The government provides welfare assistance in the form of benefits and tax credits to help with a variety of living costs. Our webpages provides some basic information on claiming benefits whilst studying. But we know that this topic can be tricky to navigate. And so, if you are just about to start your studies, have just completed your studies or are in any other circumstance and have any questions about claiming benefits, our advisers are here to help.


Special rules limit full-time students’ ability to claim most benefits. However, important exceptions apply for students with a disability, students with children and students living with a non-student partner. The tabs below provide further information on these as well as providing further information on claiming benefits after you have completed your studies and on when students can and cannot claim benefits during an interruption of studies.


Being in full-time education does not, in and of itself, affect ability to claim working tax credit and child tax credit. If you are already claiming either child tax credit or working tax credit, please read the information about Univeral Credit below.


Part-time study will not in and of itself, prevent you from claiming benefits. However, part time study can impact your income and your perceived availability for work and this, in turn, can affect eligibility to claim benefits. Click on the part-time students tab below for more information. 


Students on a tier 4 visa, or who are otherwise subject to immigration control are, in most cases, not eligible to claim any benefits. But if you are experiencing financial difficulty or would just like to ensure that you are aware of the full range of financial support available to you, please get in touch with a member of our welfare advice team.


EU citizens need to meet special residence rules to claim benefits and/or tax credits in the UK. Contact a member of our advice team for further information. 


Important Information about Universal Credit


In 2013, the UK government introduced a new benefit known as ‘Universal Credit’. This benefit aims to replace a range of benefits, namely working tax credit, child tax credit, housing benefit, income support, income-related employment support allowance and income-based job-seekers' allowance, designed to assist persons on a low income.


In many cases, however, individuals/families claiming Universal Credit find that they are worse off than when they were claiming ‘legacy benefits’. That is, many people find that they receive less financial assistance when claiming Universal Credit than when claiming benefits such as income support and housing benefit. 


Persons already in receipt of any legacy benefits will not be compelled to switch to Universal Credit straightaway. And in many cases will, at least until July 2019, be able to access their usual benefit payments after the roll out . However, students whose circumstances change in a way that would usually require a new benefit claim may find that they have no choice but to claim Universal Credit. We would encourage all students who anticipate any change in circumstance (e.g. moving local authority area, separating from a partner, claiming additional support towards the end of the Summer) to visit our service to seek advice.


If you are homeless, living in temporary accommodation or are in receipt of a severe disability premium, special rules will apply. Please get in touch with us for more tailored advice.

Last edited 10/04/19.


Page last updated:
Updated amounts for SSP, PIP, and new-style ESA. Removed info about claiming HB if not fit for work for 28 weeks or more. Removed info about claiming JSA if recovered and waitint to return to course. Added more info on Universal Credit and the perils of cl