The rules surrounding welfare benefit entitlement and students
can be complex and whilst we have provided some general advice
below we would always recommend seeking advice.
Most full-time higher education students are
not entitled to income-related benefits. There are
however some groups where there are exceptions. You may be
able to claim an income-related benefit if you fall
within the follwoing groups:
- lone parent
- have a partner who is also a student - and one or both of you
are responsible for a child
- have a disability,
And there are certain other groups who may be eligible -
for example, people who have been treated as incapable of work for
a continuous period of at least 28 weeks.
If you have a partner who is not a student and
they’re eligible for any income-related benefits, your partner can
claim on behalf of you both. Please be aware however that in
this situation your student loan would be counted as an income and
could have an impact on their benefit entitlement, this is the case
if you are entitled to a student loan payment, you do not need to
be receiving the loan.
Part-time students in higher education can apply for
income-related benefits if they’re on a low income and meet the
relevant conditions. They don’t have to fall within one of the
particular groups listed above.
Which income-related benefits might you be able to claim?
If you fall into one of the groups described
above, whether you can get income-related benefits will depend on
your personal circumstances - including your income and how much
you have in savings.
Income-related benefits you may be able to
- Income Support
- Housing Benefit or Local Housing Allowance
- Council Tax Benefit
If you’re studying full time, you may be able
to claim Jobseeker's Allowance during the summer holiday if:
- you're a lone parent
- you have a partner who is also a full-time student, and one or
both of you is responsible for a child or young person, and
- you’re available for and actively seeking work
You may also be able to claim if you’re
waiting to go back to a course, having taken approved time out for
a period of up to one year because of an illness or caring
responsibility that has now come to an end.
If you’re studying part-time, you may be able
to claim Jobseeker's Allowance if you are:
- out of work or working less than 16 hours a week on
- capable of working
- available for work
- actively seeking work
- below retirement age
Normally, you must also be aged 18 or over.
You must be willing to go to a job interview, even if you have to
take time off from your course. You should also be prepared to
rearrange your hours of study to fit around a job.
Employment and Support Allowance
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) is
a source of support for people with an illness or disability
that affects their ability to work. If you already claim one of
these benefits, you may be able to carry on getting it as a
If you are eligible for benefits, Jobcentre
Plus will take account of any income you receive through loans (and
some grants) under the main student support arrangements.
If you are eligible for a loan, Jobcentre
Plus will take account of the money available to you
whether or not you take it out. If your partner is
eligible for benefits, Jobcentre Plus will take account of your
student income in the same way when they work out his or her
benefits. They do not take account of support towards your tuition
fees. The Childcare Grant and Parents' Learning Allowance are not
taken into account for benefit purposes. Payments from the Access
to Learning Fund that are not intended for general living costs
should also be ignored for benefit purposes.
Students with children are entitled to claim
Child Tax Credit. Student loans and grants to meet the costs of
tuition fees, childcare and other course-related costs are not
treated as income in new claims for tax credits. However, the Adult
Dependants' Grant will be taken into account as income.
To qualify for Working Tax Credit you must be
in paid work so, in general, students will not be able to claim
this credit unless they are responsible for looking after a child
or young person or are disabled and are doing at
least 16 hours a week of paid work. Mature students who are working
in a paid job for more than 30 hours a week may also be
The government are currently in the process of introducing a
raft of changes to the welfare benefits system. The changes
include combining all income related benefits into one benefit
called Universal Credit.
Universal credit is being rolled out in stages across the
country, this has started with claims in certain parts of Greater
Manchester being accepted. The timetable for the roll out of
the benefit for the Yorkshire area has yet to be
confirmed. The first area in Yorkshire due to accept
claimants is Harrogate and it is hoped it will be able to
offer universal credit by 2014. York has yet to be
issued a provisional date for roll out.