Welfare benefits are provided by the government to help support people who are on a low income or for those that are unemployed or unable to work, with expenses such as housing, food, and childcare.
The eligibility rules for full-time students are complicated and an enquiry at the Jobcentre will often result in the answer that "full time students can't get benefits". However, it is worth double-checking, as there are limited situations in which full-time students can, in fact, claim benefits.
As a rule of thumb, you may be entitled to benefits as a full-time student if you are:
- A lone parent (benefits differ depending on the age of your youngest child);
- In receipt of any award of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP). Again, benefits available differ according to what rate you receive;
- In receipt of Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA) for deafness;
- Part of a couple, both of whom are full-time students, and have care of a child under 16 (or under 19 in full-time education).
If you think that you might be entitled to benefits and would like to discuss this further, we will be able to go through potential entitlement with you, and help you decide if claiming benefits is an option for you.
Students who start their course on a part-time basis have the same access to benefits as non-students, but a change in circumstances can still affect your benefits, for example, if your income changes or you change your hours at work to fit with your studies.
If you are studying part-time and would like information about whether you are entitled to benefits, or if you are considering starting a part-time course and want to check whether, or how, your benefits may change, the Advice Hub can help you work this out.
If you want to apply for Jobseekers' Allowance over the summer as a lone parent or as part of a student couple with children, and you get told you're not able to because you're a full-time student, email firstname.lastname@example.org and we can provide you with a letter. Take this to the Jobcentre, and you should be able to claim! You can claim up to three months in advance.
For a brief description of the different kind of benefits, take a look at our Quick Guide to Benefits page.