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Tax Credits and Universal Credit

Tax Credits and Universal Credit

Child Tax Credit is paid to people with responsibility for a child under 16, or under 20 if they are in non-advanced education or approved training. It is paid by HM Revenue and Customs, in addition to Child Benefit. If you get the maximum Child Tax Credit, your child will get free school meals.

It has been replaced by Universal Credit for most new claimants.

You might be eligible to continue your claim until you are migrated to UC.

For information about tax credits see:

Tax credits are means tested but most types of student finance are ignored.


If you are working for more than 16 hours per week you may also be able to continue to claim Working Tax Credit. See

It has been replaced by Universal Credit for most new claimants.

If you are a lone parent working at least 16 hours per week or a couple with responsibility for a child and you both work (for 24 hours in total with one person working for at least 16 hours) you may be able to continue to get extra help through working tax credit with your childcare costs. Most undergraduate students are better off claiming the Student Finance England Childcare Grant. Contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service if you think you qualify for both grants. 

Warning: International students must not claim tax credits or universal credit as they are public funds: student immigration permission prohibits the claiming of public funds.

Tax Credits are being replaced by Universal Credit.

To be eligible for Universal Credit,  you must meet certain basic qualifying conditions applicable to most welfare benefits. In addition you must not be in education – unless

    • You are responsible for a child,
    • In addition, you (and your partner if you are making a ‘joint claim’) must not have capital of more than £16,000 and any earnings or income you have must not be too high for any universal credit to be paid. 
To qualify for universal credit, you usually need to meet certain extensive work-related conditions, known as ‘requirements’. These are recorded in a claimant commitment’. You are likely to incur sanctions (where your universal credit is reduced or cancelled) if you fail to meet a work-related requirement. But in certain circumstances none of the work-related requirements will apply to you and this could make studying and claiming universal credit possible. This will be the case if you:
    • are responsible for a child under the age of one; or are responsible for a child or qualifying young person and you are getting Student Finance as a full time student (but during the summer period you will need to meet work requirements). 

      If you, and any partner, are working, or you’re due to start work, and you’re claiming Universal Credit, you can claim back up to 85% of your eligible childcare costs for children under 16. You could get up to £646 a month for one child, or £1,108 for two or more.

      You can use it to help pay:

      • Registered childminders, nurseries, and nannies
      • Registered after-school clubs and playschemes
      • Registered schools
      • Home careworkers working for a registered home care agency

      Universal Credit is being phased in over the next few years. It will replace a number of existing benefits, including tax credits. Whether you can claim will depend on where you live and your personal circumstances. If you are already receiving tax credits then you don't need to do anything now. 

You can claim Universal Credit online

Some EEA nationals can claim tax credits and universal credit if you satisfy certain residence conditions.
You can't usually claim help with childcare from Student Finanace England, Universal Credit, tax credits or Tax-Free Childcare at the same time.
Please see a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service for further advice.

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.

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