Benefits for Students in Scotland Handbook
Part 1: Benefits and tax credits
Chapter 1: Carer's allowa...
5. Challenging a decision
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5. Challenging a decision
If you think a decision about your carer’s allowance is wrong, you can ask the DWP to look at it again. This process is known as a ‘reconsideration’ (the law refers to it as a ‘revision’). Provided you ask within the time limit (usually one month), the DWP notifies you of the decision in a ‘mandatory reconsideration notice’. If you are still not happy when you get this notice, you can appeal to the independent First-tier Tribunal. If it was not possible to ask the DWP to reconsider the decision within a month, you can ask for a late revision (within 13 months), explaining why it is late. You can also ask the DWP to look at a decision again at any time if certain grounds are met – eg, if there has been an official error.
6. Other benefits and tax credits
The benefit cap does not apply if you get carer's allowance (CA). The carer's allowance supplement does not count as income for means-tested benefits and tax credits.
The disabled person's benefit

Your entitlement to CA depends on the person for whom you care continuing to get her/his disability benefit. If her/his benefit stops, your benefit should also stop. To avoid being overpaid, make sure you tell the Carer's Allowance Unit if the disabled person's attendance allowance, disability living allowance or personal independence payment stops being paid.

It is not always financially prudent to claim CA. Although it may mean more money for you, it may result in the person for whom you care losing some income support (IS), income-related employment and support allowance (ESA), pension credit or housing benefit (HB). If s/he lives alone, s/he may be getting a severe disability premium included in the assessment of these benefits. S/he cannot continue to get this premium if you get CA for her/him. See CPAG's Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook for details.

Overlapping benefits

Although CA is not means tested, you cannot receive it at the same time as incapacity benefit, maternity allowance, severe disablement allowance, bereavement benefits, retirement pension, contribution-based jobseeker's allowance (JSA) or contributory ESA. If you are eligible for more than one benefit, you get whichever is worth the most.

Getting a carer premium or element

If you are a part-time student, getting CA may mean you become eligible for IS. Carers are not expected to look for work and are eligible for IS instead of JSA. If you are getting CA and claiming universal credit (UC), you are eligible for a carer element in your UC and you are not expected to look for work. An extra carer premium is included in IS, income-based JSA, income-related ESA and HB, even if your CA is not being paid because you are getting another benefit that overlaps with it.

Working tax credit
If you have a child(ren) and a partner and you get CA, you are eligible for working tax credit if your partner works at least 16 hours a week, rather than the usual 24.
Chapter 2: Child benefit

This chapter covers:

1. What is child benefit (below)

2. Who is eligible (Cross reference)

3. Amount of benefit (Cross reference)

4. Claiming child benefit (Cross reference)

5. Challenging a decision (Cross reference)

6. Other benefits and tax credits (Cross reference)

Basic facts

– Child benefit is paid to people who are responsible for a child or a 'qualifying young person'.

– Both full-time and part-time students can claim child benefit.

– If you are under 20, someone else may be able to claim child benefit for you if you are studying.

– Child benefit is not means tested.


1. What is child benefit

Child benefit is paid to people who are responsible for a child or 'qualifying young person'. You do not have to have paid national insurance contributions to qualify for child benefit. It is not means tested, so the amount you get is not affected by your student loan, grant or other income. If you earn over £50,000 and you or your partner get child benefit, you may have extra income tax to pay (known as the 'high income child benefit charge'). 

2. Who is eligible

You qualify for child benefit if:Footnote

you are responsible for a child or 'qualifying young person' – ie: s/he lives with you; or you contribute to the cost of supporting her/him at a rate of at least the amount of child benefit for her/him; and

you have priority over other potential claimants. Only one person can get child benefit for a particular child. There is an order of priority for who receives it where two or more people would otherwise be entitled; and

you are 'present and ordinarily resident' in Britain, not a 'person subject to immigration control' and have a 'right to reside'. These terms are explained in CPAG's Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook.

You do not have to be the child's parent to claim child benefit for her/him.

Being a student, whether full or part time, does not affect your entitlement to child benefit.

If you are a 'qualifying young person' (see Cross reference), your parent or someone else who is responsible for you may be able to claim child benefit. You cannot, however, claim child benefit for yourself.

If a qualifying young person gets universal credit, income support, income-based jobseeker’s allowance, employment and support allowance, working tax credit or child tax credit in her/his own right, any child benefit paid for the young person stops.

If a young person lives with a partner, or is married or in a civil partnership, you can get child benefit for her/him if s/he lives with you or you still contribute to her/his support, but only if her/his partner is in 'relevant education' (see Cross reference) or approved training. The young person's partner cannot be the claimant. 

In some circumstances, special rules apply – eg, if your child is being looked after by a local authority or is in prison or a young offenders' institution. 

Who counts as a child

Anyone aged under 16 counts as a 'child' for child benefit purposes, whether or not s/he goes to school. Provided you meet the other qualifying conditions, child benefit can be paid for her/him.Footnote Child benefit can also be paid for a child after s/he reaches 16 until at least 31 August after her/his 16th birthday, and then for as long as s/he continues to count as a 'qualifying young person’.

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