Student Parents

A student parent is any student who will be either pregnant or taking care of a child, alongside their studies. In addition to claiming student funding, you may be eligible for financial support in the form of tax credits and benefits whilst you study. We have provided some very general information below. A lot of this depends on your individual circumstances, so please book an appointment or call back with one of our advisers for more tailored information.

 

I’m a full-time student and I’m currently pregnant. Am I entitled to any benefits or tax credits?

 

Maternity Pay and Allowances

If you work part-time (or indeed full-time) alongside your studies and plan to take maternity leave from your place of work, you may be entitled to statutory maternity pay, statutory shared parental pay, contractual maternity pay or maternity allowance.

 

All employers in the UK have a legal obligation to provide pregnant employees who meet the relevant eligibility criteria with Statutory Maternity Pay. But, it is worth being aware that your eligibility is affected by factors including how much you earn and how long you have been working for your employer. If you have any questions about your eligibility for Statutory Maternity Pay or how to apply, please get in touch with the Advice Place.

 

Under the terms of your contract, your employer may provide an enhanced rate of maternity pay to employees on maternity leave. This enhanced rate should always exceed that which you would otherwise be entitled to in Statutory Maternity Pay. The amount that you receive will depend upon your employer. It is worth consulting your contract and/or employee handbook to check if your employer offers enhanced maternity pay. If you have any questions about entitlement, please get in touch with the Advice Place.

 

If you do not fulfil the relevant criteria for Statutory Maternity Pay, you may still be entitled to Maternity Allowance from the government and contractual maternity pay from your employer. Further information on Maternity Allowance.

 

If you are in paid work and share responsibility for your child with a partner, you may be eligible for statutory shared parental pay. Click here for further information.

 

Being on a zero-hours (or hours to be notified) contract does not, in and of itself, disqualify you from claiming Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Shared Parental Pay, Maternity Allowance or contractual maternity pay. However, it does mean that it is especially important that you keep copies of your payslips. These will help you to calculate how much you are owed and to prove entitlement. Our welfare team can help you calculate entitlement.

 

Child Benefit

If you meet the criteria you will be eligible for child benefit as soon as your child is born. Child benefit is a regular payment from the UK government and is designed to help parents with the cost of having a child. The amount that you will receive will depend on how many children you have and on whether either you or your partner earn above £50,000. The standard amount for a parent of one child is £20.70/week. Child benefit payments can be backdated by a period of up to three months. Click here for further information on how to claim.

 

Universal Credit

If your household income is sufficiently low and you meet the key criteria listed here, you may also be able to claim Universal Credit. Universal Credit is a state benefit designed to help persons on a low income with key living costs including any housing costs. Further information on how to claim can be found here.

We would, however, strongly recommend that any student already in receipt of a 'legacy benefit' (these are the benefits that Universal Credit seeks to replace and include working tax credit, child tax credit, housing benefit, income support, income-related employment support allowance and income-based job-seekers' allowance ) contact our service before they consider applying for Universal Credit. As, in many cases, a student will be better off remaining on 'legacy benefits'.

 

The Pregnancy and Baby Payment

If you qualify for one of the benefits listed here, you may be able to access a Pregnancy and Baby Payment from the Scottish Governement. This is a one-off grant of up to £600/child and aims to help cover some of the costs of having children. It is important to apply for this within three months of the birth of your child. Further information on this benefit and details of how to apply can be found here.

 

I’m a lone parent and I am due to start full-time study, will I be able to claim any benefits?

If your child(ren) are under 16 or, alternatively, if they are under 20 and in full-time non-advanced education (i.e. taking a course that will not lead to an HNC, an HND or degree-level qualification), there is potential that you will be able to access financial support in the form of benefits and tax credits while you study.

 

However, you might not be able to access means-tested benefits during the academic year if your income from student loans, grants and scholarships is too high. Student income is generally disregarded for most of the long summer vacation (for Universal Credit) and in the months of July and August (for legacy benefits such as Housing Benefit) and so you may be able to access an increased level of benefit support during these time periods. We would, however, caution students who are already in receipt of benefits to seek advice before starting a new benefit claim.

 

Your student status will not affect your ability to claim Child Benefit as long as you continue to meet these key criteria.

 

If you are not already claiming legacy benefits (such as Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit or Income-Related Employment Support Allowance), it will be worth checking on your eligibility for Universal Credit. Universal Credit is a means-tested benefit designed to help persons on a low income with costs of rent and other essential expenditure. As a full-time student 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. your child is aged under one or you have a - disability that limits your capability for work)


AND meet the essential criteria listed here to qualify for Universal Credit. If you have any questions about Universal Credit, our advisers are here to help. So, feel free to get in touch.

 

If you are already 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 ), contact us for further information on the impact that your studies will have on your current benefit entitlement and on benefit options available to you.

 

If you are in receipt of certain income-related benefits (specifically universal credit, working tax credit, child tax credit, housing benefit, income support, income-related employment support allowance and income-based job-seekers' allowance or pension credit), you may also be able to access a grant from the Scottish Government to assist with some of the costs of having a baby, the cost of your child starting early years' education and the cost of starting school. Further information on these grants and on how to apply can be found here.

 

 

I am a full-time student. I am also a parent and live with a non-student partner. Will I be able to access any benefits during my studies?

If your child(ren) are under 16 or, alternatively, if they are under 20 and in full-time non-advanced education (i.e. taking a course that will not lead to an HNC, an HND or degree-level qualification), there is potential that you will be able to access financial support in the form of benefits and tax credits while you study.

 

However, you might not be able to access means-tested benefits during the academic year if your income from student loans, grants and scholarships is too high. Student income is generally disregarded for most of the long summer vacation (for Universal Credit) and in the months of July and August (for legacy benefits such as Housing Benefit) and so you may be able to access an increased level of benefit support during these time periods. We would, however, caution students who are already in receipt of benefits to seek advice before starting a new benefit claim.

 

Your student status will not affect your ability to claim Child Benefit as long as you continue to meet these key criteria.

 

If you are not already claiming legacy benefits (such as Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit or Income-Related Employment Support Allowance), it will be worth checking on your eligibility for Universal Credit. Universal Credit is a means-tested benefit designed to help persons on a low income with costs of rent and other essential expenditure. As a full-time student 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. your child is aged under one or you have a disability that limits your capability for work)


AND meet the essential criteria listed here to qualify for Universal Credit. If you have any questions about Universal Credit, our advisers are here to help. So, feel free to get in touch.

 

If you are already 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 ), contact us for further information on the impact that your studies will have on your current benefit entitlement and on benefit options available to you.

 

If you are in receipt of certain income-related benefits (specifically universal credit, working tax credit, child tax credit, housing benefit, income support, income-related employment support allowance and income-based job-seekers' allowance or pension credit), you may also be able to access a grant from the Scottish Government to assist with some of the costs of having a baby, the cost of your child starting early years' education and the cost of starting school. Further information on these grants and on how to apply can be found here.

 

I am a parent and I am about to start a part-time degree course. Will this affect my ability to claim benefits?

Being enrolled on a part-time course will not, in and of itself, prevent you from claiming benefits. However, if you are in receipt of any living costs funding, this may be taken into account when calculating the extent of your entitlement to various mean-tested benefits such as universal credit and housing benefit. In addition, if any of the benefits you claim entail any work-related requirements (e.g. if you need to commit to seeking full-time work to claim jobseeker’s allowance), you may need to persuade your job-coach that your part-time course does not conflict with these work-related requirements. If you need any further information, feel free to contact The Advice Place.  

 

 

Other Information

Our funding pages provide useful information on general funding opportunities and on financial support for childcare costs.

The Students' Association is host to a group for student parents. The group exists to provide a safe space within Edinburgh University Students' Association where Student Parents can come together, discuss the issues affecting them, and campaign to improve their student experience. Further information can be found here.

 


Page last updated:
06/06/19