This article will inform you whether you are eligible for any benefits as a student and how to apply.
Some students with children or with disabilities will be eligible for some state benefits while they study. We are able to compile a financial statement detailing the specific amounts available to you, please contact us if you would like to discuss your situation further.
Child Tax Credits and Child Benefit
If you are a lone parent student, or you live with a partner and have at least one child, and your total household income is less than approximately £40,000 you may be eligible for some Child Tax Credit (your student finance is not taken into account as income).
If you were already receiving tax credits before starting your course you should contact HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and advise them that you have become a student. If you have not claimed tax credits before you can apply online at www.gov.uk.
You are still eligible to receive Child Benefit as a student (unless you or your partner are a higher rate tax payer).
Working Tax Credit
If you are a lone parent you can only claim Working Tax Credit as a student if you continue to work for at least 16 hours a week alongside your studies.
If you live with a partner they may be entitled to claim Working Tax Credit if they work for at least 30 hours a week (or 24 if you have children).
Further information and guidance, and application forms can be obtained by calling the Tax Credit helpline on +44(0)845 300 3900 or visiting www.gov.uk.
You are eligible for Housing Benefit as a student if you are also:
• A lone parent
• Living as a couple where you are both students and you have at least one child
• Receiving Disability Living Allowance (irrespective of the disability), or Disabled Students' Allowance for reasons of a hearing impairment
You must be living in rented accommodation and have a formal tenancy agreement in your name. If you live in Halls of Residence during term time and fall into one of the above categories then you are also entitled to apply.
You apply for Housing Benefit through your local council. If you live in Portsmouth you can visit the council website for more information.
Housing Benefit is income assessed and some elements of your student finance will be included in this assessment. It’s important that you keep your local benefit office updated of any changes to your student finance, particularly in the summer holidays when they can reassess you based on the drop in your income.
Income Support and Job Seekers' Allowance
You can normally only claim Income Support or Jobseekers’ Allowance over the summer holidays. Lone parent students with at least one child under five and some disabled students are eligible for Income Support. If your youngest child is aged five or over then you can apply for Jobseekers’ Allowance instead. Student couples with children (of any age) may also be eligible for Jobseekers' Allowance.
Universal Credit will be replacing Housing Benefit, Income Support, Jobseekers’ Allowance and Tax Credits. There will be a gradual transition from April 2015 that is due to be completed by 2019. If you feel that you may be affected by this change and are seeking further guidance please get in touch with the Student Finance Centre for further information.