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Nursing students left £400 out of pocket after training grant wrongly classed as income

25 trainees in receipt of Universal Credit erroneously penalised by DWP

25 trainees in England in receipt of Universal Credit erroneously penalised by the Department for Work and Pensions

Nursing students in England were left more than 400 a month out of pocket in Universal Credit payments after their NHS training grant was incorrectly classed as income.

The annual training grants of 5,000 or 8,000 for disciplines such as learning disability and mental health, which struggle to attract applicants, are awarded to undergraduate students to cover their living costs.

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25 trainees in England in receipt of Universal Credit erroneously penalised by the Department for Work and Pensions

Nursing students in England were left more than £400 a month out of pocket in Universal Credit payments after their NHS training grant was incorrectly classed as income
Picture: iStock

Nursing students in England were left more than £400 a month out of pocket in Universal Credit payments after their NHS training grant was incorrectly classed as income.

The annual training grants of £5,000 or £8,000 for disciplines such as learning disability and mental health, which struggle to attract applicants, are awarded to undergraduate students to cover their living costs.

The RCN said that 25 nursing students in receipt of Universal Credit were penalised by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) because the training grants had been incorrectly classified as income. As a result, the students saw a reduction of up to £416 a month in their benefit.

Department for Work and Pensions staff now alerted to problem

The college raised its concerns with the DWP and the error has now been corrected and the money returned to the students. The RCN also asked for guidance to be sent to all DWP staff alerting them to the new NHS training grant, which started in September 2020.

Although there is no information on how widespread the problem has been, the DWP has offered assurances that staff have been alerted to make sure it does not happen again. DWP added that if anyone thinks they have been affected they should speak to their work coach, who is allocated to those claiming Universal Credit.

Are you eligible for Universal Credit?

You may be eligible if:

  • You are on a low income or out of work
  • You are 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you’re aged 16-17 years)
  • You are under state pension age (or your partner is)
  • You and your partner have £16,000 or less in savings between you
  • You live in the UK

Adapted from GOV.UK

Essential that nursing students receive full financial support available

Commenting on the DWP outcome, RCN senior welfare adviser Claire Cannings said: ‘This is a positive result and means all those that are eligible will no longer be left out of pocket.

‘With tens of thousands of nursing vacancies in the NHS, it is essential that nursing students receive the full financial support available to them.’


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