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Carers Allowance VS University - Carers UK Forum

Carers Allowance VS University

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Hello there.

I am 26 years old, me and my wife go to university (the reason it's so "late" is because she's not been well enough to go before 'recently'). She suffers from what can only be called "generalised anxiety disorder" for which she is in receipt of DLA with the care component.

Before I go any further, she can go to university BECAUSE the university are fantastic and they have provided tons of support for her, anything she needed they provided AND I am only ever 5 mins away should something happen. So I urge you not to judge, not to think "it can't be that bad if she goes to uni" because believe me it can be and it is.

Now, we are both just going into our third year and throughout the summer holiday last year (for those who do not know, the summer vacation at uni is typically between May to October) and throughout this last year I received Carers Allowance because I... care for her...

Anyway, this year they have JUST TODAY made a decision that I am NOT entitled to CA because "I am in full time education". I phoned them and said that I was on holiday however this does not count! because the university class it as "full time" even if I'm not there for 5 bloody months.

Now, I understand why they won't give me CA while I'm actively at uni, because ultimately while I am "on call" the staff look after her and they do a very good job, so that is fine, but I'm on holiday now.

Student finance only covers you in term time, according to the government (and I actually received a letter way back when we started stating this, which I don't have because I bloody sent it to em last year ) you are "supposed" to find a job during the vacation. I have a bloody job!

So, excuse the ranting nature of this post (although you've gotta admit, it's a legitimate rant) but anybody got any idea what I should do now?
I can`t really help, but would have thought the bursars office at uni could help you sort this out.

Hope you find the answers, and good luck to you both with your further education.xx
Hi Murphy, I'm sorry I don't have any answers either. I think Poppett's advice is good or perhaps try the carer's UK helpline.

Hope you both have a lovely break and enjoy your studies in the autumn.

Melly1
It is quite likely that your university has some sort of charitable or hardship fund. When I did my degree 20 years ago, I could only do it part time, because I was also caring for my son with SLD. If I could study full time I would have had a full grant (those were the days!) but as a part time student I got nothing, apart from £100 for books. Even in those days, it didn't go far. All the rules seem to be geared up for 18 year olds. Alternatively, see if you can find a guide to charities nationwide, I think it might have been called a Charity Handbook (someone else may know more). It details every single charity in the country, in my area there were some really obscure ones I'd never even heard of, although I've lived in the same area for 60 years. There are cross references - if all else fails the Charity Commission should be able to tell you what the book is called. I found funding for someone I was dealing with who had been turned down from all the usual funding sources. Good luck with your studies.
Rant away... the rules are tough on students. I was originally rejected for CA, but I sent a letter from my course leader explaining my actual workload, which was pretty small. I'd suggest phoning the CA unit to ask how many hours a week they consider to be "full time" (I think it's 15+), in case there's a way to appeal. Another option could be to try to officially switch to part-time before the new academic year, but it seems crazy that you should have to do that simply to ensure you have something to live on as a carer.

Good luck Image
The rules have become more strict lately. The 21 hour rule still applies, unless your course is deemed by the college or university to be "full time" - and then, even if it's only 5 hours, tough. It's treated as full time and therefore no Carers Allowance.
Hello there.

I am 26 years old, me and my wife go to university (the reason it's so "late" is because she's not been well enough to go before 'recently'). She suffers from what can only be called "generalised anxiety disorder" for which she is in receipt of DLA with the care component.

Before I go any further, she can go to university BECAUSE the university are fantastic and they have provided tons of support for her, anything she needed they provided AND I am only ever 5 mins away should something happen. So I urge you not to judge, not to think "it can't be that bad if she goes to uni" because believe me it can be and it is.

Now, we are both just going into our third year and throughout the summer holiday last year (for those who do not know, the summer vacation at uni is typically between May to October) and throughout this last year I received Carers Allowance because I... care for her...

Anyway, this year they have JUST TODAY made a decision that I am NOT entitled to CA because "I am in full time education". I phoned them and said that I was on holiday however this does not count! because the university class it as "full time" even if I'm not there for 5 bloody months.

Now, I understand why they won't give me CA while I'm actively at uni, because ultimately while I am "on call" the staff look after her and they do a very good job, so that is fine, but I'm on holiday now.

Student finance only covers you in term time, according to the government (and I actually received a letter way back when we started stating this, which I don't have because I bloody sent it to em last year ) you are "supposed" to find a job during the vacation. I have a bloody job!

So, excuse the ranting nature of this post (although you've gotta admit, it's a legitimate rant) but anybody got any idea what I should do now?


I was in the exact same predicament when I was doing my "Full-time" (11 hrs out of the house) undergraduate degree from 2007-2010.

Sadly there is nothing you can do about it. I went to a tribunal and went through my timetable, hours spent in uni, hours spent at home and they still didn't believe that my course wasn't full time.

The alternative is to apply for extra support from uni. I managed to get some grants from the university. It helped, it wasn't enough but enough to keep me off the streets.
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