Benefits for Students in Scotland Handbook
Prelims
How to use this Handbook
Definitions
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Definitions

Most full-time students are excluded from benefits, mainly those benefits where entitlement relies on a means test. There is one definition of 'full-time student' used for most means-tested benefits – ie, income support, jobseeker's allowance, employment and support allowance and housing benefit. Other definitions are used for universal credit (UC), carer's allowance and for council tax. Some students, however, can claim means-tested benefits despite being classed as full time. If you are excluded from one benefit, do not therefore assume that you are excluded from all of them. Who counts as a 'full-time student', or as 'receiving education' for UC, is explained in detail in the relevant chapters.


Structure of the Handbook

A benefit chart on Cross reference provides an overview of benefit and tax credit entitlement for students. You may want to use this as a starting point to check possible entitlement and then use the individual chapters for details.

Part 1 looks at students' entitlement to benefits and tax credits. Part 2 gives a glossary of student support in further and higher education, and Part 3 considers how each kind of support affects entitlement to means-tested benefits, tax credits and health benefits. Part 4 considers other matters – council tax and benefits if you take time out from your studies.

Chapters have endnotes with references to the legal sources. Where an abbreviation is used in the endnotes or in the text, this is explained in Appendix 3 and on Cross reference. If you are appealing against a benefit or tax credit decision, you may want to refer to the law. Appendix 1 suggests where you can find legislation and caselaw.


Benefits and tax credits: overview

The following chart summarises the benefits and tax credits you may be able to claim depending on your circumstances. In each case, there are other tests you must pass to be entitled. The page number in the last column takes you to the relevant chapter, where you will find more details about the rules of entitlement. Part 3 explains which benefits are affected by any grant or loan you get. Terms such as 'full time', 'part time' and 'student' are explained in each benefit chapter.

 

 

 

Your circumstances

Benefit or tax credit

Page

Aged 16–18 (and some 19-year-olds) in full-time further education

 

 

Have a child

Income support

Housing benefit

Child tax credit

Child benefit 

Universal credit

Cross reference

Cross reference

Cross reference

Cross reference  

Cross reference

 

Aged 16–20 (and some 21-year-olds) in full-time further education    
 

Orphan, estranged or separated from parents

Income support

Housing benefit

Universal credit

 Cross reference

 Cross reference

 Cross reference

Living away from parents

Housing benefit

Cross reference

Full-time student

 

 

Single

Health benefits

Cross reference

Lone parent of child under five

Income support

Housing benefit

Child tax credit

Child benefit

Universal credit

Cross reference

Cross reference

Cross reference

Cross reference

Cross reference

 

Student couple with a child, or lone parent

 

Long vacation

 

 

Jobseeker's allowance

Income support (if eligible)

 

Cross reference

Cross reference

 

All year

Housing benefit

 

Child tax credit

Child benefit

Universal credit

Cross reference

 

Cross reference

Cross reference Cross reference  

Couple, one student

Income support

Jobseeker's allowance

Employment and support allowance

Housing benefit

 

Child tax credit

Child benefit

Universal credit

Cross reference  

Cross reference

Cross reference

Cross reference  

 

Cross reference

Cross reference Cross reference  

Part-time student

Income support

Jobseeker's allowance

Employment and support allowance

Housing benefit

Universal credit

 

Cross reference

 

Cross reference

Cross reference  

 

Cross reference

Cross reference  

 

 

Working

 

 

Under 16 hours

Part-time student

 

Income support

Jobseeker's allowance

Cross reference

 

Cross reference

Full-time student

Income support (if eligible)

 

 

Cross reference

At least 16 hours a week (24 for most couples) and have a child

Working tax credit

Cross reference

At least 16 hours a week and have a disability

Working tax credit

Cross reference

At least 30 hours a week and aged 25 or over

Working tax credit

Cross reference

 

At least 16 hours a week and aged 60 or over

Working tax credit

Cross reference

 

Any number of hours  Universal credit (if eligible)  Cross reference

Sick or disabled

 

Employment and support allowance

Housing benefit

Personal independence payment

Health benefits

Universal credit

 

 

 

 

 

Cross reference

Cross reference

Cross reference

Cross reference

Cross reference

 

Recovered and waiting to return to studies

Housing benefit

Jobseeker's allowance

Universal credit

 

Cross reference

Cross reference

Cross reference  

 

Having a baby

 

 

Under 18 Healthy Start vouchers 

Cross reference

Getting certain benefits/tax credits

Maternity grant

Healthy Start vouchers

Cross reference

Cross reference

 

Working or recently working

Maternity allowance

Statutory maternity pay

Statutory shared parental pay

Working tax credit

Universal credit

Cross reference

Cross reference

Cross reference

Cross reference

Cross reference  

When the child is born

Child tax credit

Child benefit

Universal credit

Cross reference

Cross reference

Cross reference

Studying part time

Income support

Cross reference

 

Partner having a baby

Statutory paternity pay

Statutory shared parental pay

Cross reference

Cross reference

 

Adopting a child

Statutory adoption pay

Cross reference

 

Caring for someone sick or disabled

 

 

Studying part time

Carer's allowance

Income support

Universal credit

 

Cross reference

Cross reference

Cross reference

 

Waiting to return to studies after taking time out to care

Jobseeker's allowance

Housing benefit

Universal credit

 

 

 

Cross reference

Cross reference

Cross reference

 

 

Need dental treatment or glasses

Health benefits

Cross reference

Reached the qualifying age for pension credit 

Pension credit

Housing benefit

 

 

 

Cross reference

 

 

 

Part 1: Benefits and tax credits
Chapter 1: Carer's allowance

This chapter covers:

1. What is carer's allowance (below)

2. Who is eligible (Cross reference)

3. Amount of benefit (Cross reference)

4. Claiming carer's allowance (Cross reference)

5. Challenging a decision (Cross reference)

6. Other benefits and tax credits (Cross reference)

Basic facts

– Carer's allowance (CA) is paid to people who care for someone with a severe disability.

– Part-time students are eligible to claim.

– Full-time students cannot claim.

– CA is not means tested, but you cannot get it if you work and earn more than £120 a week.

– Getting CA qualifies you for a carer element in universal credit or a carer premium in your income support, income-based jobseeker's allowance, income-related employment and support allowance and housing benefit.

 

1. What is carer's allowance

Carer's allowance (CA) is for people who spend at least 35 hours a week looking after a disabled person (an adult or child). The disabled person must be getting attendance allowance, the middle or highest rate of disability living allowance care component or the daily living component of personal independence payment. The amount of CA you get is not means tested and your student loan, grant or other income does not affect it. Part-time students can get CA, but full-time students are not eligible.

Note: the Scottish government pays a supplement to people living in Scotland who get CA, which increases their CA to the same amount as jobseeker's allowance. It is paid as a lump sum every six months. A one-off £300 young carer grant for 16–18-year-old carers who cannot get CA will be introduced in Scotland in 2019. See www.cpag.org.uk/scottish-benefits for more information on these payments.


2. Who is eligible

You are eligible if you are a part-time student and you satisfy the basic rules on Cross reference. You are not eligible if you are in full-time education.


Full-time education

You are in full-time education if an overall consideration of your course requirements and your performance against these suggests this. If you are on a full-time course of education, you are normally taken to be in full-time education for the purpose of carer's allowance (CA).Footnote If you think that, given your circumstances, you are not in full-time education, you may be able to argue that you are a part-time student.Footnote

You are also treated as being in full-time education if you 'attend a course' (see below) at a university, college or other educational establishment for 21 hours or more a week.Footnote These 21 hours include not just classes, lectures and seminars, but also individual study for course work. Meal breaks and unsupervised study are ignored. However, you are regarded as studying under supervision if you are doing course work, whether at home or at college, alone or in the presence of a supervisor.Footnote Unsupervised study is work beyond the requirements of the course.

If your college or university says that it expects students to spend 21 hours or more a week in supervised study and classes, the DWP usually assumes that you are in full-time education.

In practice, if you want to show that you spend fewer hours on course work than the college or university expects, you need to provide detailed evidence and be prepared to appeal. If your particular circumstances mean that you are not expected to satisfy the normal requirements of the course (eg, because you are exempt from certain subjects), you may be able to argue that your hours of study are fewer than those expected of other students on the course.Footnote


Time out from a course

'Attending' a course means being enrolled on and pursuing a course.Footnote You are treated as still being in full-time education during short and long vacations, and until the course ends or you abandon it or are dismissed from it. You are still regarded as being in full-time education during temporary interruptions.Footnote If you have taken time out to care for someone and the interruption is not temporary (eg, if you have agreed with your institution to take a whole year out of your course), you may be able to claim CA.Footnote


Basic rules

As well as being a student who is eligible to claim, to qualify for CA you must satisfy all of the following conditions.Footnote You are aged 16 or over. You spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone. The person for whom you care gets the middle or highest rate of disability living allowance care component, the daily living component of personal independence payment, attendance allowance or constant attendance allowance. You are not working and earning more than £120 a week. You satisfy certain rules on residence and presence in the UK and are not a 'person subject to immigration control'. See CPAG's Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook for details.


3. Amount of benefit
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