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Welfare Benefits & Tax Credits

Welfare Benefits & Tax Credits

Am I eligible to claim welfare benefits?

Most full-time undergraduate students cannot claim welfare benefits. This is because once you become a full-time student your eligibility for benefits will cease, unless you fall within the excepted group of students who can claim certain benefits at particular times of the year which includes:

If you were previously claiming welfare benefits such as Universal Credit solely due to low income and you do not belong to any of the above categories, you will not be able to continue to claim once you start your full-time studies, as the benefit rules do not allow this. You will need to notify your Universal Credit work coach through your online journal that you are a full-time student and your claim will be reassessed. 

Some welfare benefits have specific rules for full-time students who are eligible to claim them. For example, whether or not you can get welfare benefits as a full-time student with a disability or illness will depend on how long you have been disabled or ill, how your disability affects you on a daily basis and what other income you have.

Which benefits can I claim?

If you meet the basic eligibility rules as a new claimant, you may be eligible for Universal Credit (UC).

If you are claiming so-called legacy benefits like Job Seekers' Allowance (JSA), Income Support (IS), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Housing Benefit (HB) and Tax Credits, your eligibility for these may continue or you might be required to claim Universal Credit (UC), depending on your personal circumstances, for example, where you live or whether you have a disablity or dependent children. 

Please see the section below ‘Where can I get more detailed information about benefits?’

Claiming benefits while you are a student can be complicated as your Student Finance income will normally affect your claim for means-tested benefits. How much benefit you get will depend on what income is counted in the assessment of your welfare benefits under the relevant welfare benefits rules. You must tell each of the offices that pay your benefit(s) about your Student Finance income as well as any other sources of income you have.

Where can I get more detailed information about benefits?

If you are a lone parent or have a disability or ongoing health condition, you may find it useful to read the Advice and Counselling Service’s advice guides and web pages Students with Children and Extra Money for Disability and Ill Health. These provide detailed information about each welfare benefit including how your student finance is assessed as income, as your student income will normally reduce the amout of benefit payable.  

If you think you might be eligible to claim welfare benefits and need advice about your options, contact a Welfare Adviser. 


Like most UK students, you cannot normally claim welfare benefits while studying full time. As an EU national studying in the UK, you are legally required to support yourself financially without relying on social assistance. For most welfare benefits, you must show that you have lived in the UK for a certain length of time before you can claim. For more information see the Welfare Benefits section of our Rights in the UK webpage. Contact a Welfare Adviser if you need advice about your eligibility for welfare benefits. 



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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