Disabled Students

Financial support for disabled students


Students don't normally have access to benefits but there are some exceptions if you have disabilities.


If you would like to know more about any of these benefits and/or how to claim you contact ASK or visit the links to other specialist organisations.


Personal Independence Payment (PIP)


Personal Independence Payment is for people with a long-term health condition or disability.  It is replacing Disability Living Allowance – if you are claiming DLA you will be contacted within the next few years about switching to PIP.


PIP is intended to help you with the extra costs of living with your condition but you can spend the money however you like.


After you make a claim you will be sent a ‘How your disability affects you’ form.  These forms are long and complicated so please make an appointment with us for help filling it in.


After you submit your claim you will be asked to attend an assessment.


For more information about PIP you can visit:



Citizens Advice

Disability Rights UK




Universal Credit with elements for illness


You might also be able to claim Universal Credit with elements for illness or disability (which replaced Employment and Support Allowance) if you're getting DLA or PIP. However, in order to claim you must have had a Work Capability Assessment and students are not eligible to be assessed; this means you will need to have already had a WCA before the start of your course. Welfare advisers had been using a loophole to help students start a claim during their course but as of December 2021 this loophole will be closed (subject to any successful court challenges).


Alternatively, some students can also claim new style Employment and Support Allowance if they have enough National Insurance contributions from previous work. 


Universal Credit with housing element


If you're eligible for Universal Credit you may also get the housing element to help you with rent. This can be paid if you live in university accommodation or rent from a private landlord.


For more information about Universal Credit you can visit:


Gov.uk (with more specific student information here)

Citizens Advice

Disability Rights UK

Turn2us (with more specific student information here)


Disabled Students' Allowance

This Student Finance grant is for students with a disability, long-term health condition, mental health condition, or a learning difficulty such as dyslexia.  This condition must affect your ability to study and the amount you can get will depend on your individual needs.


You can get this allowance on top of other student finance and you don’t need to pay it back.  You will need to send a DSA1 form to Student Finance England.


This grant is available for both undergraduates and postgraduates though postgraduates are not entitled to as much money.  It is also available for part-time students – the amount you can get depends on how spread out your part-time course is.


For more information about DSA you can visit the Gov.uk website and watch this Student Finance video:



If you need financial support for areas not covered by any of these sources you could try applying to a charity.  Disability Rights has a fact sheet which includes information about certain charities and who they assist. We also have a Charities page that includes links to grant searches.

Support at Keele

The university has a unit dedicated to supporting those with disabilities and making sure they have access to special equipment to suit their needs.  This includes:


  • A voice-activated computer
  • A note taker
  • A study buddy to help you plan how to manage your workload
  • Sign language interpreters
  • A recorder for lectures
  • ;Documents printed with larger fonts or coloured paper
  • A specially designed chair and desk
  • Transport arrangements
  • Extra time to complete assessments

You can visit Disability Support and Inclusion in the Tawney Building and information about their service is available on the University's website.

More Information

Citizens Advice provides information and advice about benefits.


Disability Rights UK provides help to people with disabilities and information on what support might be available and how to enforce your rights.