In a statement released this evening, Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) explains that the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) is considered reckonable income.
It notes that if applicants have had their payment discontinued or reduced, they can “request an assessment/reassessment of their application under a provision called ‘change in circumstances’.”
Applicants will see their application assessed on the estimated reckonable income for 2021 based on current earnings being annualised, rather than the actual reckonable household income for 2020.
This assessment/reassessment would also apply to all parties relevant to the application, not just the individual affected by the change of circumstance. This would see the income of the parent/guardian of a dependent student be presented for assessment, for example.
SUSI stresses that a reassessment should not be requested if a student has already received the maximum rate of payment, noting that a revaluation would only be needed 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.” The annualisation process calculates how much one would earn monthly following a change in circumstances and multiply it by twelve, giving an annual figure. It is stated that, with this process, “The Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment and other 2021 income prior to the change in circumstances will not be counted in this calculation.”
As SUSI must potentially take the income of multiple parties into account, it can take “a number of weeks to receive a final outcome and further documentary evidence may be requested.
There is a list of three different proposed scenarios in which the impact of the assessment/reassessment process on a SUSI application under change of circumstances will have.
This statement is available in full on susi.ie under change in circumstances.