The Non-Medical Helper Allowance may be used to pay for helpers, such as readers, lip-speakers, note-takers, campus specific mobility trainers and any non-medical helpers necessary if the student is to benefit fully from the course. The Education Authority (EA) must be satisfied that the Non-Medical Helper is needed because of the student's disability / learning difficulty.
Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs) will not generally be provided to meet the cost of cancelled support sessions if the cancellation is made with more than 24 hours’ notice.
There will be occasions where a student does not attend a booked support session and/or does not give more than 24 hours' notice of cancellation, for example, because they were ill or had a personal emergency or unforeseen circumstances. In these cases the student is engaging with their support provider and only cancelled at short notice, or did not attend, due to a reason outside of their control. When this occurs it is understood that the NMH provider has arranged for a Non-Medical Helper to attend the support session and so has incurred a cost for arranging the support. The cost of the first hour of these booked support sessions will be met from the student’s DSAs as it is understood that the student booked the session expecting to attend.
There may be occasions where a student does not attend a session and could have cancelled the session with more than 24 hours' notice. The cost of the first hour of such sessions may still be met through the student's DSAs where the NMH provider has incurred a cost for arranging the support and paying the support worker for those sessions (subject to the repeated missed session rule below).
However, in all scenarios, DSAs funding will not be provided for NMH provision that is repeatedly not being used once booked, or cancelled with less than 24 hours' notice, when they could have cancelled the support session with sufficient notice.
Repeatedly may be if more than two sessions have been missed per term. DSA funding will cease where students indicate that they no longer need or want NMH support or AT training.
- The EA has the discretion to stop/commence payment of further support as deemed necessary.
- It is essential that students are advised of the cancelled sessions policy at their first meeting with a Needs Assessor and also when drawing up a contract with their Support Provider/Non-Medical Helper.
- Justification for non-attendance, as accepted by the Disability Adviser must be provided for all cancelled sessions. If valid justification is provided the EA can pay the first hour of the cancelled session.
- If a student has further cancelled / missed sessions over and above the first two and provides no justification the EA will not pay for such session but will continue to fund other NMH support session the student attends.
- All missed sessions will be carefully considered by the EA before payment especially where more than two sessions have been missed per term, to ensure that all parties understand their responsibilities and that reasons for missed sessions are being investigated and documented. DSAs funding may be suspended.
- A student may be liable for the cost of future cancelled sessions where no justification is given, i.e. if they cancel more than two sessions per term in any Academic Year (AY) and where the EA and the Disability Adviser have determined that payment of further support should not continue.
- DSAs funding will not be provided where the institution is responsible for cancelling the session. The institution must take responsibility for notifying the student that the session is cancelled to enable the student to cancel the session with the NMH provider.
- DSAs will not generally be provided to meet the cost of cancelled support sessions if the cancellation is made with more than 24 hours’ notice.
- The EA will work in partnership with the Disability Adviser at the Higher Education Institution (HEI) to ensure that the circumstances relating to the cancelled sessions have been discussed with the student and attendance strategies are agreed for the future.
- Payment of support will be reinstated immediately on receipt of a completed cancelled sessions review form - available in the next section.
- Appeals should be made to the Student Finance Manager of the relevant EA Student Finance NI office and, if required, to the Student Finance Managers Group.
Cancelled Sessions Review Form
The Disability Advisor should fill out the following form for any non-attendance/cancelled NMH sessions, and send it to the DSA officer at the relevant Education Authority.