Assessing your needs

An integral part of applying for disability support funding, such as Disabled Students' Allowances, is having your needs assessed at a registered assessment centre.

An assessment can determine how your disability affects your study, how you already cope and what disability support would be appropriate for you.

How to find an assessment centre

The easiest way to locate a conveniently-located assessment centre is by using the postcode search function on the Disabled Students Allowances Quality Assurance Group (DSA-QAG) website.

The Leeds Assessment Centre is based on campus, and is located in the Chemistry West Block building. 

What the needs assessment involves

  • The needs assessment is an informal meeting between you and an assessor, which takes about two hours. It’s called an "assessment" but you won’t have to take any tests.
  • The needs assessment is a supportive meeting and an opportunity for you to share how your disability affects you and how it may impact on your studies.
  • The needs assessor will recommend a package of specialist support, strategies, equipment and assistive technology to help you on your course and ensure you have equal access to it.

Paying for your needs assessment

You probably won't have to pay for your needs assessment as it will be paid for by your funding body. Contact the Disability team if you have any questions.

Needs assessment report

Following your needs assessment your assessor will write a needs assessment report that will contain:

  • details of how your disability affects your studies
  • all the recommended support, strategies, equipment and assistive technology for you and why they are suitable for you
  • the cost of each recommendation
  • where to get each item or support from
  • recommended equipment warranties lasting until at least the end of your course in case an item develops a fault
  • recommended funding for insuring each item of equipment in case it's damaged or stolen
  • any training you may need for using the recommended support and equipment.

The assessor can also make recommendations to the University of Leeds and to your academic department on how best they can support you.

A copy of the report is sent to you, your funding body and (with your permission) to the University within 10 working days of your assessment. This is so that all the people involved with helping to put in place the recommended support have a copy of the report. After processing your report, your funding body will get in touch to confirm which recommendations they agree to fund, and what to do next about ordering equipment and arranging any one-to-one support. 

Funding body approval

Once you've received confirmation from your funding body that they accept your needs assessment report, you can order your equipment from the recommended suppliers and book your one-to-one support. It's advisable to wait for your funding body's confirmation because they don't have to refund the cost of any purchase you have made before they gave you their approval.

If your funding body isn't willing to fund something in your report, contact the centre that carried out your needs assessment.

Getting your recommended equipment and support

If you're funded by Student Finance England, NHS or equivalent funding body (Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland) you'll need to wait for a letter or email from them. The letter will tell you how:

  • to order your equipment and which supplier to use
  • much non-medical helper support you have and who the provider will be
  • to arrange reimbursement for any other costs covered by the general allowances such as printer ink and paper.

If you're funded by a Research Council then once you've received your needs assessment report, your disability coordinator will contact you to discuss ordering equipment in collaboration with your school. For other elements of support, contact the recommended supplier in the needs assessment report.

Equipment

  • When you've received funding approval, contact the equipment suppliers indicated in your funding body’s approval letter. You'll need to give the supplier:
    • a copy of your funding approval letter 
    • your quote number for the item from your needs assessment report or funding approval letter.
  • Arrange delivery once the supplier has received you funding body approval copy letter.
  • The supplier will deliver, set up and provide recommended equipment familiarisation.
  • Arrange any recommended equipment training.
  • If your funding body is the NHS, they will pay you directly for the cost of the equipment, and will then require you to send them proof of purchase.

Support

  1. When you've received funding approval, contact the recommended supplier stated in your funding approval letter. (The supplier’s contact details will be in your needs assessment report.)
  2. The suppliers of each service or support provision will guide you through what to do next. You may be asked to provide a copy of your funding approval letter.

General items, travel and recommended equipment insurance

Ensure you get and keep receipts and other proof of purchase for general items, travel and recommended equipment insurance from your needs assessment report. Send these to your funding body with an explanation as to what they are for and they will reimburse you.