Benefits & Tax Credits
Most full-time students can’t claim income-related benefits, but certain groups of full-time students and part-time students are sometimes eligible. However, the rules on eligibility can be complicated, and whether you can get income-related benefits will depend on your personal circumstances. Even if you belong to a group which is eligible for income-related benefits, this doesn’t necessarily mean you'll get them - your student finance income may be too high. The benefits system will be changing from October 2013. From this date, Universal Credit will be gradually rolled out and will replace many existing benefits. Please contact a Welfare Adviser at the Student Advice Centre for more information.
Even if you are a full-time student, you may qualify for income-related benefits if you are in one of the following groups:
• You are a lone parent
• You have a partner who is also a student and you are both responsible for a child
• You have a disability
If you have a partner who is not a full-time student, they may be able to claim income-related benefits on behalf of you both.
If you are in one of these groups, you may be able to claim Income Support, Housing Benefit (or Local Housing Allowance) and Council Tax Benefit (if liable).
If you are a full-time student, you may be able to claim Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) during the summer holiday if:
• You are 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 JSA if you are waiting to go back to your course, having taken approved time out for a period of up to one year because of an illness or caring responsibility that has now ended.
Part-time students may also be able to apply for income-related benefits if you are on a low income and meet the relevant conditions. You don’t have to fall within one of the particular groups listed above.
If you are a part-time student, you may be able to claim Income Support, Housing Benefit (or Local Housing Allowance) and Council Tax Benefit.
If you are a part-time student, you may be able to claim Jobseeker's Allowance if you are out of work or working less than 16 hours a week on average, capable of working, available for work and actively seeking work. 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.
You may be able to claim Child Tax Credit if you are a student and are responsible for a child. Higher rates are available if you have more than one child and/or your child is disabled.
If you're working as well as being either a full-time or part-time student, you may be able to get Working Tax Credit (WTC). WTC includes a specific element to support the cost of registered childcare for working parents, but you don’t have to have children to claim.
Benefits for Disabled Students
You may be able to claim Disability Living Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance and/or Incapacity Benefit if you have a long-term illness or disability. If you already claim one of these benefits, you may be able to carry on receiving it as a student.
From June 2013 Personal Independence Payment will replace Disability Living Allowance for all new claimants. For more information on these changes or for more information and advice on welfare benefits and tax credits, please speak to one of the Welfare Advisers in the Student Advice Centre.
Directgov – information on benefits for higher education students on low incomes:
NUS – information on students and social security benefits:
Disability Alliance – benefits information for disabled students: