Change In Circumstances: Pandemic Unemployment Payment Discontinued or Rate reduced

Guide to requesting an assessment / re-assessment of your SUSI application under Change in Circumstances when you or a party to your application discontinue or receive a rate reduction in the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

 

The Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment is considered reckonable income under the Student Grant Scheme 2021. However SUSI applicants can request an assessment / re-assessment of their application under a provision called change in circumstances if they or any party to their application discontinue the payment or receive a rate reduction in the payment in 2021. This means that the application will be assessed / re-assessed on the estimated reckonable household income for 2021 based on current earnings being annualised instead of the actual reckonable household income for 2020.

The income of all parties to the application and not just the income of the person experiencing the change in circumstances will be assessed / re-assessed and documentary evidence of each person’s current income will be required for this purpose. For example, if you are classed as a dependent student for SUSI assessment purposes, your income and your parents’ / legal guardians’ income will be assessed / re-assessed.

Applicants who have already been awarded the maximum funding available (e.g. 100% rate of maintenance and 100% student contribution or tuition fees for undergraduate students) should not request a re-assessment of their application under change in circumstances, as it will not result in an improved rate of funding.

Applicants should only request an assessment / re-assessment of their application under change in circumstances if they have not been awarded the maximum funding available and if they believe that the estimated reckonable household income in 2021 based on current earnings being annualised is less than the actual reckonable household income in 2020.

To estimate the reckonable household income for 2021, SUSI annualises the income for the applicant and each party to the application. For example, if a person is demonstrated to earn €100 per month after experiencing the change in circumstance (e.g. after they discontinue the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment), this will be multiplied by 12 months and the total amount counted will be €1,200. The Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment and other 2021 income prior to the change in circumstances will not be counted in this calculation.

Applicants should note that as the income of all parties to an application must be assessed / re-assessed under change of circumstances, it can take number of weeks to receive a final outcome and further documentary evidence may be requested.

Below are some examples which show the impact of an assessment / re-assessment of a SUSI application under change of circumstances.

Example 1 – Deirdre

Deirdre starts second year of an undergraduate course in 2021/22. She is a dependent student which means her income and her parents’ income for 2020 is counted for grant assessment purposes. She meets all SUSI eligibility criteria.

In 2020, Deirdre received the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment and her income was €5,000, her father’s income was €15,000 and her mother’s income was €18,000. The total household income for 2020 is €38,000.

When assessed on the total household income for 2020, Deirdre is eligible for 100% rate of student maintenance and 100% student contribution.

In 2021, Deirdre received the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment up to September and will return to a part time job in October. Her estimated income from the part time job is €100 per month making her estimated income for 2021 €1,200 (€100 x 12=€1,200). Her father’s estimated income is €23,000 and her mother’s estimated income is €20,000. The total estimated household income for 2021 is €44,200.

If Deirdre requests a re-assessment of her SUSI application under change of circumstances, there will be no change to her funding.

Example 2 – John

John will begin a PLC course in 2021/22. He is an independent student which means that his 2020 income and that of his spouse is counted for grant assessment purposes. John meets all SUSI eligibility criteria.

In 2020, John received the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment and his income was €16,000. His spouse’s income was €25,000. The total household income for 2020 is €41,000.

When assessed on the total household income for 2020, John is eligible for the 50% rate of student maintenance.

In 2021, John received the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment up to September and will begin a part time job in mid September. His estimated income from the part time job is €400 per month making his projected income for 2021 €4,800 (€400×12=€4,800). His spouse’s estimated income in 2021 is €27,000. The total estimated household income for 2021 is €31,800.

When assessed on the total estimated household income for 2021, John is eligible for the 100% rate of student maintenance.

If John requests a re-assessment of his SUSI application under change of circumstances, he will receive a better rate of funding.

Example 3 – Maria

Maria is starting her final year of an undergraduate course in 2021/22. She is a mature dependent student which means her income and her parents’ income for 2020 is counted for grant assessment purposes. She meets all SUSI eligibility criteria.

In 2020, Maria earned €3,000 from a part time job. Her father received the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment and his income was €16,000. Maria’s mother’s income was €18,000. The total household income for 2020 is €34,000.

When assessed on the total household income for 2020, Maria is eligible for 100% rate of student maintenance and 100% student contribution.

If Maria requests a re-assessment of her SUSI application under change of circumstances, there will be no change to her funding as she is receiving the maximum funding available.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who should request an assessment / re-assessment of their application under change in circumstances following a reduction in or the discontinuation of the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment to students?

SUSI applicants can request an assessment / re-assessment of their application under change in circumstances if they or any party to their application discontinue or receive a rate reduction in their Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment in 2021. Applicants should make this request if they have not been awarded the maximum funding available and if they believe that their estimated reckonable household income in 2021 based on current earnings for all parties being annualised is less than their actual reckonable household income in 2020.

How do I request an assessment / re-assessment of my application under change in circumstances?

If you have made an application to SUSI, you can request a re-assessment of your application under change in circumstances by emailing support@susi.ie with the subject line Change in Circumstances.

If you have not yet made an application to SUSI, you can request an assessment under change of circumstance by answering ‘yes’ to question F16 on the SUSI application form.

If your claim for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment has been discontinued, please let us know if you’ve returned to work when requesting an assessment/reassessment. This will help us to process your application as quickly as possible.

I’ll receive my last Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment in September. Can I request an assessment/ re-assessment of my application under change in circumstances now?

You can only request an assessment / re-assessment of your application under change in circumstances once you or a party to your application experiences the change in circumstances (i.e. once the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment has been discontinued or reduced). You cannot make this request before you or a party to your application experiences the change in circumstances.

Will I be asked to send documents to support my application?

In most cases SUSI will request documentation relating to you or parties to your application as the information required may not yet be available through SUSI’s data sharing agreements with other government bodies such as the Revenue Commissioners.

If you would like more information, please contact our Support Team by phone, email or social media.