Students with a diagnosed disability or long-term medical condition may be eligible for funded support through the Disabled Students' Allowance in addition to any agreed support to be provided by the University. DSA may help to pay for extra costs you may have when studying your course, as a direct result of your disability, mental-health condition or specific learning difficulty. The allowances can help with the cost of a non-medical helper, items of specialist equipment, travel and other general course-related costs.
To determine eligibility for DSA you will need to forward supporting evidence of your disability or learning difficulty. This evidence will also be used by your assessor when evaluating your needs. The more detailed the evidence the easier it will be to determine eligibility for DSA and for assessing your needs.
For 2022-23 academic year, the Education Authority (NI) state the following regarding Medical Evidence requirements:
You should meet the definition of a person with a disability under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on the ability to carry out normal day to day activities.
There can be difficulties when GPs and, in some cases, consultants do not provide enough information to qualify the student as suitable for funding. Please refer to section 3 of the Disability Evidence Form to assist with providing medical evidence to meet the needs for funding.
Letters of referral for tests/treatment to determine diagnosis, letters from service providers such as Inspire Student Counselling or letters from medical professionals detailing information provided by the student to them at the time of appointment will NOT be accepted.
Medical evidence required for disabilities and medical conditions
Medical Evidence is used by AccessAbility Advisers to make individual reasonable adjustment recommendations and arrange support, where required, for those with a disability or long-term condition.
An accurate report outlining your specific diagnosis from a suitably qualified health professional or specialist which gives information about your disability or long-term health condition, and the likely effect of that on your academic performance.
A completed DSA Disability Evidence Form will also be accepted.
Covid-19 update – students may find it difficult to get a GP appointment, so the above form could be completed digitally by a GP. An emailed form from your GP will be accepted.
We may consider medical evidence provided by a practitioner outside of the UK but this should always be accompanied by a certified/notarised translation. / Please note: If your original evidence is not in English, you must provide an official translation (stamped by an official translator).
Evidence required for specific learning difficulties
For students with dyslexia or dyscalculia, a written diagnostic report will be required from a Chartered or Practitioner Psychologist, or a specialist teacher holding a SpLD Assessment Practicing Certificate.
We may need an update of a previous diagnostic assessment to see what the likely effect of your specific learning difficulty will be on the skills you need for higher education. Student Wellbeing may be able to help you arrange an updated, or new, assessment. If you need a test to establish your eligibility for DSA, but cannot afford the fee, you can apply to your university or college for help in meeting the costs through the Student Support Fund; but must have your registration confirmed at the University.
For students with Dyspraxia, AD(H)D, Acquired Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Speech and Language Disorder, Auditory Processing Disorder or Tourette’s a completed Disability Evidence Form or a standard medical evidence letter from a GP will be acceptable.
If you already have evidence and are not sure if it is detailed enough please send it with your DSA application and the EA DSA Officer will advise if it is sufficient or if further evidence is required.
Please be advised that any costs involved in obtaining this evidence for determining eligibility for DSA cannot be met by the EA or the University nor be taken from your DSA funds.