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Thread: Doing a course while on JSA/ESA

  1. #1

    Doing a course while on JSA/ESA

    Apologies in advance if this post sounds a little self-pitying.
    I am 26 and currently claiming ESA for clinical depression and anxiety, and I have been in the support group for around three or four years now after two assessments, the second of which was last year, and my claim is being reviewed in September.
    I don't like to think about my future because it just makes my anxiety flare up and I have pretty much convinced myself that I am a failure, but I realize that I can't stay on benefits forever and I don't want to.
    Unfortunately my depression and anxiety are pretty severe (I have struggled for over six years now) to the point that I hardly ever go out and I have to really psych myself up to do things, and I feel that I can only do something if I am totally, 100% ready mentally, otherwise I tend to just shut myself down and isolate myself and not really care about the consequences. I have seen many self-paced, online courses which appeal more to me than going to college, as I am terrible at meeting new people and when I do I tend to do/say weird things which only heightens my anxiety as I believe people are talking about me and consider me a freak, and I am most concerned about people seeing my arm which has dozens of self-harm scars on it, in hot weather like we have now.
    My question is, if I am reassessed and put on JSA, will I still be able to do a course?
    I live with my mum (I know pathetic) and she has said I may have to get a student loan, which to be perfectly honest sounds more appealing than going on JSA and having to struggle with my depression while dealing with the robots at the DWP who know nothing about my conditions.
    Can you get student loans for online courses?

  2. #2
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    I'm afraid that you can't just look at student finance as an alternative to claiming benefit.

    Remember that student finance is a loan to help you get a degree level qualification, and that it is supposed to be paid back when you use that qualification to start working and earning above a certain amount.

    I'll be honest here, I think that at this stage you will be better off looking at free online courses to build your confidence.
    (Maybe even one that involves some limited classwork, meeting others on the same course and building your confidence of meeting people).

    Take a look at what adult courses are being offered at schools/colleges near you, you will find them on your council website, or the school/colleges own website.
    (Or Google 'Free courses +yourtownname').

    If you are feeling more adventurous then the Open University do a range of free online courses.
    http://www.open.edu/openlearn/free-courses
    Some of these award 'OU badges' that you can mention on your CV etc. to show potential employers or others that you sucessfully completed that course.


    OK, having said that here is some information about student finance-

    To get student finance you need to be studying with a "Recognised or Listed, Body". https://www.gov.uk/check-a-universit...ognised-bodies
    You also need to be doing a "qualifying course". https://www.gov.uk/student-finance/who-qualifies
    With a 'course intensity' of over 25%. https://www.gov.uk/student-finance/parttime-students

    Online courses (distance learning), eg The Open University, can qualify for student finance, BUT only the 'Tuition Fee Loan' is payable, not maintenance support.
    The TFL would be paid direct to the college/uni so you would not receive a penny yourself.

    There are slightly different rules if it's a full time course that you cannot attend physically due to disability, but that's a specialist area and would need specialist advice.



    Any course that you do could affect entitlement to benefits.
    Talk to the Jobcentre before starting any course.
    Last edited by nukecad; 06-11-2018 at 03:35 PM.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

    Migration from ESA to Universal Credit- Click here for information.

  3. #3
    Thanks for the advice. I know it's not an alternative to benefits, I didn't mean it sound like that. I'm just panicking I guess about losing my benefits due to my anxiety being quite bad atm, but I will definitely look at free courses.

  4. #4
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    TBH I'm also going to take a look at those OU courses later, might find something I fancy doing.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

    Migration from ESA to Universal Credit- Click here for information.

  5. #5
    Do you have to tell the Jobcentre before you do a free course, or is it just for others?

  6. #6
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    While you don't have totell them about small courses it's usually best to let them know, to avoid any possible future problems.

    It also lets them check that you would not be breaking any rules, doing too many hours, etc. and they could warn you if it would.

    (Also say someone maliciously reports you as working/studying while claiming a disability benefit? No problem, you've already covered yourself by telling them first).

    When you are on ESA, especially WRAG, they like to see that you are trying to learn something new, (something that might help you back to work?), rather than sitting around all day.
    It gives them something to put on your file to say you are doing something. (So they don't get pushed to push you).

    I've found that if you show a bit of gumption, eg. telling them you are learning something or doing something, then they tend leave you alone more.

    For instance I tell them that I give advice here and moderate another forum; so that has now been put down as my entire 'Work Related Activities' and they don't ask me to do anything else.
    When I've done the odd one-day course off my own bat I've also told them (and asked if they will pay anything towards it - Usually NO) and that gives me brownie points too.
    Last edited by nukecad; 06-11-2018 at 05:59 PM.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

    Migration from ESA to Universal Credit- Click here for information.

  7. #7
    Thanks for the advice, appreciate it.
    I'm just panicking and worried more than usual atm.

  8. #8
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    Try FUTURE LEARN.....its free, or minimal payment, has courses on many subjects, you get a certificate at the end, you do it at your own pace. I did one on employing a personal assistant and my partner and I are doing ones on Growing: From soil to sky......there are loads of courses available.

  9. #9
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    Hello grissom123

    Firstly may I say, living at home at 26 is in no way pathetic, many young people (even without health concerns) live at home for various reasons, cost of moving out, job location, to help family, they love it, to save, their washing being done lol.

    It sounds like you want to begin taking tentative steps to preparing yourself to aim to return to work. An online course as the others have suggested sounds a good small step, I wish you all the best with it.

    Please let us all know how you get on - as this could help help others in your position.

  10. #10
    Thanks Buble
    I would like to help other people in similar situations at some point and offer advice and support.
    As you say, right now I'm just focusing on small steps.

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