This section applies to UK students only. International, EU and UK students who have been living outside the UK, may not qualify for state benefits or tax credits and should seek further advice either by calling the relevant agency responsible for administering the benefit or tax credit, their local benefits office or the Student Advice Centre. Information is also available from UKCISA (PDF:86.1KB).
April sees the start of some of the biggest ever changes to the welfare benefits system that will roll out nationally over the next few years. This includes several means-tested benefits being replaced by a new Universal Credit, the introduction of a benefits cap, localisation of Council Tax support, and the introduction of Personal Independence Payment replacing Disability Living Allowance. For more information about this take a look at the information available from Turn2Us or the Money Advice Service interactive time line.
As a general rule most students are not entitled to state benefits but they may be able to claim if they are:
Some benefits are means-tested and the amount a student will be eligible to receive will depend upon their income. Student income will be taken into account when their entitlement for means-tested benefits is calculated.
Child Tax Credit (CTC) is paid to people on low incomes with children. Being a student does not affect your entitlement to CTC. You can qualify for CTC as long as you satisfy the rules of entitlement.
Working Tax Credit (WTC) is intended to help those people who are in low-paid work and assist them with the costs associated with work such as paying for childcare. Students must be classed as being in full-time paid work to qualify.
The childcare element of working tax credit can pay up to 70% of the weekly childcare costs a student pays if they use a registered provider. The maximum amount available is up to £122.50 per week for one child and up to £210 per week for two or more children. You cannot get the Higher Education Childcare Grant and the childcare element of Working Tax Credit.
Most grants and loans are disregarded when calculating a student’s income for tax credit purposes. There are, however, some exceptions to this rule such as income from the Adult Dependants Grant and the living cost element of a Professional Career Development Loan.
If your family circumstances change and you are going through a divorce or separation and want information about the impact this could have on your financial situation you might find it useful to visit the Money Advice Service website.