What different types of benefits are available?
There are many different types of benefits. Some are means-tested and are awarded because of household income and savings. Others are awarded because of personal circumstances or specific needs.
Universal UC) is a payment to help with living costs. It is designed to support low-income households, regardless of whether you are in or out of work.
Most full-time students cannot apply for Universal Credit, but there are some exceptions. Please read I am a full-time student. Can I claim benefits? for more information.
Money & Housing Advice team can provide further advice on Universal Credit (UC), including how much eligible students should receive. This will be based on individual circumstances and any student income.
Further information is also available from the GOV UK: Universal Credit webpage.
Important to know: Making a claim for Universal Credit will end some existing welfare benefit claims, so please seek advice before claiming if you already receive other benefits.
Personal Independence PIP) is a benefit for people who have long-term health issues or disabilities which affect their mobility and/or their ability to manage daily living activities such as preparing food, washing and dressing.
Full-time and part-time students can claim PIP. PIP is not means tested and therefore other income/savings will not affect your entitlement to PIP benefits.
The can Money & Housing Advice team offer further advice on PIP and can offer support with all aspects of the claims process. For more information on PIP, please visit the GOV UK: Personal Independence Payment webpage.
Carers Allowance (CA) is a benefit for people who are giving regular and substantial care to someone who is in receipt of a disability benefit.
If you are a part-time student, studying 21 hours or less per week, then you may be able to claim CA benefits. You can find more information on CA by visiting the GOV UK: Carer’s Allowance webpage.
Other means-tested benefits
There are other means-tested benefits which students may be eligible to receive, such as Child Tax Credit and Housing Benefit. It is not currently possible to make a new claim for these benefits.
If you have an existing claim and would like information or advice on your eligibility or entitlement as a student, please contact the Money & Housing Advice team.
Most full-time students, including those who are interrupting their studies, won’t be eligible to apply for means-tested welfare benefits such as Universal Credit. However, there are some exceptions.
Full-time students may be able to claim if they:
- Have dependent children
- Are disabled, were assessed as having limited capability for work before starting their course and are in receipt of a qualifying disability benefit
- Have a non-student partner
- Have a student partner who is eligible to claim Universal Credit
- Have taken time out from their course because of illness and have now recovered and are not eligible for a student loan while waiting to rejoin the course
- Have taken time out from their course because of caring responsibilities which have now ended and are not eligible for a student loan while waiting to rejoin the course
Important to in all cases, you are still required to meet the usual benefit eligibility criteria. If any of the above conditions apply to you, please contact the Money & Housing Advice Team for more information on making a claim.
I am a part-time student. Can I claim benefits?
- Parts of your Maintenance loan, or postgraduate loan for PG students, count as income and will reduce the of means-tested benefits that you are entitled to during term time. Benefit awards are reassessed for the summer vacation period.
- Some students do not apply for their maintenance loan as they think it will affect their benefits. However, your benefits will be calculated as though you have claimed all the available funding, whether you have claimed this or not.
I have a disability or long-term illness. Can I claim disability benefits?
If you meet the disability and general entitlement criteria, you can claim Personal Independence Payment(PIP), whether you are in full-time or part-time education. This is assessed on how well you can complete certain tasks, such as preparing food, washing and bathing and planning and following journeys.
For more information on disability benefits and their criteria, please visit the GOV UK: Personal Independence Payment webpage. You can also read our article: What funding support is available for disabled students?
When do I need to apply?
It is important that you claim PIP straight away if you think you are entitled, as there are no provisions for backdating. Call the claim line on 0800 917 2222. Your PIP application form will be date stamped on the day that you call.
I'm having time off my studies. Can I still apply for benefits?
Will my immigration status affect my ability to claim?
Many welfare benefits cannot be claimed by people who are subject to immigration conditions.
- If you are in the UK on a student visa or have any other type of limited leave to remain in the UK, claiming welfare benefits could be a breach of your immigration conditions.
- If your immigration status includes ‘no recourse to public funds’ as a condition, you can’t claim most welfare benefits, though there are some exceptions.
- If you are an EU student, with a status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), please seek further advice on whether you are eligible to apply for benefits.
Important to know: You should always seek advice before making any claims. Please speak to our team of Specialist International Advisers who can offer support and guidance to all international students.
For information on alternative funding opportunities, read our article I'm an international student, what financial support can I access.
I'm a student with a partner, does that change things?
Navigating welfare benefits can be complex, and this article is meant as a general overview only. If you would like further clarification or advice, please contact Money and Housing Advice Team. Alternatively, you can contact an external advice agency. Local agencies can be found on Advicelocal: Your local guide to help with benefits, work, money, housing.