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State benefits

Welfare benefits

Students in some categories are eligible to claim welfare benefits.

The information below gives a brief overview of what benefits might be available for some students at Salford who are between 18 years old and retirement age, and who in the main have UK nationality, ‘settled’, or ‘refugee’ status, or who are an EU or EEA national (subject to other conditions which also apply).  

There are essentially two types of benefits:

  1. Means-tested benefits, (mainly Universal Credit) for those who are short of income, and
  2. Benefits for specific circumstances, such as maternity or disability.

Means-tested benefits

Full-time and part-time students are treated differently, especially with regard to means-tested benefits. In general:

  1. Part-time students are not excluded from claiming means-tested benefits
  2. Full-time students can only claim means-tested benefits if they fit into certain categories (see below).

Means-tested benefits also fall into three groups:

  1. Universal Credit.
  2. The older ‘legacy benefits’ being replaced with Universal Credit. These are: Jobseekers Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and Income-Related Employment Support Allowance.
  3. Council Tax Benefit and Pension Credit, which are not so far being replaced with Universal Credit. Contributions-based ESA and JSA also remain.

Most new claims for means-tested benefits now must be for Universal Credit. The intention for Universal Credit is that it will be fully implemented by 2022.

Universal Credit

The categories of full-time students at Salford who could possibly claim Universal Credit are as follows:

  1. Having responsibility for the care of a child
  2. Living with a partner who can claim Universal Credit
  3. Students in receipt of PIP or DLA, who have an official ‘limited capability for work’.
  4. Students on an interruption of study due to illness or being a carer, whose situation has recovered, but who are now waiting to resume attending their course.

What does the rolling out of Universal Credit mean for other means-tested benefits?

The older legacy benefits such as JSA are being phased out, but there still are some situations in which legacy benefits can still be claimed for, such as Housing Benefit. We recommend that you check using gov.uk first. Check that information against an independent source if there is any doubt.

Above all, if you think you are eligible for a benefit then apply for it. Backdating benefits is often not possible, and you could miss out by delaying. Most benefits can be applied for through www.gov.uk.

Since Universal Credit was introduced, entitlement to the older benefits has become complex and changes often. For this reason, we are not hosting detailed means-tested benefits information on these pages as this information may soon go out of date. Gov.uk is the go-to website for up to date information.

Tax Credits

Tax credits have been incorporated into Universal Credit. However, if you get the severe disability premium, you can still make a new claim. For matters relating to tax credits please visit gov.uk.

Benefits based primarily on your situation

The most commonly occurring situations with students can be categorised as follows:

  1. Maternity and Paternity

    There are a variety of allowances that may be assessable before and/or after the expected time of birth. Some benefits such as Statutory Maternity Pay and Maternity Allowance may depend on pay or contributions, while others such as Child Benefit do not. These benefits and their eligibility are laid out at gov.uk

  2. Disability

    Personal Independence Payment (PIP) can be awarded to students who have difficulty getting around for health and/or disability reasons. It is assessed on a points-scoring system and there is a meeting with an assessor. If you are being assessed we advise that you take somebody with you who can act as an informed advocate, as research shows that such claimants are less likely to have their problems underestimated when questioned. You can also nominate an appointee if circumstances permit.

    Contributory Employment Support Allowance (ESA) can be awarded to students who cannot work due to illness or disability. They will need to have worked and paid enough national insurance contributions to qualify. However, they must also take the Work Capability Assessment. Note that the ability to study could indicate that you could also be fit to work. Income-related ESA is absorbed into Universal Credit, and new claims for it mostly can no longer be made.

    Disables Student Allowance (DSA) can be awarded to students with disabilities for help with travel to campus, specialist equipment and helpers. Our Disability and Learner Support service can help with this.

    This is not a full list. There are other benefits in place such as DLA for children and Attendance Allowance for students aged 65 or over. Details are at www.gov.uk. This website also has clear information on what to do if you become disabled.

    We also recommend www.disabilityrightsuk.org for its factsheets, links to other support services, and for its more in-depth explanations about your rights.

  3. Carers

    You cannot apply for Carers Allowance as a full-time student, but part-time students may be able to apply for this. The website www.carersuk.org has advice and support for carers.

  4. Food

Food banks are supported by local communities in the UK rather than the state welfare system. To use them, you usually need to be referred using a voucher system. The referrer will need to be a GP, a health visitor, Citizens Advice or a social worker.

Community grocers work in a similar fashion. They buy surplus food in bulk and then pass those savings on to buyers. They are present in Salford and Manchester. Details can change often, so please research online for further information.

Salford Assist can offer short term support to local Salford people who are in a crisis. This help can include help with food and baby milk as part of a comprehensive assessment. They are part of Salford Welfare Rights. This service is discretionary.

Important notice

The information on this page has been written to inform you about possibilities which you might not have been aware of.

Please do not treat this material as being fully comprehensive. It is not.

For example, if you go on interruption, leave a course, are pregnant, above pensionable age, need to query a benefit decision, or are unaware of how your entitlement will change after a change in circumstances, you will need more information and perhaps advice and guidance from someone with specific knowledge on benefits.

A list of reputable sources for benefits information, advice and guidance are given below.

Further information and advice

The government’s website (www.gov.uk)is the information portal through which to understand and then apply for many benefits. The information is accurate, and the website is clear and easy to navigate.

Other benefits-related websites should be seen as complementary to gov.uk. They will be of use if they offer a clarification or a further service that gov.uk cannot give you.

Citizen Advice Bureau    https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/

Advicelocal                         https://advicelocal.uk/

Disability Rights                https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/

Salford Welfare Rights   click here

Salford Welfare Rights are available to students who live or work in Salford. The link to this service is given here.

Benefits during an interruption of study

Full-time students on an interruption of study still count as full-time students for benefits purposes.

As a result, whether you can get benefits during a break in study depends on the reason for taking time out, and the benefit concerned.

If you are successfully claiming a means-tested benefit such as Universal Credit, or a legacy benefit such as Housing Benefit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance, you can still claim them during your time out from study, subject to their other criteria.

Illness or caring responsibilities

Students on an interruption of study due to illness or being a carer, whose situation has recovered, but who are waiting to restart study can claim Universal Credit

Pregnancy and Parenthood

Single parents and sole carers (including some foster carers) are not barred from claiming Universal Credit while being a registered student. This includes periods of interruption.

Being on an interruption of study does not affect the entitlement to the variety of allowances that may be assessable before and/or after the expected time of birth.

These benefits and their eligibility are laid out at gov.uk

The above information is correct at the time of writing, however due to continuous changes to state benefits we strongly recommend seeking advice from gov.uk or trained specialists at either your local Citizens Advice Bureau or Salford Welfare Rights.