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Full time students and benefits - Can full-time students claim Universal Credit?

Find out more about the definition of a full-time student for benefit purposes and whether you can claim any benefits or tax credits

Can full-time students claim Universal Credit?

If you are a student, you can only claim Universal Credit if:

  • You are under 21, doing a course that will lead to a qualification at the same level as or below A levels (such as Scottish Highers, NVQ up to level 3), and do not and cannot live with your parents; or
  • You are responsible for a child; or
  • You get Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and you have limited capability for work. (This can be complicated – find an adviser); or
  • You are over Pension Credit age; or
  • You live with a partner who can claim Universal Credit; or
  • You have taken time out from your course for illness or caring responsibilities, are now recovered/your caring responsibilities have ended, and you are waiting to go back to your course.

Claimant commitment

To be able to get Universal Credit, everyone has to agree to a Claimant Commitment.

If you are claiming Universal Credit as a student who has taken time out from your course, you will probably be expected to take some actions as part of your claimant commitment. You will have to talk with your work coach to find out what you will need to do.

If you are claiming Universal Credit as a student under 21 doing a course that leads to qualifications up to A level standard, you will not have to do anything under your claimant commitment.

If you are claiming Universal Credit as a student and you receive student income such as a grant or loan, you will not have to do anything under your claimant commitment.

Even if you don’t fall into either of these two groups, you might not have to do anything under the normal rules on claimant commitments.

Examples

Marta

Marta is a single mother to a 10 year old. Marta is doing a full time degree-level course, but could not get a maintenance loan because this is her second degree. Marta will be expected to agree to a full claimant commitment, and if her course means this is impossible she won’t be able to get Universal Credit.

Alec

Alec is a single father to a six-month old. He is also doing a full time degree-level course and also didn’t qualify for a maintenance loan, but because his son is under one Alec has no work related requirements so is able to claim Universal Credit.

Updated: April 2019

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