Living with a non-student partner

If you live with a non-student partner and are undertaking a part-time degree course, check out this page for further information on how part-time study may affect the benefits that your household receives.


If you are a full-time student and are living with a non-student partner it is worth being aware that the financial support that you receive to assist with your living costs whilst you study (e.g. living costs loans from SAAS/SFE/SFNI and SFW) will, in many, but not all cases, be taken into account when assessing your household income. This can affect how much support you, as a couple, will receive from means-tested benefits such as Housing Benefit and Universal Credit. Certain forms of student finance (such as Disabled Students’ Allowance) will be disregarded in full when calculating benefit entitlement. Rules that limit access to benefits for persons “in full time education” or that impose various work-related conditions can further influence things. A member of our welfare team can provide you with individually tailored advice in this respect. But there are three key things to be aware of:

1. Undertaking full-time study will not necessarily prevent you and your (non-student) partner from accessing Universal Credit. However, your partner will need to fulfil any work-related requirements that they have agreed to as part of the claims process and you will need to be able to show that you


  • receive a student loan, grant, bursary or scholarship for living costs
  • OR satisfy certain work-related requirements
  • OR do not have any work-related requirements for claiming this benefit (e.g. you have a disability that sufficiently limits your capability for work).

And, as a couple, you will, of course, need to meet the other general eligibility criteria.


2. If your household income is sufficiently low AND you and your partner meet the other key criteria listed here, you may still be able to start a new claim for housing benefit. Although to do so, your partner will need to list themselves as the lead applicant for any joint claim.


3. If you are in receipt of any "legacy benefits" (i.e. working tax credit, child tax credit, housing benefit, income support, income-related employment support allowance and income-based job-seekers' allowance), we would strongly encourage you to contact our service both prior to making a new benefit claim and before any major change in circumstance (e.g. moving local authority area). As they can both reduce the total amount of benefit income that you will be entitled to receive.


We understand that the information above can be quite tricky to follow, especially if you have not needed to claim benefits as a student before. Our team of welfare advisers are here to help.


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