Students who are subject to immigration control are not normally eligible for welfare benefits. This includes:
- anyone who has immigration permission to stay in the UK as a student (a “student/Tier 4 visa”) or
- EU/EEA and Swiss nationals who are not living in the UK by 31st December 2020 and will not be applying under the EU Settlement Scheme to stay in the UK beyond the date the UK leaves the EU. See the welfare benefit section of our EEA Rights page for more information.
If the above applies to you, you will most likely have a prohibition on claiming public funds, which includes most welfare benefits, and you can ignore this whole section.
Universal Credit (UC)
UC is a new means-tested benefit. It is paid as a single monthly payment for people who are looking for work or on a low income. It is replacing Income Support, Income Related Employment and Support Allowance, Income-based Job Seekers Allowance, Housing Benefit, and Child and Working Tax Credits.
You will make one online claim for your living costs, housing and dependent children. It will be made up of a standard allowance plus other 'elements' - for example for children, childcare, housing and caring. There will also be an element for those with limited capability for work. The amount you could get will depend on your own circumstances. If you qualify, your monthly payment will cover everyone in your family who qualifies for support. 'Family' could mean you as a single person for example, or you might also be claiming for a partner and/or children. There are more details on the gov.uk website.
Can I claim UC if I can’t find work?
UC is the benefit for people who are available for work and actively seeking work. Most full-time students cannot claim UC on this basis because they are not seen as available for work, even during vacations and even if they are looking for work. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. Please see the following webpages and advice guides for more information:
Earnings and Benefits
If you are someone who is eligible to claim welfare benefits, your earnings may reduce your benefit entitlements. There may also be limitations about the number of hours you can work before your benefits are affected.
You must tell the office that pays your benefit about your income.
If you would like more information about how any earnings might affect your benefits, contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service.
Tax credits help people who are on a low income, they are being replaced by UC and it is not possible to make a new claim for Tax Credits.
You do not need to have children to claim certain tax credits. There are two types of tax credits: Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. You may be eligible for one or both. They are income assessed and paid by HM Revenue and Customs. You can get a claim form from the Tax Credits helpline: 0845 300 3900. For information about current eligibility for tax credits and how to claim, see the gov.uk website.
Note: Some EEA nationals can claim tax credits if they satisfy certain residence conditions. Contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service if you need more information.
Law, regulations and policies can change quickly. The information on our website is given in good faith and has been carefully checked but QMUL cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions. QMUL is not responsible for the content or reliability of the linked websites which are provided for further information.