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Study and benefits

study and benefits

When you’re living with a long-term health condition it's usually quite difficult to study full-time or part-time without any effect on your benefits.

 BenefitFull-time students Part-time students
Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)

Most full-time students will not be entitled to Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) except:
If you are a lone parent, or a couple who are both full-time students, with a child. In this case you can claim during the summer vacation.

You may also be able to get JSA if you take time out from your studies if you were already eligible to get JSA while studying. The amount of JSA you receive will probably be reduced by any student support you get in the form of a loan or grant.

You may be entitled to claim JSA but will need to show that you are available for full-time work.

You may be expected to give up your course if a suitable full-time job becomes available.
The amount of JSA you receive will probably be reduced by any student support you get in the form of a loan or grant.

Income Support (IS)

Only full-time students who are lone parents of a child under five, a lone foster parent of a child under 16 and those who are receiving long-term Incapacity Benefit will be eligible for Income Support (IS).

Additionally, lone parents or couples where both are full-time students with a child will be able to claim IS during the summer vacation if they would have qualified for it as non-students.

Any student support in the form of loans or grants, would reduce the amount of IS that you receive.

Part-time students can get IS if they are a lone parent with a child under the age of five, a lone foster parent of a child under 16 or if they are receiving Incapacity Benefit.

Any student support in the form of loans or grants, would reduce the amount of IS that you receive.

Employment Support Allowance (ESA)If you are unable to work due to illness or disability, you may be entitled to contributory Employment Support Allowance (ESA) while you are a full-time student if you have previously worked and paid National Insurance contributions.

You can claim income-related ESA if you are also getting Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

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.

Any student support in the form of loans or grants would reduce the amount of income-related ESA you can get.
You may be entitled to contributory ESA while a part-time student if you have previously worked and paid National Insurance contributions and you are not able to work because of illness or disability.

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 aged 20 years or over.

Any student support in the form of loans or grants would reduce the amount of income-related ESA you can get.
Housing Benefit (HB)

As a full-time student you can claim Housing Benefit (HB) and/or Council Tax support if:

  • You receive IS or income-based JSA or income-related ESA 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.
  • You are a lone foster carer with a child formally placed with you by a Local Authority or voluntary agency.
  • You receive DLA, PIP or Attendance Allowance, the Disability or Severe Disability element of Working Tax Credit or a War Pensioner’s Disability Supplement. 
  • You or your partner is 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.

Any student support in the form of loans or grants, would reduce the amount of HB and/or Council Tax support you can get.

As a part-time student you may be eligible for Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax support if you meet all of the usual criteria.

Any student support in the form of loans or grants, would reduce the amount of HB and/or Council Tax support you can get.
Disability Living Allowance (DLA)As a full-time student you are eligible to apply for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) if you meet the criteria.

This benefit is not affected by any student support received in the form of loans or grants or any savings you may have.
As a part-time student you are eligible to apply for DLA if you meet the criteria.

This benefit is not affected by any student support received in the form of loans or grants or any savings you may have.
Personal Independence Payment (PIP)Personal Independence Payment (PIP) will gradually replace DLA for those of working age. As a full-time student you are eligible to apply for PIP if you meet the criteria.

This benefit is not affected by any student support received in the form of loans or grants or any savings you may have.
As a part-time student you are eligible to apply for PIP if you meet the criteria.

This benefit is not affected by any student support received in the form of loans or grants or any savings you may have.
Incapacity Benefit

You cannot make a new claim for Incapacity Benefit, but if you are already claiming it you can continue to get it when you become a full-time student as long as you are unfit to work.

However as this benefit is being discontinued, you will be reassessed between now and April 2014 and may then be transferred to Employment and Support Allowance or have to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance.

If you are already claiming Incapacity Benefit, you can continue to get it when you become a part-time student, as long as you are unfit to work. However as this benefit is being discontinued, you will be reassessed between now and April 2014 and may then be transferred to Employment and Support Allowance or have to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance.
Attendance AllowanceIf you need help with personal care and are aged 65 or over, you can get Attendance Allowance.If you need help with personal care and are aged 65 or over, you can get Attendance Allowance.
Pension CreditIf you are a full-time student who is over Pension Credit age and you have a low income, you may be able to get Pension Credit.

Any student support income you receive will be ignored.

Anyone who gets Pension Credit (Guarantee Credit) automatically qualifies for Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Support.
If you are a part-time student who is over Pension Credit age and you have a low income, you may be able to get Pension Credit.

Any student support income you receive will be ignored.
Carer’s AllowanceYou cannot get Carer’s Allowance if you are in full-time education, even during vacations.If you are a part-time student and your course involves studying for less than 21 hours per week, you may be able to claim Carer's Allowance if you care for someone for at least 35 hours a week and they receive a qualifying benefit.
Working Tax CreditAs a full-time student you may be eligible to get Working Tax Credit as long as you meet the usual criteria.As a part-time student you may be eligible to get Working Tax Credit as long as you meet the usual criteria.
Child Tax CreditIf you are responsible for children as a lone parent or as a member of a couple, you may be eligible for Child Tax Credit.If you are responsible for children as a lone parent or as a member of a couple, you may be eligible for Child Tax Credit.
Universal CreditUniversal Credit will eventually replace the following benefits:

Income Support.
Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance.
Income-related Employment and Support Allowance.
Child Tax Credit.
Working Tax Credit.
Housing Benefit.

As a full-time student, if you are currently eligible for any of the listed benefits, then you will be eligible for Universal Credit when it replaces your current benefit.
As a part-time student, if you are currently eligible for any of the benefits listed, then you will remain eligible when Universal Credit has replaced it.
Students with partnersIf you are a full-time student and you live with a partner who is not a student, they may be able to claim means-tested benefits for you both. Some of your student income may be taken into account.If you are a part-time student and you live with a partner who is not a student, either of you may be able to claim
means-tested benefits for you both. Some of your student income may be taken into account.

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The Information Standard: Certified member

This article was last reviewed on 26/8/2014 by C. Berry

Date due for the next review: 25/2/2015

Content Author: J. Font

Current Owner: J. Font

More information:

Citizens Advice Bureau, Advisornet - Benefits section