State benefits are provided by the UK government for people with little or no income.  There are different benefits available depending on an individual’s circumstances.  Some are assessed against household income, some against personal needs.  For general information about benefits, visit gov.uk.

If you are in the UK on a student visa or have any other type of limited leave to remain in the UK, do not claim any social security benefits without getting advice, as you could breach your immigration conditions which could seriously affect your visa.

Benefits for full-time students

Most students are not eligible to claim benefits once they become a full-time student, but there are some exceptions.  These relate to parents with dependent children, some students with disabilities, pensioners and students who have been ill and recovered or who have been caring for someone and this responsibility has ended.  If any of these apply to you, please contact Student Advice for further information.

If you are an undergraduate student eligible to claim benefits while you study and entitled to the Student Finance England Maintenance Loan, Adult Dependents Grant (and Maintenance Grant if applicable) these all count as income and reduce or cancel out income-based benefits. This applies even if you choose not to receive these.  

Postgraduate students receiving the SFE Postgraduate Loan: 30% of your Student Finance England Postgraduate Loan counts as income and will reduce or cancel out income-based benefits paid to you. Different types of bank or study loans can also reduce your benefits.

Benefits for part-time students

Part-time degree-level study does not exclude a person from claiming benefits. You have to meet the usual benefit eligibility rules to qualify.

However, your claim could be affected if your study affects your availability for work or availability to attend specific jobseeking or other benefit-related activities.

The part-time tuition fee loan does not affects benefits but SFE has introduced a Maintenance Loan for undergraduate courses that begin in September 2018.  We are waiting for clarification on how this loan will affect benefits but it’s likely to have some impact.  Students who began their course before September 2018 are not eligible for the new Maintenance Loan so should not be affected.

If you are a postgraduate student, 30% of the Student Finance England Postgraduate Loan will also reduce the amount of means-tested benefit paid to you. Different types of bank or study loans can also reduce your benefit entitlement.

For further information about claiming benefits as a student, contact Student Advice.

All students

If you claim or receive benefits, you must tell the relevant benefit office/DWP department that you are a student and provide evidence of your student income as these are both changes in your circumstances.

For further information about claiming benefits as a student, contact Student Advice.