The government has issued new regulations that could make it harder for disabled students to qualify for UC, by limiting an exception to the requirement not to be ‘receiving education’. You can read the new regulations in full on legislation.gov.uk.
Claimants who are ‘receiving education’ (referred to as ‘students’ in this section) are generally unable to qualify for UC, although there are exceptions. An exception currently applies to students who receive a disability benefit and have been found to have limited capability for work (LCW) or limited capability for work and work-related activity (LCWRA). These claimants are commonly referred to as disabled students.
This is more restrictive than the current exception, which requires disabled students whose course has already started to have had a determination of LCW or LCWRA before the date of their UC claim.
This change significantly limits the effectiveness of a common way around the requirement for disabled students to also have a determination of LCW or LCWRA. Before the change, disabled students could make a claim for national insurance credits on the basis of LCW, commonly referred to as a ‘credits-only claim’ for new-style ESA. If found to have LCW or LCWRA following a work capability assessment, (WCA), they could then claim UC under the exception. This change means that, for UC claims from 15 December, this approach will not help disabled students whose course has already started.
It may still be possible for certain disabled students in non-advanced education to argue they’re not ‘receiving education’ at all, and therefore don’t need to rely on the exception. That will depend on, among other things, their course and UC work-related requirements.