Benefits for Students

There’s a common misconception among students that if you’re a student you aren’t entitled to any benefits. Thankfully that isn’t true and although the qualifying criteria can be quite specific in some cases we’ve listed the eligibility criteria below for some of the most commonly available benefits.

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Full-time Students

Job Seekers Allowance (JSA):

Even if you are unemployed and looking for work, you will not be entitled to JSA if you are a full-time student. The only exception to this is if you are a lone parent or a member of a couple with a child where both of you are full-time students and in this case you can then only claim during the summer period.

Note: If you are in receipt of a student loan or grant this will reduce the amount of JSA you receive as this income is taken into consideration when calculating your entitlement.

Income Support:

Most full-time students are not entitled to Income Support. However, you may be entitled to this benefit as a full-time student if you:

  • Are a lone parent with a child under five
  • Are a lone foster parent of a child under 16
  • Are receiving long-term Incapacity Benefit
  • Would qualify for Income Support if you were not a full-time student and you are a lone parent or a member of a couple with a child where both of you are full-time students and you claim during your summer period.

Note: If you are in receipt of a student loan or grant this will reduce the amount of Income Support you receive as this income is taken into consideration when calculating your entitlement.

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA):

You can claim for ESA if your ability to work is limited by ill health or disability. ESA has two elements, contributory ESA and income-related ESA. You may receive either one of these, or both together, depending on your circumstances.

Roughly speaking to be entitled to ESA, you must:

  • have a limited capability for work. This is tested under the ‘work capability assessment’;
  • be at least 16 years old;
  • be under state pension age (ESA stops when you reach that age);
  • not be in work; however some types of work are permitted.

Contributory ESA

If you are not able to work due to illness or disability, you may be entitled to contributory ESA while a full-time student if you have previously worked and paid national insurance contributions. However, contributory ESA has stopped for young people aged between 16 and 25 who have not made national insurance contributions.

Income-related ESA

You will only be able to claim income-related ESA if you are also getting Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment.

If you are a full time student who is entitled to DLA, for ESA you count as having limited capability for work without having to have a Work Capability Assessment.

Note: If you are in receipt of a student loan or grant this will reduce the amount of Income-related ESA you receive as this income is taken into consideration when calculating your entitlement.

Disability Living Allowance(DLA)/Personal Independence Payment(PIP):

If you have disabilities, are aged under 65 and need help with your personal care or mobility needs, you can claim for DLA/PIP.

You can claim for DLA/PIP even if you are a full-time student;  PIP is gradually being introduced to replace DLA and if you are a new claimant you will be advised to claim for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) as claims for DLA are no longer being accepted.

Note: Disability Living Allowance/Personal Independence Payment are not means-tested. This means any income (including student grants or loans) or savings you have are ignored.

Housing Benefit/Council Tax Reduction:

Full time students generally cannot claim for Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction* unless they fall into one of the following categories:

  • you receive Income Support or income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance or are over Pension Credit age
  • you are responsible for a child and you are a lone parent or a member of a couple and you are both full-time students (unlike Income Support and JSA this applies throughout the year)
  • you are a lone foster carer with a child formally placed with you by a local authority or voluntary agency
  • you receive Disability Living Allowance/Personal Independence Payment , the disability or the severe disability element of Working Tax Credit
  • you or your partner are registered blind
  • you have been unable to work due to sickness or disability for at least 28 weeks
  • you qualify for a disabled student’s allowance because you are deaf
  • you take time out from your course because of illness or caring responsibilities in certain circumstances

Note: If you receive student support in the form of a grant or loan, this will usually reduce the amount of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit you can get.

*All full time students are exempt from paying Council Tax so should not have to claim for Council Tax reduction regardless.

Part-time Students

Job Seekers Allowance (JSA):

If you are unemployed and trying to find work, you may be entitled to JSA. Because you usually have to be available for full-time work, you need to show that you are still available for work around your study hours.

You may be able to alter your agreed pattern of availability, but remember that, unless otherwise agreed, you will be expected to be willing to give up the course if suitable full-time work becomes available.

Note: If you are in receipt of a student loan or grant this will reduce the amount of JSA you receive as this income is taken into consideration when calculating your entitlement.

Income Support:

Part-time students can claim for Income Support as long as they are in one of the groups of people who can claim this benefit and fit the other rules. For example, if you:

  • Are a lone parent with a child under age five
  • Are a lone foster parent of a child under 16
  • Are receiving Incapacity Benefit.

Note: If you are in receipt of a student loan or grant this will reduce the amount of Income Support you receive as this income is taken into consideration when calculating your entitlement.

Employment Support Allowance (ESA):

You can claim for ESA if your ability to work is limited by ill health or disability. ESA has two elements, contributory ESA and income-related ESA. You may receive either one of these, or both together, depending on your circumstances.

Roughly speaking to be entitled to ESA, you must:

  • have a limited capability for work. This is tested under the ‘work capability assessment’;
  • be at least 16 years old;
  • be under state pension age (ESA stops when you reach that age);
  • not be in work; however some types of work are permitted.

Contributory ESA

If you are not able to work due to illness or disability, you may be entitled to contributory ESA while a part-time student if you have previously worked and paid national insurance contributions.

Income-related ESA

You may be able to qualify for income-related ESA as a part-time student if you are studying 16 hours or less per week and are 20 years or over.

Note: If you are in receipt of a student loan or grant this will reduce the amount of ESA you receive as this income is taken into consideration when calculating your entitlement.

Disability Living Allowance(DLA)/Personal Independence Payment(PIP):

If you have disabilities, are aged under 65 and need help with your personal care or mobility needs, you can claim for DLA/PIP.

You can claim for DLA/PIP even if you are a full-time student;  PIP is gradually being introduced to replace DLA and if you are a new claimant you will be advised to claim for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) as claims for DLA are no longer being accepted.

Note: Disability Living Allowance/Personal Independence Payment are not means-tested. This means any income (including student grants or loans) or savings you have are ignored.

Housing Benefit/Council Tax Reduction:

As a part-time student you can claim for both Housing Benefit & Council Tax reduction which can provide financial support towards paying your accommodation costs & Council Tax respectively.

Note: If you are in receipt of a student loan or grant this will normally reduce the amount of Housing Benefit/Council Tax Reduction you receive as this income is taken into consideration when calculating your entitlement.

More information

If you’d like any more information or advice on any of the above please just get in touch with our Advice Centre who are open Monday to Friday 11:30am to 4pm and located on the ground floor of the John McIntyre Building on the main campus. Their contact details are listed below:

Email: advice@src.gla.ac.uk

Tel: 0141 330 5360