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kevin
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Joined: 09/03/2009
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anonymous (not verified)
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I'm currently a full time student nurse, I recieve a bursery and work 16 hrs per week. I was diagnoised with Hiv almost a year ago. I am now finding it difficult to concentrate and constantly tired and have been advised by my consultant to finish my 16hr job, as its putting too much strain on my body. I have a partner, who is also a full time student (student loan) and works 25 hrs a week. Would I be able to claim any benefits or support if I were to stop working and concentrate on my nursing degree. I do not claim anything at the moment and unable to find any information.

Many thanks S (Wales)

John
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Joined: 09/03/2008

Thank you for your comment we always appreciate them. Though I am sorry to read about your situation.

Like most things in life there are several options. The work you undertake may have relevance to how you decide to progress as it depends on if it is part of the degree you are undertaking or unrelated work to further supplement your bursary.

You would be covered because of your HIV by the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) and Equality Acts.  As you are both a student and are working it maybe worthwhile reading the sections on the Equality and Human Rights Commission about your rights in both work and education - click here.<

As you have HIV you may be entitled to  Disability Living Allowance. This is paid on the basis of care and mobility needs and paid at three levels low, medium and high for both care & mobility. Any claim is supported by medical evidence though the decision is not based on the medical condition you have.

The direct.gov.uk website has information on Help for the Disabled< and the Disability Living Allowance<.

The care and mobility considerations the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will use with respect to your HIV i.e. the criteria can be found by clicking here<. If you have any other medical conditions you can search the index< for further information.

You will need the assistance of your medical doctors. I would advise you speak to your consultant. If you wish to proceed with an application please email me john@tcell.org.uk< for more detailed advice.

Disability Living Allowance is awarded on the basis that it is about the needs aforementioned. Your income, savings, work or study have no bearing on the decision process.

However other benefits may not be an option for you. Again, direct.gov.uk has information for Benefits for Higher Education Students< note the section "Who may be able to claim income-related benefits as a student?", bursaries are covered here< , I<ncome Support is covered here< and you will know if the criteria applies.

If in doubt ring Jobcentre Plus and/or your student advisor (if you are an RCN student its Tamara Morgan for Wales<) or student union should also be able to advise you more specifically on the situation for students.

If you are advised and meet the criteria for further benefit entitlement. You will undergo the Employment and Support Allowance< process. Part of this is a Work Capability Assessment. This process involves a DWP medial practioner assessing your abilities. You would also submit medical evidence. Once the process is complete you will be placed in either the Support group (this replaces Incapacity Benefit) or a Work group for which you are likely to recieve Jobseekers Allowance. The main difference is that the group you are placed in determines the compulsion for you to engage in work related activity or not. This is a general overview it is more detailed.

If you are successful you may be entitled to help with housing benefit and council tax.

As far as you partner is concerned. If they live with you. It is likely that the DWP will want to understand there financial situation. This may have a bearing (it usually does) on any benefit or benefit amount you may be entitled to, excluding Disability Living Allowance. If your partner were also HIV+ this may also have a bearing on the situation.

You may consider approaching your employer and asking for changes to your job to allow you to maintain your 16 hours, by requesting "reasonable adjustments".

I have tried to give you as full an answer as I can. 

There is much to read but take the time to work you way through the linked information don't be daunted.

We are not trained welfare advisors and the Citizens Advice Bureau is a good resource to use.

Feel free to email me< or further comment if you have any questions, queries or require assistance and we will help where we can.

We wish you well and hope your health improves.

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