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
- Last reviewed 02 January 2023
Can full-time students claim Universal Credit?
If you are a student, you can only claim Universal Credit if:
- You are under 21, taking a course that leading to a qualification at the same level as or below A levels (such as Scottish Highers, National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) up to level 3) and you do not and cannot live with your parents; or
- You are responsible for a child; or
- You get Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Adult Disability Payment or Child Disability Payment and you have limited capability for work. (This can be complicated. Use our Find an Adviser tool to find a local adviser); or
- You are over 66; 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.
To be able to get Universal Credit, everyone has to agree to a claimant commitment.
You will not have to do anything under your claimant commitment if:
- You are claiming Universal Credit as a student under 21 doing a course that leads to qualification up to A level standard and you have no parental support.
- You are claiming Universal Credit as a student, and you receive student income such as a grant or a loan for maintenance.
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.
You will have to take some actions as part of your claimant if:
- You are claiming Universal Credit as a student who has taken time out from your course. You will have to talk to your work coach to find out.
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 to do, she won’t be able to get Universal Credit.
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. However, because his son is under one, Alec has no work related requirements, so he is able to claim Universal Credit.
There are lots of educational charities listed on our Grants Search that help students, depending on their background, circumstances and needs.
Reviewed: January 2023