15 years of stammeringlaw 1999-2014
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Paying for fluency devices

For a stammer which affects work or study, an Access to Work or student grant may be available for an electronic fluency device, if this helps the individual.

Fluency devices

Both Access to Work grants (below) and Disabled Students' Allowance (below) are non-means tested allowances, so they are not dependent on your income. For people who stammer, their main interest is that they could pay for an electronic fluency device.

Electronic fluency devices help some people who stammer to speak more fluently. These devices play the person's speech back into their ear with a delay and/or at a different pitch, or play a noise into the ear to mask their speech. Examples marketed in the UK are SpeechEasy and VoiceAmp. Other firms sell devices from outside the UK. See BSA website: Electronic fluency devices on these devices, their effectiveness, and possible suppliers.

The grants on this page may also be available for other support, such as text-to-speech software. However, fluency devices seem to be their most common use in connection with stammering.

Access to Work grant

This is a grant towards extra employment costs that result from a person's disability. Access to Work grants have been given towards the cost of electronic fluency devices where they benefit the individual.

A stammer should very often quality as a 'disability' for the purpose of Access to Work grants, since the test is whether there is a 'disability' within Equality Act 2010. Access to Work also includes disabilities that are only apparent in the workplace.

The grant will meet 100% of approved costs where the claim is made within the first six weeks of starting employment. After than, the employer will need to meet a share of the cost. It is therefore important to claim as soon as possible.

The availability of the grant is a relevant factor towards an employer being required to provide a device as a reasonable adjustment under the Equality Act 2010.

The Access to Work scheme does not apply in central government departments, but disabled staff there are still supposed to get the same support.

The BSA website: Electronic Fluency Devices: Access to Work has information on Access to Work for fluency devices. General information on Access to Work is at:

Disabled students' allowances

Aimed at students going into higher education, or already in it, again the main interest of these allowances for people who stammer is that they could pay for an electronic fluency device, if required. Allowances have been granted to fund VoiceAmp or Speecheasy devices - an example is at 'Student allowance granted for fluency device' on BSA website.

The allowance may include premiums to insure the equipment. Before 2015 the allowance could also pay for a computer to calibrate the device; however students applying for an allowance the first time in 2015 or later no longer get funding for, entry-level computers.

A stammer should very often quality as a 'disability' for these purposes, since the test is whether there is a 'disability' within Equality Act 2010. Study is treated as a normal day-to-day activity. The grant is for the purpose of assisting with additional expenditure which the student is obliged to incur in connection with his or her attendance on or undertaking of the course by reason of the disability (regulation 40A of SI 2011/1986 as amended).

For more information on Disabled Students' Allowances:
The disability officer at your university should be able to help, and the supplier of the device may be able to. Official guidance and forms depend on where you normally live:

For help and advice, see Sources of help and advice: Education.

More detailed links on DSA

Guidance for claimants is at the links above. The links below are for those after detailed guidance aimed at higher education practitioners, and legal background:

England

Changes for new students in 2015/16 (in England) are set out at www.practitioners.slc.co.uk/media/893396/1516_policy_changes_-_fact_sheet_v1_-_external.pdf. Also there is a July 2015 consultation on future changes www.gov.uk/government/consultations/disabled-students-in-higher-education-funding-proposals. Updates on developments: http://dsas-observatory.org.uk

Wales

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Last updated 26th July, 2015