Student Diaries: DSA - Disabled Students' Allowance
26th March 2007
What is DSA?
Will DSA help fund assistants to help me wash my hair or tidy my room?
Ouch says: although Direct Payment schemes can give you added flexibility with your Personal Assistant (PA) availability, the extra workload of setting it up, finding employees and managing payments may not be something you want to get into.
Is DSA 'means tested?'
So, what happens next?
Ouch says: Don't just turn up to your assessment with no knowledge of what's out there. Swot up on the equipment available and that you believe is the best thing out there for your personal needs. Know as much as they know, if not more. You are your own personal expert on you. Think big! Don't be shy. Remember your future is resting on how well you do at university, and your 'access' is a big part of that.
Why then does it seem to cause such distress to the the Ouch students?
Barbara Waters at SKILL says it's down to: "Efficiency of the LEA, coupled with fitting into an assessment timetable all within the short time-frame between exam results being released (mid-August) and the start of the new term at university (late September)".
In 2003, however, new working methods were introduced and, as Barbara tell us, "These mean that students are now able to have their assessments when their offers arrive in March. This should cut down on a lot of to-ing and fro-ing post exam results when you approach your local authority for a DSA funds agreement, because you'll already have your assessment in your hands and hence a greater likelihood that you will have your equipment and help in place by the time you turn up at your new university."
How many DSA claims are made?
Live community panel
Listen to our regular razor sharp talk show online, or subscribe to it as a podcast. Spread the word: it's where disability and reality almost collide.