Stage 1: Before you apply
Full-time undergraduate, Welsh students

Special Support

Special Support (SS) is for students who claim certain income-related benefits and is intended to help with costs such as books, course equipment and travel.

If you’re eligible for Special Support, the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) will disregard your grant entitlement up to a maximum amount of £5,161 when calculating any benefits you’re entitled to.

Your notification of entitlement letter will refer Special Support as Special Support Grant.

For free advice and information about welfare benefits and other services contact Citizens Advice Cymru.

If you started your course on or after 1 September 2018

You’ll receive an enhanced rate of Maintenance Loan which is awarded with the Maintenance Grant. How much you get depends on your household income and where you live and study.

Special Support may also be referred to as Special Support Payment.

These tables show an estimate of how much you could get based on your household income which includes Special Support:

2022 to 2023

Household income Living with your parents Living away from parental home and studying outside London Living away from parental home and studying in London
  Loan Grant Total Loan Grant Total Loan Grant Total
£18,370 or less £4,045 £6,885 £10,930 £4,855 £8,100 £12,955 £6,185 £10,124 £16,309
£25,000 £4,045 £5,930 £9,975 £4,855 £6,947 £11,802 £6,185 £8,643 £14,828
£35,000 £4,607 £4,488 £9,095 £5,502 £5,208 £10,710 £6,967 £6,408 £13,375
£45,000 £6,048 £3,047 £9,095 £7,241 £3,469 £10,710 £9,201 £4,174 £13,375
£59,200 or more £8,095 £1,000 £9,095 £9,710 £1,000 £10,710 £12,375 £1,000 £13,375

2021 to 2022

Household income Living with your parents Living away from parental home and studying outside London Living away from parental home and studying in London
  Loan Grant Total Loan Grant Total Loan Grant Total
£18,370 or less £3,895 £6,885 £10,780 £4,675 £8,100 £12,775 £5,965 £10,124 £16,089
£25,000 £3,895 £5,930 £9,825 £4,675 £6,947 £11,622 £5,965 £8,643 £14,608
£35,000 £4,302 £4,488 £8,790 £5,142 £5,208 £10,350 £6,522 £6,408 £12,930
£45,000 £5,748 £3,047 £8,790 £6,881 £3,469 £10,350 £8,756 £4,174 £12,930
£59,200 or more £7,790 £1,000 £8,790 £9,350 £1,000 £10,350 £11,930 £1,000 £12,930

The figures in the tables are for illustrative purposes only. You’ll receive a notification of entitlement letter which will confirm how much support you’re entitled to during the academic year.

You’ll need to let us know if your circumstances change during your course to ensure you’re receiving the support you are entitled to.

You have to pay your Maintenance Loan back, including interest once you’ve finished or left your course. Your grant does not need to be paid back.

If you’re aged 60 or older at the start of your course, you won’t be eligible for a Maintenance Loan.

If you started your course on or after 1 September 2012 but before 1 September 2018

The amount of funding you’re entitled to will not change if you’re awarded Special Support. Find out what’s available in the academic year 2022 to 2023 and 2021 to 2022. Up to £5,161 of your Welsh Government Learning Grant (WGLG) will be classified as Special Support.

Special Support may also be referred to as Special Support Grant.

If you’re aged 60 or older at the start of your course, you won’t be eligible for a Maintenance Loan.

Who qualifies

You may be eligible for Special Support if any of the following applies to you:

  • you’re a single parent or a single foster parent, with a child or young person aged under 20 who is in full-time education below higher education level
  • your partner is also a student and one or both of you are responsible for a child, or a young person under 20 who is in full-time education below higher education level
  • you have a disability and qualify for the Disability Premium or Severe Disability Premium
  • you’re deaf and qualify for Disabled Students' Allowance
  • you have been treated as incapable of work for at least 28 weeks
  • you have a disability and qualify for income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • you’re eligible for Housing Benefit
  • you’re eligible for Housing element of Universal Credit
  • you’re entitled to Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • you’re entitled to Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)
  • you’re entitled to Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • you’re waiting to go back to a course having taken agreed time out from that course due to an illness or caring responsibility that has now ended
  • you’re aged 60 or older

How to apply

You can apply online as part of your main student finance application.

If applying for Special Support after you’ve made your main student finance application, send us a cover letter advising you want to apply for Special Support and include the required evidence.

If you’re aged 60 or older at the start of your course, you’ll be assessed for Special Support and Maintenance Grant only as you’re not entitled to apply for a Maintenance Loan.

Sending us evidence

You need to provide evidence you’re in receipt of one of the benefits listed above. For example, a photocopy of your PIP award letter or Housing Benefit award letter.

You need to provide evidence each academic year of your course if you wish to apply for Special Support for each year of your course.

For more information on sending us evidence, check out our dedicated evidence guidance page.

Getting paid

We’ll pay your money into your bank account, usually 3 times a year at the start of each term.

For more information on getting paid, check out our dedicated payment guidance page.