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Carers thinking of taking a University Course

This is for any Carer thinking of taking a University course.

Like a lot of us our partner is classed as our Carer. Since I have had my shot at doing what I wanted, we thought it would be good for my wife to have a go at hers. When she was younger she went into the care industry ending up as a qualified nurse and hence missing out on the University thing. So we thought why not now ? Talking to the University there would only be 15 hours a week of lectures which would be ideal so she wouldn't be out that long.

All was going well until we discovered that the information on the government website is somewhat misleading and that even though other criteria is met the fact that you are in higher education, you are no longer entitled to Carers allowance. So that means you now lose £3,200 a year. Given the current mood of the Benefits Agency I cannot see that being reinstated after she finishes the course, so until retirement that means we will lose £38,400

To compound the issue, our Income support is dependent on being a Carer, so now we lose that as well and also the mortgage relief. Even though we contacted the Benefits Agencies at the start it seems we were mislead.

Whilst my wife does qualify for Student Finance, what we will lose will outweigh what she gets.

So if you are a Carer or your Carer is thinking of doing a course next year, better check how it will affect your benefits.

8 Replies

sospan what about the open university mate


Do you mean if a Carer took an OU course but stayed and studied at home ?

If it was full time the same would apply, if you study part time it is doesn't apply as long but it could be put in question if you they think you are going to spend more than 21 hours a week on doing the modules.


thats the beauty of study at the ou she could always say her studies were done when you were in bed


She has already finished her first year at Uni - only now sorting out the wreckage of the benefits changes


sorry to hear that mate. thought you were speaking hyperthetically


It is ok,

Thats why I posted so that others don't get mislead by the information out there.

Every so often there are articles in the press about the need for carers to have some respite and a life outside of caring. However, when you do something constructive you get penalised for it.


That's outrageous, Sospan. You and your wife acted in good faith based on the information you received. If someone with proper knowledge had explained how much you guys stood to lose in benefits and mortgage relief, you would have taken a very different course of action. Are you getting any help from the CAB? I think I'd be considering a trip to my local MP.


She has been to the Students Union financial advisors and also Carers UK and apparently these are the Governments rules.

Whilst it is pretty bad for us, can you imagine what it would be like for a youger carer someone 18 - 21? All their grant and loan money now having to be put back into the family budget rather than being spent on things that students spend their grant on.


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