may need, how much it will cost, where to get it from and also any Assistive Technology Training you may require to make the best use of the Assistive Technology provided. See DSA Needs Assessment Report

Assistive Technology

Ordering DSA Assistive Technology You will need to contact the supplier that was approved by your Funding Provider in your Entitlement Letter. See Entitlement Letter. You can find the suppliers contact details and a quick order form on our Supplier Directory

Specialist Support

Arranging Specialist Support The decision of whether you require non-medical helper support is made by your Needs Assessor, based on what was discussed during your DSA Needs Assessment. Once this has been approved by your Funding Provider in your Entitlement Letter you or a Disability Advisor will need to arrange this support. Non-medical helper support is paid for through the non-medical helper allowance part of the DSA.


How long will this take?

Application

Your Funding Provider will either approve or reject your application for DSA within about 12 working days of them receiving your application.

Assessment

Appointment - The DSA Assessment Centre should be able to book you an appointment for a DSA Needs Assessment immediately on initial contact. A confirmation letter will be sent by the first working day following initial contact.

Referral - If you contacted the centre via email or via an online referral form, the centre will contact you within 1 working day of you contacting them

DSA Assessment Date - Your DSA Needs Assessment should take place within 15 working days of you first contacting the DSA assessment centre.

DSA Assessment Interview - The DSA Needs Assessment will take about 2 hours, you will be able to take a break during the DSA assessment if you want.

Needs Assessment Report

Draft - If you requested a draft, you should receive a copy for approval within 10 working days of your DSA Needs Assessment interview. Your agreed amendments will be completed and your report will be sent out as a final within 3 working days.

No Draft - If you didnt request a draft your DSA Needs Assessment report should be written and sent out as a final within 10 working days of your DSA Needs Assessment interview.

Your Funding Provider will aim to respond to your DSA Needs Assessment report within about 15 working days of receiving it.

Support

Delivery - The approved supplier should deliver your Assistive Technology within 10 working days of you placing your order.

Setup and familiarisation - Setup and familiarisation of you Assistive Technology can last up to 1½ hours.

Non-Medical Helper Support - Either you or a Disabilty Advisor at your University or College will need to arrange the non-medical helper support.


Application

What is the DSA application process?

Evidence - You will need proof that you have a disability, mental-health condition, medical condition, or a specific learning difficulty, such as dyslexia, which affects your ability to study. See Evidencearranging non-medical helper support

Evidence - You will need proof that you have a disability, mental-health condition, medical condition, or a specific learning difficulty, such as dyslexia, which affects your ability to study. See Evidence

Application - You will need to apply for DSA by filling in either an online or paper application form, then send it to your Funding Provider along with your evidence. See Application Form

Approval - You will need to wait for an approval letter from your Funding Provider before you can proceed any further. Your Funding Provider will look at your application and let you know whether you qualify for DSA. See Approval Letter


How do I apply for DSA?

See Application

First year student - If you are a first year student applying for Student Finance online you can apply for DSA using the Online Application Form

If you have already applied for Student Finance package - you will have to download and complete the Short Form. See: Short Form

Only applying for DSA - If you are applying for Disabled Students' Allowance only and you are a Part-time or Post-graduate student you will need to download and complete the Full Form See: Full Form.


Can I apply for DSAs online?

You can either apply online or via a downloadable application form, see Applying for Disabled Students' Allowance


Do I have to download a DSA application form?

Only if you are not a first time applicant, see Applying for Disabled Students' Allowance for the application forms.


Do I have to re-apply for DSA?

It is advisable that returning students should re-apply for their DSA to ensure their finance is in place for the start of the new academic year.

Full Time: When re-applying for main loan and grants you should indicate that you wish to continue receiving DSA.

Part Time: You will need to re-apply for each year of your course by filling in an application form, see Applying for Disabled Students' Allowance


What Evidence do I Need?

You will need proof that you have a disability, mental-health condition, medical condition, or a specific learning difficulty, such as dyslexia, which affects your ability to study. See Evidence


What do I do with my Acceptance Letter?

The letter will tell you what to do next. After you receive the approval letter, you can go ahead and arrange your DSA Needs Assessment at a location that suits you. See our Accredited Assessment Centre Directory


What can I do if my application has been turned down?

If the letter says that you do not qualify for Disabled Students' Allowance, you should contact your Disability Advisor at your University or College and show them the rejection letter.


What happens after I have received my acceptance letter?

After you receive the approval letter, you can go ahead and arrange your DSA Needs Assessment at a location that suits you. You can choose any assessment centre that best suits your location from our Accredited Assessment Centre Directory


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Assessment

What is the DSA Needs Assessment process?

Contact - You will have to contact an Accredited Centre to arrange a DSA Needs Assessment.

Assessment - You will need to attend a DSA Needs Assessment at an Accredited Assessment centre. This is an informal meeting to help identify the kind of support that will assist your particular needs.

Needs Assessment Report - A Needs Assessment Report will be written that identifies the types of Assistive Technology and Specialist Support you will need, based on what was discussed in your DSA Needs Assessment.


Who arranges the DSA Needs Assessment?

After you receive the approval letter, you should go ahead and arrange your Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA) Needs Assessment at a location that suits you. You can choose any assessment centre that best suits your location from our Accredited Assessment Centre Directory


How long will all this take?

Arrange an Assessment - You should be given an appointment for your assessment immediately on contact with the assessment centre. This may take longer if you have contacted them via email or online referral form.

Assessment Interview - Your assessment will be booked for within 15 working days of you contacting the centre. Or later if you prefer.

Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA) Needs Report - Your Needs Assessment Report will be written and sent to your DSA Funding Provider within 10 working days of your DSA Needs Assessment. This will take longer if you wish to see a draft copy for your approval.

Entitlement Letter - Your DSA Funding Provider will send you a letter telling you to order your Assistive Technology and any Specialist Support you can get within 10 working days from them receiving your final report from the Needs Assessment Centre.


What is a DSA Needs Assessment?

The Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA) Needs Assessment is an informal meeting to help identify the kind of support that will assist your particular needs.

For more details see: DSA Needs Assessment Overview.


When should I have my DSA Needs Assessment?

You are advised to arrange your Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA) Needs Assessment as soon as possible after receiving a DSA Approval Letter


How long will the DSA Needs Assessment take?

The Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA) Needs Assessment interview takes about 2 hours.


Can I have a break during the assessment?

Yes


Am I allowed to bring someone with me?

Usually yes; but you will have to confirm if this is ok with your assessment centre. You can find their contact details on our Assessment Directory.


Do I have to bring anything with me?

Possibly It depends on the assessment centre. They will tell you what to bring, if anything.


Will it cost me anything?

No. The cost of the assessment is covered through your Disabled Students' Allowance.


Do I need to see a draft of my DSA Needs Report?

It is your choice. You can choose to not see a draft if you wish. Your Needs Assessment Report will go straight out as a final within 10 working days of your Needs Assessment.


How long will it take to get a draft?

It will take 10 working days from your Needs Assessment to get a draft of your report. Then a further 3 working days after you have given feedback before being sent as a final. See DSA Needs Assessment Report.


What happens when I receive my final report?

You do not have to do anything until you receive an entitlement letter from your DSA Funding Provider, this will tell you what to do next. See Entitlement Letter


I have received an Entitlement Letter from your Funding Provider?

The Entitlement letter from your DSA Funding Provider will list the approved support that you are to receive. The letter will also tell you what to do next. See Entitlement Letter


Who do I complain to about my Needs Assessment, DSA Needs Assessor, or Needs Assessment Report

You should contact the assessment centre, failing that you should request a copy of the Assessment Centre's Complaints Procedure. If your dispute remains unresolved after going through the assessment centres complaints procedure, you should contact your Funding Provider. See Contact Information

If you have any complaints about your assessment you should contact the assessment centre. They will have a complaints procedure in place for handling any complaints. See our Accredited Assessment Centre Directory to find their contact details.


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Assistive Technology

How do I get my Assistive Technology?

You will need to contact the supplier that was approved by your Funding Provider in your Entitlement Letter. See Entitlement Letter. The supplier may ask you to send them a copy of the Entitlement Letter.


Who do I contact to order my Assistive Technology?

The entitlement letter that you received from your Funding Provider will tell you who you need to contact to order your Assistive Technology. See Entitlement Letter.


How long will I have to wait?

Order -> Delivery = 10 working days of the receiving a copy of your Entitlement Letter. This is subject to Assistive Technology availability, as well as your availability and preference.

Delivery, Installation, Familiarisation = Up to 1 ½ hours.

Training = Arranged for within 10 working days of you receiving your Assistive Technology. Or whenever is convenient for you.


Do I have to get my Assistive Technology from the approved supplier?

It is advisable that you do this as all accredited suppliers will offer you support for the duration of your course. Whereas other suppliers may only offer you a 1 year manufacturers warranty.


Can I claim money back for Assistive Technology I have bought myself?

You may be able to claim back money for Assistive Technology you purchased before your needs assessment. You should contact your assessment centre regarding this. See: Assessment Centre Directory


Where can I get the Assistive Technology delivered?

You can get the Assistive Technology delivered to which ever address you call home whilst at University or College. This can be student accommodation, parents home, or private lodging.


My Assistive Technology isnt working what do I do?

The approved supplier of your Assistive Technology will offer you full computer and peripheral maintenance and support for the full duration of your course. You should contact your supplier if you are experiencing any problems.

For more details See Aftercare. For supplier contact details See our Supplier Directory.


How long will repairs take; can I get a replacement in the meantime?

If the problem cannot be fixed within 3 working days of pickup, loan Assistive Technology will be provided. This will be suitable to run substantially all the support related software. for more details see Aftercare

If your Assistive Technology cannot be fixed within a maximum of 4 weeks permanent replacement Assistive Technology will be provided


Insurance & Warranty; who do I contact?

You should contact the supplier of your Assistive Technology; they will handle all insurance and warranty claims.


Do I get to keep the Assistive Technology when I complete my course?

You are able to keep the recommended Assistive Technology unless it was supplied on a loan agreement for a specific period of time.


I have a dispute with my supplier, where do I complain?

You should contact the suppliers Customer Service Team failing that you should request a copy of the Suppliers Complaint Procedure. If your dispute remains unresolved after going through the suppliers complaints procedure, you should contact your assessment centre and your Funding Provider. See Contact Information


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Support

How do I get non medical support?

The decision of whether you require non-medical helper support is made by your Needs Assessor, based on what was discussed during your DSA Needs Assessment. Once this has been approved by your Funding Provider in your Entitlement Letter you or a Disability Advisor will need to contact a support provider in order to set up the support. Non-medical helper support is paid for through the non-medical helper allowance part of the DSA.


Do I have to set up the support myself?

Either you or a Disability Advisor will need to set up the support. Where possible it is helpful to contact a Disability Advisor with your Entitlement Letter from your Funding Provider. They will then help you to set up the support that was recommended in your DSA Needs Assessment Report.


Do I have to pay for the support?

No. The support gets paid for through the non-medical helper support allowance part of the DSA.


How can I change the amount of support I am receiving?

If you want to increase/decrease the amount of support that you are receiving you will need to contact a Disability Advisor and the Needs Assessor who conducted your DSA Needs Assessment interview.


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Payment

How are DSAs Paid?

The Specialist Equipment Allowance and Non-Medical Helper Allowance are paid directly to the provider by your Funding Provider. You will however have to pay for things like consumables, additional travel cost, photocopying yourself and then claim back those costs through the General Allowance.


Do I have to pay for anything?

You may need to pay for any tests or letters to prove that you qualify for DSA. However it may be possible to get financial help through your University or College. You should speak to your Disability Advisor about this.

You will have to pay for: consumables; additional travel costs; photocopying; additional non-core textbooks; and internet costs. However you may be able to claim back these costs through the general allowance. See Reimbursement.


Can I get reimbursement for Assistive Technology I have already bought?

It is possible to get reimbursement for Assistive Technology bought before your DSA Needs Assessment. However it will depend on when and why you purchased the Assistive Technology. You should contact your Needs Assessor about this.


Do I have to pay the Supplier?

No, this is paid directly by your Funding Provider.


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