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Can students claim benefits to help with rent?

Most students cannot claim universal credit but there are some exceptions.

Studying part time

You can usually claim UC as long as you meet your claimant commitment conditions such as looking for jobs.

Speak to your jobcentre work coach about your part time course when you apply.

Under 21 and cannot live with parents

You can usually claim UC as a full time student if your course is classed as non advanced education.

This means a course that is school or college level, for example A levels. It does not mean university study or courses for a degree level qualification.

You need to be in a situation where your parents do not help you. For example, if you've been asked to leave home or would be at risk there.

You do not usually have to look for work to get UC.

Living with a partner

You could get UC if you live with a partner who is not a student, and you have a low income.

You need to make a joint claim.

If children live with you

You could claim UC if you are a full time student and a parent or foster parent with:

  • a dependent child under 16

  • a 16 to 19 year old in full time, non advanced education

If you share a child's care, you can only claim UC if your child normally lives with you.

If you get certain disability benefits

You can get UC as a full time student if the DWP says you have limited capability for work and you get one of these benefits:

  • disability living allowance (DLA)

  • personal independence payment (PIP)

  • attendance allowance

If you're pension age

You could claim housing benefit instead of UC if you're pension age.

If you live with a partner who is working age, you usually need to claim UC.

It does not matter what course you study or if it is full time or part time.

If you already get housing benefit

You could keep claiming housing benefit if:

  • your course is part time

  • you get certain disability benefits

  • you're a lone parent or foster carer

  • you're a couple with children and you're both full time students

You usually need to stay in the same council area. If you move to a different area, you usually have to claim UC.

How your benefit is worked out

UC and housing benefit are means tested benefits.

Other income such as student maintenance loans or wages count when your benefit is calculated.

Still need help?

Turn2Us have useful guides to benefits for:

Last updated: 3 April 2023

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