Part time study post grad and carers


I receive carers allowance for my mum and have been offered the chance to do a PhD part time. I will receive a doctorate loan to do this. I’ve emailed the university to ask if they have something I can send to the DWP to say how many hours of study I’m expected to do but they’ve said that because it’s part time and postgrad they don’t have anything because there’s no requirement to attend apart from once every 6 weeks for a meeting with my supervisor. I want to do everything above board but I’m not sure what to send them if the university can’t provide anything

Any suggestions

Hi Kathrina.

Recommend bouncing that question off the DWP Carers UNIT to be 100% sure … after all , they are the ones who decide :

Contact the Carer's Allowance Unit - GOV.UK

The abhorrent 21 Hour Rule cropping up yet again ?

Not sure it’s even the 21 hours thing. I literally just have my enrolment that says I’m part time. Reading university say 15 hours but mine doesn’t anything

DWP Carers Unit ?

Unsure if that doctorate loan enters the equation.

I don’t think it does. My MA one didn’t and I think it’s a similar thing. Most of the loan goes on course fees and expenses so there is very little left after that.


I think you probably have all the information you need, the letter from the uni, that “there is no requirement to attend”…

Can I ask the subject of your Phd? I hope it goes well.

Remember that Social Services are supposed to support people who want to study or work, so think about having an updated Carers Assessment to see what they can offer you.
Also, if you want to work afterwards, and it would be a crying shame not to after all that work, think about updating your carees Needs Assessment.

Hi Kathrina,

There should be a pastoral team at the university who may be able to help with this, might be called Student services or similar.


Well that went well… not

I phoned carers allowance unit and they told me they’d have to suspend my payment until I send all the correct documents (they have a form for the uni to fill in apparently). I argued my case and they took my word that if I did have an overpayment that I would pay it back so I will still get paid this weekend but part of me wishes I hadn’t even bothered now.

Student services couldn’t give me an answer because it’s not a “taught” programme.

Have you contacted Disability Services at your Uni or not?

It all comes under Student Services. The reply I got was

"I do not believe that this is something that we are able to confirm for you; we do not have an attendance policy as such for Postgraduate students and so we would not know how many hours of attendance / personal study you would be expected to commit to. "

Quick update

The DWP sent me a form. Put the wrong details in the form (put my mums name as the student) so got them to send me another one

Supervisor has completed it with 17 hours in total (one hour supervision and 16 hours independent study).

Hopefully that will satisfy them.

I’ve cut down my self employed work to do this (my income from it was very minimal anyway).

Just need to sort my tax return out now

Glad you managed to sort it. Good luck with your studies.