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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. However, you may be able to claim certain benefits at particular times of the year if you fall within the excepted group of students who can claim which includes:

Some welfare benefits have specific rules for full-time students. 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 already 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, how your student finance is assessed as income plus, if you are claiming legacy benefits, template letters for you to use to notify your benefit offices about changes to your claim through the academic year. If you are claiming Universal Credit, don't use a template letter. Instead any change of circumstances will need to be reported to your case manager and/or uploaded into your online journal.


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. Contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service for more information.

Note: The current rules on eligibility for welfare benefits apply to EU/EEA and Swiss nationals who move to the UK before the end of the transition period (31 December 2020). The rules will be different for people who move to the UK after that date. We will update this page and also our EU/EEA webpages when more information is available.  


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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