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STUDENTS WITH CHILDREN

If you are a parent or about to become one, you may be eligible for extra financial support depending on your circumstances. This page explains what financial help you might get from student finance (UK government student support), welfare benefits or Queen Mary University of London, if you meet the eligibility criteria for these different types of funding, depending on your individual circumstances.

It can often be useful to discuss your options with a Welfare Adviser, especially if you have specific questions about your circumstances.

If you are an international student click here for helpful information for international students with children.

You can also look at the Queen Mary information for pregnant students which explains factors to consider such as taking time out of your studies, submitting Extenuating Circumstances if you are unable to sit exams or complete coursework, and what exam support you may be entitled to. 

 


If you or your partner are pregnant, your eligibility for additional student finance, supplementary grants and most welfare benefits will only begin once your baby is born. There is more information about funding in the sections below.

Whilst you are pregnant, you are eligible for free NHS prescriptions and free dental care. You might also qualify for Healthy Start food vouchers. The Money Advice webpage explains more about these and how to claim them. If you are pregnant but have also been working, you might also qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance. If your partner is pregnant, you may qualify for Paternity Pay. See the Money Advice webpage for more information. Maternity Action also has a helpline you can call for advice about your entitlements as well as information sheets you can download.

You might also qualify for Maternity/Paternity Pay if you are a postgraduate student getting Research Council funding or Queen Mary University funding. If you have specific questions, please contact the Research Degrees Office directly. There is general information on interrupting your studies including due to maternity/paternity on the research degrees office web pages

Depending on when your baby is due, you may need to consider interrupting your studies. There is information about this in our advice guides:

If you do not wish to interrupt your studies, another option may be to switch to part time study - see the section 'I'm a part-time student with children' below for advice about your options.

Please also see the information on MyQMUL for pregnant students. 


Government student support

Undergraduates

If you are a Home/EU full-time undergraduate parent eligible for a Tuition Fee Loan and student finance for living costs from your funding authority, you can apply for income assessed student finance supplementary grants, depending on your circumstances. These are the Adults Dependants’ Grant, Parents’ Learning Allowance and the Childcare Grant – see the 'Supplementary grants' section of our student finance advice guides for more information about who can apply, and how much the grants are worth:

If you start your course from September 2019, you might be eligible for more Maintenance Loan if you meet the qualifying criteria as set out in the above 2016 onwards starters advice guide. This is normally where you are personally eligibe for certain welfare benefits. If your non-student partner is the benefit claimant for your family, you will not be eligible for the additional Maintenance Loan. If you are claiming Universal Credit, contact a Welfare Adviser for advice about your eligibility for the additional Maintenance Loan. The maximum Maintenance Loan for students who meet the eligibility criteria to claim welfare benefits in 2019-20 is £12,729 (if you live away from home and study in London) and £8,882 if you live at home. Part of the loan for living costs is paid as a 'special support' loan for books, childcare, travel and equipment.

If you started your course before 2016, you may be also eligible for a Special Support Grant rather than a Maintenance Grant if you are personally eligible for certain benefits. If your non-student partner is the benefit claimant for your family, you will not meet the eligibility criteria for the Special Support Grant. The pre-2016 starters advice guide sets out the eligibility criteria. If you qualify for the Special Support Grant, there will be no deduction from your Maintenance Loan as there is with the Maintenance Grant.

Medical and dental students in NHS funded years of their course may be eligible to claim NHS additional allowances. These include Dependants' Allowance, Parents' Learning Allowance and Childcare Allowance. See our Funding for Medical and Dental students advice guide for more information.

If you are married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting, your partner’s income will normally be used in the student finance household income assessment rather than parental income.

If, however, you are under 25 years old or your first child is born after the first day of an academic year of your course and you are co-habiting, the household income assessment will usually be based on your parent’s income, not your partner’s until the following academic year.

EU students with children who are only getting the EU Fee Loan are not eligible for supplementary grants for dependants, but some EU nationals are eligible for student finance for living costs as set out in our advice guides:

Contact a Welfare Adviser if you are an EU national and would like advice about your eligibility for student finance for living costs.

You may also find it useful to refer to our EU Settlement Scheme guidance for EU/EEA nationals 

Postgraduate students

If you are a home/EU postgraduate student you might be eligible for a UK government Master's Loan of up to:

  • £10,909 for students starting in 2019-20
  • £10,609 for students starting in 2018-19
  • £10,280 for students starting in 2017-18
  • £10,000 for students starting in 2016-17

However there there is no provision in the new scheme for additional supplementary grants to help cover child-related costs. See our Postgraduate Funding advice guide for more information about the new loans. 

The government has also introduced Doctoral Loans for home/EU research degree students totalling up to:

  • £25,700 for students stating in 2019-20
  • £25,000 for students starting in 2018-19

See our Postgraduate Funding advice guide for more details about eligibility, payments and interest rates on Doctoral loans. 

Contact a Welfare Adviser if you need advice about your eligibility for a Master's or Doctoral Loan. You may also find it helpful to refer to our EU Settlement Scheme guidance for EU/EEA nationals.

Welfare Benefits

Universal Credit (UC) is a new 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, Job Seekers Allowance, Housing Benefit, and Tax Credits. Your non-student partner would normally claim for you as a couple and would make one online claim for your living costs, housing and dependent children. There is a standard allowance plus other 'elements' - for example for children, childcare, housing and caring and also be an element for those with limited capability for work. The amount you could get will depend on your own circumstances. It is paid monthly in arrears.

If you qualify, your monthly payment will cover everyone in your family who qualifies for support such as your partner and/or children. For more details see: https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit

There are other eligibility rules which we do not explain here, which you must satisfy and which vary depending on the benefit – they relate to your residence in the UK, the amount of any savings you have, your income, etc. If you are unsure about your eligibility and would like detailed advice, please contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service.

If you start your course from 2019 onwards and you meet the criteria for extra Maintenance Loan, a 'special support' loan element (up to £3,783 in 2019-20) is not taken into account as income by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) when calculating your Universal Credit. Undergraduate students who started their course before 2016 who are eligible for the Special Support Grant rather than the Maintenance Grant will not have this grant counted as income in the assessment of their welfare benefits.

Payments from Disabled Students’ Allowance are also ignored in a benefit assessment.

Postgraduate students in receipt of a grant or loan for living costs (except for a UK government Master's or Doctoral Loan - see next paragraph) which could be a scholarship, or stipend will have any amount that is paid for tuition fees or course costs including books and equipment ignored as income in the assessment of their welfare benefits. However, any amount of grant or loan paid for living costs will be treated as income. You should divide the total amount of grant or loan over the period for which it is paid (the number of weeks of your course) to reach a weekly amount of grant or loan that will be treated as income within a benefit assessment. For example if you receive a monthly stipend for 12 months, the total annual amount will be divided by 52 weeks.

The UK government Master's Loan and Doctoral Loans are treated as a contribution towards costs rather than a loan exclusively for tuition fees or living costs. 30% of the maximum Master's or Doctoral Loan that you are eligible for will be taken into account as income for your means-tested benefits. This means that if you choose not to take a Master's Loan or Doctoral Loan where you are eligible, this amount will still be taken into account as income and will reduce your welfare benefits entitlement.

The accordion sections below, 'Universal Credit' and 'How will my student income affect the amount of welfare benefits I get?' provide a detailed explanation of Universal Credit. 

 


Government student support

Undergraduates

If you start your course on or after September 2019, you should be eligible for more Maintenance Loan on the basis you and your partner are both full-time students with responsibility for a child. Our Undergraduate Funding: 2016 onwards starters advice guide explains more about this in the 'Maintenance Loan' and 'Students eligible for welfare benefits' sections. The maximum Maintenance Loan for students with an underlying eligibility to claim welfare benefits in 2019-20 is £12,729 (if you live away from home and study in London) and £8,882 if you live at home. Part of the loan for living costs is paid as a 'special support' loan for books, childcare, travel and equipment.

If you started your course before 2016, you should be eligible for a Special Support Grant rather than a Maintenance Grant if both you and your partner are full-time students with responsibility for a child. The main advantage of this is that there will be no deduction from your Maintenance Loan as there is with the Maintenance Grant. See our Undergraduate Funding: pre-2016 starters advice guide for more information.

In addition to your individual student finance Tuition Fee Loans and Maintenance Loans (and Special Support Grant if you started your course before September 2016) you can apply for student finance supplementary grants which are the Adults Dependants’ Grant, Parents’ Learning Allowance and the Childcare Grant. Although both of you can claim the Parents' Learning Allowance, only one of you can claim the student finance Childcare Grant. See the above funding guides for more information about these.

Medical and dental students in NHS funded years of their course may be eligible to claim NHS additional allowances. These include Dependants' Allowance, Parents' Learning Allowance, Childcare Allowance and Disabled Students Allowance. See our Funding for Medical and Dental students advice guide for more information.

If you are married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting, your partner’s income will normally be used in the assessment of the student finance household income. If however, you are under 25 or your first child is born after the first day of an academic year of your course and you are cohabiting, the household income assessment will be based on your parent’s income, not your partner’s until the following academic year.

EU students with children who are only getting the EU Fee Loan are not eligible for undergraduate student finance for living costs or supplementary grants such as the Adults Dependants’ Grant, Parents’ Learning Allowance and Childcare Grant. Some EU nationals are eligible for student finance for living costs as set out in our advice guides:

Contact a Welfare Adviser if you are an EU national and would like advice about your eligibility for student finance for living costs.

You may also find it helpful to refer to our EU Settlement Scheme guidance for EU/EEA nationals

Postgraduates

If you are a home/EU postgraduate student, you may be eligible for a UK government Masters Loan of:

  • £10,909 for students startingin 2019-20
  • £10,609 for students starting in 2018-19
  • £10,280 for students starting in 2017-18
  • £10,000 for students starting in 2016-17

The UK government has also introduced Doctoral Loans totalling up to: 

  • £25,700 for students starting in 2019-20
  • £25,000 for students starting in 2018-10

There is no provision in the new scheme for additional supplementary grants to help cover child-related costs. See our Postgraduate Funding guide for more information.

Postgraduate students in receipt of a grant or loan for living costs which could be a scholarship, stipend or PCDL will have any amount that is paid for tuition fees or course costs including books and equipment ignored as income in the assessment of their welfare benefits.

Payments from Disabled Students' Allowance are also ignored.

However, any amount of grant or loan paid for living costs will be treated as income (except for the Master's Loan or Doctoral Loan - see below). You should divide the total amount of grant or loan over the period for which it is paid (the number of weeks of your course) to reach a weekly amount of grant or loan that will be treated as income within a benefit assessment. For example, if you receive a monthly stipend for 12 months, the total annual amount will be divided by 52 weeks.

The Master's and Doctoral Loans are treated as a contribution towards costs rather than as a loan exclusively for tuition fees or living costs. 30% of the maximum Master's Loan and Doctoral Loan that you are eligible for under the Master's or Doctoral Loans Scheme will be taken into account as income for your means-tested benefits. We understand this means that if you choose not to take a Master's Loan or Doctoral Loan where you are eligible, this amount will still be taken into account.

Contact a Welfare Adviser if you need advice about your eligibility for a Master's or Doctoral Loan. You may also find it helpful to refer to our EU Settlement Scheme guidance for EU/EEA nationals.

 

Welfare Benefits

Universal Credit (UC) is a new 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, Job Seekers Allowance, Housing Benefit, and Tax Credits. You will make one online claim as a couple for your living costs, housing and dependent children. Your claim 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. It is paid monthly in arrears.

 

If you qualify, your monthly payment will cover everyone in your family who qualifies for support. 'Family' would include your partner and children. For more details see: https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit

 

There are other eligibility rules which we do not explain here, which you must satisfy and which vary depending on the benefit – they relate to your residence in the UK, the amount of any savings you have, your income.  Claiming UC, especially for the first time, can seem daunting. If you are unsure about your eligibility and would like detailed advice, please contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service.

If you start your course from 2019 onwards and you meet the criteria for extra Maintenance Loan, a 'special support' loan element (up to £3,783 in 2019-20) is not taken into account as income by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) when calculating your means-tested benefits. If you started your course before 2016 and are eligible for the Special Support Grant rather than the Maintenance Grant, the Special Support Grant is not counted as income in the assessment of your welfare benefits.

The accordion sections below, 'Universal Credit' and 'How will my student income affect the amount of welfare benefits I get?' provide more detail on Universal Credit.


Student Support

Undergraduates

Lone parents can expect to be eligible for the maximum amount of student finance for their cohort ie. the rate applicable to the year they start their course.

If you start your course from September 2019, you should qualify for more Maintenance Loan on the basis of being a lone parent. The maximum Maintenance Loan for students with an underlying eligibility to claim welfare benefits, which includes lone parents, in 2019-20 is £12,729 (if you live away from home and study in London) and £8,882 if you live at home. Part of the loan for living costs is paid as a 'special support' loan for books, childcare, travel and equipment. If you started your course before 2016, you can claim the student finance Special Support Grant rather than the Maintenance Grant on the basis you are a lone parent. The main advantage of getting the Special Support Grant is that there will be no deduction from your Maintenance Loan as there is with the Maintenance Grant, and also the Special Support Grant is not treated as income in the assessent of your welfare benefits. See the relevant Undergraduate Funding advice guide for more information:

Undergraduate lone parents can apply for student finance supplementary grants from their funding authority in addition to a Tuition Fee Loan and a Maintenance Loan (and Special Support Grant if you started your course prior to September 2016). These are the Adult Dependants’ Grant, Parents’ Learning Allowance and Childcare Grant. The above guides explain more about how to apply for these and what extra financial help you could get.

Medical and dental students in NHS funded years of their course may be eligible to claim NHS additional allowances. These include 'Allowance, Parents' Learning Allowance, Childcare Allowance and Disabled Students Allowance. See our Funding for Medical and Dental students advice guide for more information

EU students with children who are only getting an EU Fee Loan will not be eligible for undergraduate student finance for living costs or supplementary grants such as the Adults Dependants’ Grant, Parents’ Learning Allowance and Childcare Grant. However, some EU nationals are eligible for student finance for living costs as set out in our advice guides:

Contact a Welfare Adviser if you are an EU national and would like advice about your eligibility for student finance for living costs. You may also find it helpful to refer to our EU Settlement Scheme guidance for EU/EEA nationals.

Postgraduates

There are no equivalent supplementary grants such as the Adult Dependants’ Grant, Parents’ Learning Allowance and Childcare grant for postgraduate student lone parents.

If you are a home/EU postgraduate lone parent, you might be eligible for a UK government Master's Loan of up to:

  • £10,909 for students starting in 2019-20
  • £10,609 for students starting in 2018-19
  • £10,280 for students starting in 2017-18
  • £10,000 for students starting in 2016-17

The UK government has also introduced Doctoral Loans totalling up to:

  • £25,700 for students starting in 2019-20
  • £25,000 for students starting in 2018-19

Unlike undergraduate student finance living costs support, there is no provision in the new scheme for additional supplementary grants to help cover child-related costs.

Our Postgraduate Funding advice guide explains more about Master's and Doctoal Loans.

Postgraduate lone parent students in receipt of a grant or loan for living costs which could be a scholarship or stipend, will have any amount that is paid for tuition fees or course costs including books and equipment ignored as income in the assessment of their welfare benefits.However, any amount of grant or loan (except for the UK government Master's Loan or Doctoral Loan - see below) paid for living costs will be treated as income. You should divide the total amount of grant or loan over the period for which it is paid (the number of weeks of your course) to reach a weekly amount of grant or loan that will be treated as income within a benefit assessment. For example if you receive a monthly stipend for 12 months, the total annual amount will be divided by 52 weeks.

The Master's Loan and Doctoral Loans are treated as a contribution towards course costs rather than as a loan exclusively for tution fees or living costs. 30% of the maximum Master's Loan and Doctoral Loan that you are eligible for will be taken into account as income for your means-tested benefits. We understand this means that if you choose not to take a Master's Loan or Doctoral Loan where you are eligible, this amount will still be taken int account.

Payments from Disabled Students’ Allowance are also ignored.

Contact a Welfare Adviser if you need advice about your eligibility for a Master's or Doctoral Loan. You may also find it helpful to refer to our EU Settlement Scheme guidance for EU/EEA nationals.

Welfare Benefits

Universal Credit (UC) is a new 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, Job Seekers Allowance, Housing Benefit, and 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. It is paid monthly in arrears.

If you qualify, your monthly payment will cover everyone in your family who qualifies for support, so  you and yuor children. For more details see: https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit

There are other eligibility rules which we do not explain here, which you must satisfy and which vary depending on the benefit – they relate to your residence in the UK, the amount of any savings you have, your income, etc. Claiming UC, especially for the first time, can seem daunting. If you are unsure about your eligibility and would like detailed advice, please contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service.

If you start your course from 2016 onwards and you meet the criteria for extra maintenance loan, a 'special support' loan element (up to £3,783 in 2019-20) is not taken into account as income by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) when calculating your means-tested benefits. Undergraduate students who started their course before 2016 who are eligible for the Special Support Grant rather than the Maintenance Grant will not have this grant counted as income in the assessment of their welfare benefits.

The accordion sections below, 'Universal Credit' and 'How will my student income affect the amount of welfare benefits I get?' provide more detail about claiming Universa Credit.


Undergraduate students

Queen Mary University does not currently offer part-time undergraduate courses. However, Queen Mary postgraduates can opt to undertake part-time study from the outset, which enables them to successfully combine study, work and childcare.  Also, if you begin a course in full-time mode, your academic school may allow you to switch to part-time mode if you have compelling personal reasons, which would allow you to complete your studies at a pace you can more easily manage rather than having to interrupt your studies.  for advice about how switching to a part-time mode of study will impact on your student finance and your academic school for advice about your academic options. 

Postgraduate students

If you are a home/EU postgraduate student you might be eligible for a total UK government Master's Loan of up to:

  • £10,909 for students starting in 2019-20
  • £10,609 for students starting in 2018-19
  • £10,280 for students starting in 2017-18
  • £10,000 for students starting in 2016-17

The government has also introduced Doctoral Loans for home/EU research degree students totalling up to:

  • £25,700 for students stating in 2019-20
  • £25,000 for students starting in 2018-19

See our Postgraduate Funding advice guide for more details about eligibility, payments and interest rates on Doctoral loans. 

Contact a Welfare Adviser if you need advice about your eligibility for a Master's or Doctoral Loan. You may also find it helpful to refer to our EU Settlement Scheme guidance for EU/EEA nationals.

The total loan will be paid in three instalments across each academic year of your course. For all courses except some distance learning courses, Queen Mary Fees Office will align loan payments with Master's loan and Doctoral Loan payments from Student Finance England. However, if your loan payments will not cover the total tuition fee instalment you owe, you will need to make up the difference. Contact a Welfare Adviser if you need advice about managing your fee payments or you can contact the Fees Office directly fees@qmul.ac.uk.

There there is no provision in the new scheme for additional supplementary grants to help cover child-related costs. See our  advice guide for more information about the new loans. 

For information about changes to your studies, including about tuition fee liability on interruption and resumption of studies, see our Postgraduate Funding advice guide

Welfare Benefits

Universal Credit (UC) is a new 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, Job Seekers Allowance, Housing Benefit, and Tax Credits. You will make one online claim for your living costs, housing and dependent children. There is a standard allowance plus other 'elements' - for example for children, childcare, housing and caring and also be an element for those with limited capability for work. The amount you could get will depend on your own circumstances. It is paid monthly in arrears.

If you qualify, your monthly payment will cover everyone in your family who qualifies for support such as your partner and/or children. For more details see: https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit

There are other eligibility rules which we do not explain here, which you must satisfy and which vary depending on the benefit – they relate to your residence in the UK, the amount of any savings you have, your income, etc. If you are unsure about your eligibility and would like detailed advice, please contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service.

If you start your course from 2019 onwards and you meet the criteria for extra Maintenance Loan, a 'special support' loan element (up to £3,783 in 2019-20) is not taken into account as income by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) when calculating your Universal Credit. Undergraduate students who started their course before 2016 who are eligible for the Special Support Grant rather than the Maintenance Grant will not have this grant counted as income in the assessment of their welfare benefits.

Payments from Disabled Students’ Allowance are also ignored in a benefit assessment.

Postgraduate students in receipt of a grant or loan for living costs (except for a UK government Master's or Doctoral Loan - see next paragraph) which could be a scholarship, or stipend will have any amount that is paid for tuition fees or course costs including books and equipment ignored as income in the assessment of their welfare benefits. However, any amount of grant or loan paid for living costs will be treated as income. You should divide the total amount of grant or loan over the period for which it is paid (the number of weeks of your course) to reach a weekly amount of grant or loan that will be treated as income within a benefit assessment. For example if you receive a monthly stipend for 12 months, the total annual amount will be divided by 52 weeks.

The UK government Master's Loan and Doctoral Loans are treated as a contribution towards costs rather than a loan exclusively for tuition fees or living costs. 30% of the maximum Master's or Doctoral Loan that you are eligible for will be taken into account as income for your means-tested benefits. This means that if you choose not to take a Master's Loan or Doctoral Loan where you are eligible, this amount will still be taken into account as income and will reduce your welfare benefits entitlement.

The accordion sections below, 'Universal Credit' and 'How will my student income affect the amount of welfare benefits I get?' provide a detailed explanation of Universal Credit. 

 

 


It is no longer possible to make a new claim for legacy benefits such as Housing Benefit, Employment and Support Allowance or Income Support. All new claims must be for Universal Credit.

Claiming Universal Credit as a full or part-time student can sometimes be difficult as this is a complex area of welfare benefit legislation, so do not hesitate to contact a Welfare Adviser for advice at any stage of the process including applying, delays, overpayments, suspensions and appealing negative decisions. There is usually a time limit of one month for you provide new information or appeal a decision so get advice as soon as possible. Once you have checked the accordion pages which are relevant to your circumstances above, if you think you may be eligible for Universal Credit, you can start your claim here: Universal Credit

Some elements of Universal Credit are income assessed and some are not. In the following sections we explain how your undergraduate or postgraduate income affects your benefit entitlement. We also highlight the importance of informing your individual casework manager each time your circumstances change so you can avoid the risk of a benefit overpayment you will be asked to repay. If you are claiming legacy benefits like Housing Benefit, Employment and Support Allowance or Income Support, you can adapt the letters in the 'Template welfare benefit letters' section below to help you notify your benefits office of changes in your circumstances. 

Each time you make a new benefit claim or you inform your casework manager or benefit office of a change of circumstances, you should be able to view your new entitlement in your online account or receive a new notification through the post.  


Content

What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a new means-tested benefit that is replacing all the following means-tested benefits for most new claimants:

  • Child Tax Credit;
  • Housing Benefit;
  • (Income-related) Employment and Support Allowance(ESA);
  • (Income-related) Jobseeker's Allowance;
  • Income Support; and
  • Working Tax Credit

Other benefits (e.g. Personal Independence Payment) will remain largely unchanged by the new system.

Universal Credit is being rolled out across the UK and those on the old style benefits will be migrated onto Universal Credit

Who can claim Universal Credit?

To be eligible for Universal Credit, you must meet certain basic qualifying conditions applicable to most welfare benefits. These include:

  • you are responsible for a child, or;
  • you have regular and substantial caring responsibilities for a severely disabled person, or;
  • you have taken time out from your course because of illness or caring responsibilites which have ended and you are waiting to return to your course but you are not eligible for a grant or a loan.
  • you have a limited capability for work

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. 

How do you claim?

You can claim Universal Credit online https://www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit.

Joint claims

If you have a partner (including a same-sex partner), you must normally make a ‘joint claim’ for Universal Credit. In a joint claim, you and your partner must usually meet all the basic qualifying conditions above. However, you and your partner may still be entitled to Universal Credit as joint claimants if one of you is in full-time education (as long as you both satisfy all the other basic qualifying conditions).

Your responsibilities

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.

When do none of the work-related requirements apply?

In certain circumstances, none of the work-related requirements will apply to you. This will be the case if you:

  • have been assessed in the work capability assessment as having a ‘limited capability for work and work-related activity’; or
  • 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); or
  • have regular and substantial caring responsibilities for a severely disabled person.
  • have been assessed in the work capability assessment as having a ‘limited capability for work and work-related activity’;  

The work-related activity group

If you are put in this group, you have to adhere to strict work-related conditions in order to continue receiving the benefit in full. This will include attending work-focused interviews and possibly undertaking work-related activities.

The work-related requirements

There are four different types of requirement. Your circumstances will determine which of these applies to you.

The work-focused interview requirement

This is a requirement that you take part in one or more work-focused interviews. These are designed to assess your prospects and assist or encourage you to move into or stay in work.

The work-preparation requirement

This is a requirement that you take action to improve your chances of getting work. This can include taking part in training or an employment programme or undertaking work experience.

The work-search requirement

Here you are required to take all reasonable action to obtain paid work (or more work if you are already working part time). This can include: searching for work;applying for jobs;creating and maintaining an online profile;registering with employment agencies; and seeking references. You will be expected to search for work for a minimum amount of time each week. This is usually set at a minimum of 35 hours, although the department for work and pensions (DWP) may agree to a reduced time if you have caring responsibilities or a physical or mental impairment or if you are already working part-time.

The work-availability requirement

You are normally required to be able and willing to take up paid work (or more work if you are already working part time) immediately; you must also be able and willing to attend a job interview immediately.

However, the DWP can allow you up to one month to take up paid work, and up to 48 hours to attend a job interview, if you are caring for a child or someone with a ‘physical or mental impairment’, so that you can make alternative care arrangements.

The DWP can allow you up to one week to take up paid work, and up to 48 hours to attend a job interview, if you are carrying out voluntary work.

The CAB website has useful advice about checking your work-related requirements are correct based on your childcare responsibilites and being a student in higher education. 

How much is Universal Credit?

The amount of Universal Credit you are paid depends on your circumstances. It is worked out on a monthly basis by comparing your financial needs with your financial resources. Set amounts for different financial needs are added together to arrive at a figure called your ‘maximum amount’. This is the basic amount the law says you need to live on each month. from this figure amounts are deducted for any earnings and other income you receive (see below). The resulting amount will be your universal credit for that month. This may be restricted by the ‘benefit cap’.  

The maximum amount

The maximum amount is made up of a ‘standard allowance’ and ‘elements’, paid to cover different needs.

The elements are:

  • child element;
  • housing costs element;
  • work capability element;
  • carer element;
  • childcare costs element.

The standard allowance

This is the basic allowance (per month), which is always included in your maximum amount. The amount you are entitled to depends on your age and whether you are claiming as a single person or jointly:

  • Single claimant aged under 25 - £251.77
  • Single claimant aged 25 or over - £317.82
  • Joint claimants both aged under 25 - £395.20
  • Joint claimants where either is aged 25 or over - £498.89 

Earnings

The calculation of your earnings is based on a net figure after tax, national insurance contributions and any contribution you make to an occupational or personal pension scheme have been deducted. Employer-paid benefits (such as statutory sick pay or statutory maternity pay) are treated as earnings. 

In some circumstance, you may be allowed to keep some of your earnings up to a certain limit before your universal credit is affected; this is known as the ‘work allowance’. earnings in excess of the work allowance that applies in your case will reduce your Universal Credit by 65 pence in the pound. 

Income other than earnings

If you have income other than earnings, such as other benefits, these will usually be taken into account in full, so that your Universal Credit is reduced pound for pound. some benefits are disregarded in full, for example Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance and Personal Independence Payment. Student Finance is counted but certain elements are disregarded.

Capital and savings

Universal Credit has a ‘lower capital limit’ and an ‘upper capital limit’. If you have savings or capital over the upper limit of £16,000, you cannot get universal credit. This figure applies if you are claiming as a single claimant or as a couple. If you have savings or capital at or below the lower limit of £6,000, your Universal Credit is unaffected.

If your capital is between these limits, it is treated as generating a monthly income of £4.35 for each £250 (or part of £250) above the lower limit of £6,000. For instance, if you have capital of £6,300, it is treated as generating a monthly income of £8.70. 

The elements

The child element

This (monthly amount) is included in your maximum amount if you are responsible for a child or qualifying young person who normally lives with you:

  • first or eldest child or qualifying young person - £277.08
  • each other child or qualifying young person - £231.67

A ‘qualifying young person’ is someone aged 16 to 18 (or 19 in some cases) who has enrolled on (or been accepted for) a course of full-time non-advanced education or approved training, who is not getting an existing means-tested benefit (such as income-related employment and support allowance) or universal credit themselves.

An additional amount is included for each child or qualifying young person who is disabled. It is set at two different levels:

A higher rate - £383.86 for a child/qualifying young person who is entitled to the highest rate of the care component of disability living allowance (DLA), the enhanced rate of the daily living component of personal independence payment (PIP) or who is certified as severely sight impaired or blind; and a lower rate - £126.11 for a child who is entitled to any other rate of DLA or PIP.

The work capability element

This is paid a two different levels as a monthly amount. It is included in your maximum amount if you have:

  • a limited capability for work - £126.11; or
  • a limited capability for work and work-related activity - £328.32

The tests for these are the same as those for the work capability assessment for employment and support allowance (the ‘limited capability for work’ and ‘limited capability for work-related activity’ assessments).

The carer element

A carer element of £160.20 is included in your maximum monthly amount if you have ‘regular and substantial caring responsibilities’ for a severely disabled person. you are considered to have such responsibilities if you are eligible for carer’s allowance, although you do not have to actually claim that allowance.

You are not normally entitled to this element as well as the work capability element (see above) if you would otherwise be eligible for both; only the highest paid element will be included in your maximum amount. however, if you have a limited capability for work and your partner is a carer, both elements could be payable.

The childcare costs element

This will be included in your maximum amount if you pay for registered child care in order to stay in work. There is no set number of hours you need to work to get this element. You will get 85% of your relevant childcare costs met, up to a maximum monthly amount of:

  • £646.35 for one child; and
  • £1108.04 for two or more children

If you are claiming jointly, your partner must also be in paid work, unless they are unable to look after the child because they:

  • have a limited capability for work;
  • have  regular and substantial caring responsibilities for a severely disabled person; or
  • are temporarily absent from your household (ie are in prison, hospital or a care home).

Generally the childcare must be provided by someone who is registered for child care or an equivalent. Relevant childcare is not care provided by a close relative of the child wholly or mainly in the child’s home. You cannot get both the child care costs element of UC and the chilcare grant (CCG) from student finance.

The housing costs element

A housing costs element may be included in your maximum amount if you pay rent or have a mortgage. 

Private tenants

If you are a private tenant, your housing costs element will depend on where your home is situated and the number of rooms you are deemed to need in the same way as the current housing benefit scheme.

Deductions will be made if you have non-dependants living with you (these do not include your spouse or parnter but are are other adults that are not full-time students). 

Social housing tenants

If you are renting social housing (from your local authority or from a housing association), your housing costs element may be reduced if the property you rent is considered to be under occupied. Deductions will be made if you have non-dependants living with you.

If you are in ‘specified accommodation’ (e.g. a refuge if you are fleeing domestic violence or accommodation where care, support or supervision is provided to you), your housing support will continue to be met through housing benefit rather than universal credit.

Owner-occupiers

if you own your home, the housing costs element may cover mortgage interest on loans secured on your property. There is normally a ceiling of £200,000 on the amount of loan that can be covered; this does not apply in the case of any loan taken out for the purpose of adapting your property to the needs of a disabled person. 

There will normally be a ‘qualifying period’ of nine months before the element can be included in your Universal Credit award. you will not be entitled to the element if you are in paid work.

Discretionary housing payments

You may be able to get ‘discretionary housing payments’ (DHPS) if your Universal Credit does not cover all your housing costs and your local authority accepts that you require some further financial assistance.

You must claim a DHP from your local authority; most local authorities will have a form on which to claim. You can find these by searching at www.gov.uk/government/publications/discretionary-housing-payments-guidance-manual

The work allowance

Some of your earnings may be disregarded by applying a ‘work allowance’. this will only apply if you or your partner:

are responsible for one or more children or qualifying young people (see above); or have a limited capability for work (see above).

There are two different rates:

  • a ‘lower work allowance’ of £198; and
  • a ‘higher work allowance’ of £409.

The lower work allowance will apply if a housing costs element is included in your maximum amount (see above). If a housing costs element is not included in your maximum amount, the higher work allowance will apply instead. In each case, the same rate will apply whether you are a single claimant or claiming jointly with your partner. These are monthly figures.

The benefit cap

There is a cap on the total amount of benefits, including Universal Credit that you can claim

  • The benefit cap within greater london is:
    £296.35 per week if you are a single person (with no children)
    £442.31 per week in all other cases
  • the benefit cap will not apply if you, your partner or a dependent child are getting certain benefits, including Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment. It will also not apply if the higher level of the work capability element has been included in your Universal Credit award.

Payment of Universal Credit

Normally, your Universal Credit is paid as a single payment each month. If you have a partner; you can choose who receives the payment. Alternative payment arrangements (e.g. bi-monthly payments) would only be made if the DWP considered that you could not manage with a single monthly payment; such arrangements would usually only be made for a temporary period.
 

For more infomation see https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/universal-credit-and-you

If you or your partner have student income, it may count as income for Universal Credit.  Student loans for maintenance count as income if you could get a loan by taking 'reasonable steps', even if you chose not to apply for one. The maximum loan you could be entitled to (for a postgraduate master's or doctoral loan, 30% of the maximum) is taken into account as income. This is the case even if the loan is reduced because of assessed parental contribution, or if part of the loan is replaced by a grant. However, if you are entitled to the special support element this element should be disregarded. a special support grant should also be disregarded.

Universal Credit is paid for 'an assessment period' of one month. student income counts as income in assessment periods that fall during the course as well as the assessment period in which the course begins. Student income is ignored in the assessment period in which the last week of the course or the start of the summer vacation falls. Student income is also ignored in any other assessment period that falls completeley within the summer vacation. In each assessment period £110 of student income is ignored.

To work out how much of your student income is taken into accont:

1. Calculate your annual loan or grant (minus the special support element or SSG) or (30% for the postgraduate master's loan).

2. Work out how many assessment periods apply for the year. For most undergraduate students in 2019/20  the academic year starts on the 16th September and ends on the  29th May. This means the assessment period would start on the 16th September to the 15th October and 7 periods would count student income in the calculation. From the 15th May until the start of the next acaedmic year the 16th September, no student income would count.

3. Divide your annual student income from step one by the number of assessment periods in step 2.

4. Deduct £110.

For example, if your loan was £12,729, minus a speacial support element of £3783 this  leaves £8946 which is divded by 7 = £1278 - £110 = £1168. Uiversal Credit would be calculated on £1168 a month from 16th September 2019 to 15th May 2020. Zero would be counted from 16th May 2020 until the 15th September 2020.

To work out how much Universal Credit you might get you then add up the standard allowance (single or joint, under or over 25) and add the elements you qualify for such as 'the work capability element' and 'the housing costs element' (relevant caps apply). The difference between your counted income and your standard allowance plus elements should be the amount of Universal Credit you can recieve in each monthly assessment period.

If you were previously claiming Universal Credit prior to starting your studies at Queen Mary University, then your assessment period is likely to be different as your claim would have an earlier start date than 16th September.

As Universal Credit calcluations can be complicated, you can request that your Universal Credit casework manager provides you with an email explanation of how your award has been calculated. You need to request this within one month of receiving that month's award notification. Once you receive your caseworker's explanation, if you still have questions,  contact a Welfare Adviser who can check your Universal Credit award is correct.


Universal Credit

If you or your partner have student income, it may count as income for Universal Credit.  Student loans for maintenance count as income if you could get a loan by taking 'reasonable steps', even if you chose not to apply for one. The maximum loan you could be entitled to (for a postgraduate master's or doctoral loan, 30% of the maximum) is taken into account as income. This is the case even if the loan is reduced because of assessed parental contribution, or if part of the loan is replaced by a grant. However, if you are entitled to the special support element this element should be disregarded. a special support grant should also be disregarded.

Universal Credit is paid for 'an assessment period' of one month. Student income counts as income in assessment periods that fall during the course as well as the assessment period in which the course begins. Student income is ignored in the assessment period in which the last week of the course or the start of the summer vacation falls. Student income is also ignored in any other assessment period that falls completeley within the summer vacation. In each assessment period £110 of student income is ignored.

To work out how much of your student income is taken into accont:

1. Calculate your annual loan or grant (minus the special support element or SSG) or (30% for the postgraduate master's loan).

2. Work out how many assessment periods apply for the year. For most undergraduate students in 2019/20  the academic year starts on the 16th September and ends on the  29th May. This means the assessment period would start on the 16th September to the 15th October and 7 periods would count student income in the calculation. From the 15th May until the start of the next acaedmic year the 16th September, no student income would count.

3. Divide your annual student income from step one by the number of assessment periods in step 2.

4. Deduct £110.

For example, if your loan was £12,729, minus a speacial support element of £3783 this  leaves £8946 which is divded by 7 = £1278 - £110 = £1168. Uiversal Credit would be calculated on £1168 a month from 16th September 2019 to 15th May 2020. Zero would be counted from 16th May 2020 until the 15th September 2020.

To work out how much Universal Credit you might get you then add up the standard allowance (single or joint, under or over 25) and add the elements you qualify for such as 'the work capability element' and 'the housing costs element' (relevant caps apply). The difference between your counted income and your standard allowance plus elements should be the amount of Universal Credit you can recieve in each monthly assessment period.

If you were previously claiming Universal Credit prior to starting your studies at Queen Mary University, then your assessment period is likely to be different as your claim would have an earlier start date than 16th September.

As Universal Credit calcluations can be complicated, you can request that your Universal Credit casework manager provides you with an email explanation of how your award has been calculated. You need to request this within one month of receiving that month's award notification. Once you receive your caseworker's explanation, if you still have questions,  see a Welfare Adviser who can check your Universal Credit award is correct.

Old style welfare benefits

Undergraduates

Your student finance Maintenance Loan (see below) will be counted as income in the assessment of your welfare benefits. All other elements of student finance are ignored as income, including the Parents’ Learning Allowance, the Childcare Grant, and if you are getting it, the Disabled Students Allowance. Queen Mary University Bursary payments are also ignored as income.

If you start your course from 2019 onwards and you meet the criteria for extra Maintenance Loan, a 'special support' loan element (up to £3,783 in 2019-20) is not taken into account as income by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) when calculating your means-tested benefits. If you started your course prior to 2016 and get the Special Support Grant, this is also not counted as income in the assessment of your welfare benefits, but the Maintenance Grant is.

The Maintenance Loan (and Adult Dependants’ Grant if you are receiving this) will be counted as income for Income Support and Housing Benefit for 42 weeks (for weeks starting Monday/Saturday) or 43 weeks (for weeks starting Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday/Friday) of the year. We call these weeks ‘term-time’. However, not all of your Maintenance Loan is counted – amounts are disregarded for books and equipment (£390 in 2019-20) and for travel (£303 in 2019-20). Once these amounts have been deducted from your total annual Maintenance Loan, the remaining amount is divided by 42/43 (the number of ‘term-time’ weeks) and then a further £10 is deducted to produce an amount of Maintenance Loan which is counted as your weekly income in the benefit assessment.

‘Term-time’ has a specific meaning for Income Support and Housing Benefit:

  • New students: ‘Term-time’ starts on the first day of your course and runs until the end of the last full week in June
  • Continuing students: ‘Term-time’ starts on the first day of the first full week in September and runs until the end of the last full week in June. As your student finance will not be paid for another three weeks but your benefit(s) will stop, you can apply to Queen Mary Financial Assistance Fund (FAF) for help if this shortfall in funds will cause you financial hardship. See the Financial Help from Queen Mary University section below for advice about applying to FAF.
  • Final year students: ‘Term-time’ starts on the first day of the first full week in September and runs until the end of the week in which the academic year ends.

During the ‘summer period’ your student finance is not counted as income, so you will normally be eligible for maximum Income Support or Job Seeker’s Allowance and Housing Benefit if you have no other income. The ‘summer period’ has a specific definition for Income Support and Housing Benefit, and broadly means July and August. 

NHS Bursary holders

If you are eligible for a means tested NHS Bursary, this plus any NHS Dependants Allowances and single parent addition will be counted as income for Income Support, Job Seeker’s Allowance and Housing Benefit over the whole year (52 weeks) because they are paid in monthly instalments.

The reduced rate Maintenance Loan which you will also receive in your NHS funded years will be treated in the same way as the full rate Maintenance Loan (see above).

If you are claiming Universal Credit, see the previous accordion section 'Universal Credit'. Contact a Welfare Adviser if you need more advice.

What if I don’t get student finance or choose not to take it?

If you are eligible for student finance/NHS Bursary, it will be counted as income even if you choose not to take it. If you interrupt your studies, or you have to re-sit exams out of attendance, you will not usually be eligible for student finance. During these periods you might be able to claim Income Support or Job Seeker’s Allowance and Housing Benefit under the standard benefit rules, depending on your circumstances. You can check with a Welfare Adviser.

Postgraduates

Grant income

Grants for living costs (maintenance) and dependants’ grants are counted as income for the purpose of a benefit assessment. This includes grants, bursaries, studentships and scholarships from any source (e.g. from a Research Council, or the University).

Your total annual grant will be divided over the number of weeks for which it is paid, to reach a weekly amount of grant that will be treated as income within a benefit assessment. For example, if you receive a monthly stipend for 12 months, the total annual amount will be divided by 52 weeks. The following payments are ignored as income:

  • Disabled students’ allowance
  • Grants for tuition fees
  • Grants to pay for books and equipment
UK Government Master's Loan and Doctoral Loan

As the UK government Master's Loan and Doctoral Loans are paid as a contribution to overall course costs rather than specifically for tuition fees or living costs, 30% of the maximum Maste'rs Loan and Doctoral Loan that you are eligible for will be taken into account as income for your means-tested benefits by the benefits office. We understand this means that if you choose not to take a Maste'rs Loan or Doctoral Loan where you are eligible, this amount will still be taken int account.

What if I don’t have any student income?

If you are a postgraduate who does not have any student income, then you should be able to claim the maximum amounts of any benefits you are eligible for. However, if you don’t have any student income, but you are working part-time alongside your studies, your net weekly earnings are taken into account in the benefit assessment, although some of your earnings are disregarded including:

  • £25 for lone parents claiming Housing Benefit who are not claiming Income Support, income related Employment and Support Allowance, or income based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • £20 for lone parents claiming Income Support, Job Seeker’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance 
  • £20 for a student who gets a disabilty premium 
  • £20 for a student who gets a carer's premium 
  • £10 for couples whether one or both are working
  • £5 for single students

For Housing Benefit only, there are additional disregards:

  • From earnings: £17.10 for some people working 16/30 hours per week
  • From childcare costs: £175 (one child) / £300 (two or more children) for
    • lone parents who are working
    • couples who are both working
    • couples where one is working and one is incapacitated/in hospital/in prison

If you need advice about how your student income affects your welfare benefits, contact a Welfare Adviser.

 


Welfare Benefits

Undergraduates

If you are an undergraduate student who is normally in receipt of welfare benefits like Housing Benefit or Income Support you need to notify each of the offices that pays your benefits separately when you first become a full student, when you cease being in full-time attendance at the beginning of the summer vacation period and when you start full-time attendance again in September. The reason for this is that your welfare benefits will need to be reassessed whenever your circumstances change, so you are not paid too little or too much benefit. Broadly speaking, undergraduate students should be eligible for full benefit during the summer vacation and reduced benefit during term time once your student finance has been treated as income.

You can adapt the letters in the next section 'Template Welfare Benefit letters' and send these to your benefit office(s) together with any other evidence. It is usually a good idea to keep copies of any letters you send or, if you hand them in to your local office, request a receipt confirming what you have handed in. If you are posting important documents, you might wish to consider using special delivery post so you can track delivery. If you are in receipt of Universal Credit, as this is designed to be an online system, you should contact your indvidual casework manager in writing and upload any relevant documents via your online account to advise them of any change in your circumstances.

Postgraduates

If you are a postgraduate student in receipt of a stipend or scholarship, you will only need to notify your Universal Credit casework manager of the date you start and stop becoming a full-time student. As you will not have a summer vacation, if you are eligible for benefits under the standard benefit rules and getting a stipend or scholarship, the amount should stay the same for the whole year.

If you are still getting benefits like Housing Benefit or Income Support you can adapt the letter in the next section 'Template Welfare Benefit letters' and send these to your benefit office(s). It is usually a good idea to keep copies of any letters you send or, if you hand them in to your local office, request a receipt confirming what you have handed in. If you are posting important documents, you might wish to consider using special delivery post so you can track delivery.

Once you have started your course at Queen Mary University, both undergraduate and postgraduate students can request a Student status letter from the Student Enquiry Centre, Ground Floor, Queen’s building, to provide to your casework manager or to the relevant benefits office(s) as confirmation of course start and end dates. However, you will still need to provide evidence of your student finance notification, postgraduate stipend or scholarship so that an income assessment can be undertaken.

Any student income you are receiving will be counted as income until the official end date of your programme. You will need to provide your Universal Credit casework manager or each of the offices that pay you old-style benefits such as Housing Benefit or Income Support with written notification of your change of circumstances. At the end of your programme, you will also need to let them know the end date of your final academic year. You can get a letter confirming this from the Student Enquiry Centre, ground floor Queen’s Building, Mile End campus or from the Student Office at Whitechapel. Postgraduate research students should contact the Research Degrees Office, Room 213, 2nd Floor, Graduate Centre. 

If you fail to notify your casework manager or a benefit office of a relevant change in your circumstances, this may result in an overpayment, which you might be asked to repay, once the error is identified. If you have a welfare benefit overpayment which you cannot afford to repay, contact a Welfare Adviser for advice about your options. There is also usually a strict one month deadline for challenging welfare benefit decisions, so it is important to get advice as soon as possible.

Student Finance

If you decide to interrupt your studies close to a student finance or stipend payment period, you might accrue an overpayment of student finance or other funding you will be asked to repay. For advice about your options, see our advice guides:

If you need to interrupt your studies, but cannot get out of your childcare contract, contact a Welfare Adviser for advice about your options.


As we explain in the previous section, you need to notify each of the benefit offices which pay your benefits whenever your circumstances change, so that your benefit can be correctly reassessed and to minimise the risk you will have an overpayment you will be asked to repay - see the template letters below which you can adapt to your individual circumstances. If you are claiming Universal Credit, you should notify your individual casework manager and upload the letter(s) into your online journal.

If you will not be receiving any student finance or other student income, you will still need to let the benefit office know when become a full-time student as this will constitute a change of circumstances.

If you are an undergraduate, will need to notify the benefits office at three points:

  • when you start your course at Queen Mary University of LondonQueen Mary University of London as a new student
  • when you start your summer vacation
  • when you resume your course in September

If you are a postgraduate, you will only need to notify the benefits office when you start your course at Queen Mary as a new student. As we explain in the previous 'Changes of circumstances and overpayments' section, postgraduate students will not have a summer vacation so their benefit entitlement should stay the same throughout the year.

In addition to the above-mentioned periods, it is helpful for both undergraduate and postgraduate students to inform each of the offices that pay their benefits if they interrupt their studies and also once they finish their course. The Student Enquiry Centre, Ground Floor, Queen's Buillding can provide letters confirming an interruption or completion of course.

If you are an undergraduate student interrupting your studies, you are not eligible for student finance beyond the date of your interruption. However, if you interrupt due to health grounds, you should automatically receive an extra 60 days' of student finance. If you have compelling personal reasons for interrupting, it may be possible for you to receive extra student finance in addtion to the standard entitlement or beyond the extra 60 days. There is more information about applying for discretionary student finance in our 'Resitting, interrupting, leaving your course' advice guide. Contact a Welfare Adviser if you need advice about interrupting your studies and/or applying for discretionary funding.

If you are a postgraduate student who needs to interrupt, see our 'Postgraduate Funding' advice guide for more information.

Here are three template letters you can personalise according to your individual circumstances. Where you see a * you will need to choose one option and delete the others according to your circumstances. If you are getting two different benefits eg. Income Support and Housing Benefit, you will need to write two separate letters to the Income Support and Housing Benefit offices.

**Do not use these letters if you are claiming Universal Credit but contact your casework manager and follow their instructions regarding notifying them of changes to your circumstances**

1. New student letter (to be sent just before you enrol on your course)

(Insert date here)

(Insert your claim reference number here)

Dear Sir/Madam

Re. Housing Benefit*/LHA*/Income Support*(*delete as appropriate) claim of (insert your name and address)

I am writing to inform you of a relevant change in my circumstances. I will become a full time student on 16th September 2019 at Queen Mary University of London. I will be getting student income in the form of (give the name e.g. Student Finance Maintenance Loan/Masters Loan/Doctoral Loan/University Studentship). I have attached a copy of my funding entitlement letter*/I will send you a copy of my funding entitlement letter as soon as I receive it* (*delete as appropriate).

Although I am aware that most full time students cannot claim welfare benefits, I understand that I fall into one of the excepted groups of students who can claim and I retain an underlying eligibility for Housing Benefit*/LHA*/Income Support* (*delete as appropriate). However, I also understand that some of my student income may be taken into account and that my Housing Benefit*/LHA*/Income Support* (*delete as appropriate) entitlement may be affected.

I would therefore be grateful if you could reassess my Housing Benefit*/LHA*/Income Support* (*delete as appropriate) entitlement. 

Please let me know if you require any further information

Thank you for your assistance.

Yours faithfully

 

2. Vacation letter (to be sent just before the start of the summer vacation)

(Insert date here)

(Insert your claim reference number here)

Dear Sir/Madam

Re. Housing Benefit*/LHA*/Income Support*(*delete as appropriate) claim of (insert your name and address here)

I am writing to inform you of a relevant change of circumstances. My academic year has ended and I will not receive any Student Finance income during the summer vacation between 28th June and 2nd September 2019. I am therefore writing to ask you to reassess my entitlement to Housing Benefit*/LHA*/Income Support*(*delete as appropriate) for the summer period.

Thank you for your assistance.

Please let me know if you need any further information.

Yours faithfully

 

3. September letter (to be sent just before you resume your course)

(insert date here)

(insert your claim reference number here)

Dear Sir/Madam

Re. Housing Benefit*/LHA*/Income Support*(*delete as appropriate) claim of (insert your name and address)

I am writing to inform you of a relevant change of circumstances. I am returning to the (insert your year here, e.g. 2nd/3rd/4th) academic year of my course on 16th September 2019. I will be receiving Student Finance income again and I understand that this will be counted in my Housing Benefit*/Income Support*/LHA* (*delete as appropriate) assessment from 2nd September 2019 onwards - see the attached Certificate of Enrolment which confirms my year start and end dates (attach your Certificate of Enrolment which you can get from the Student Enquiry Centre).

My Maintenance Loan/Masters Loan/Doctoral Loan will be (insert amount here) and I have attached a copy of my Student Finance entitlement letter*/I will send you a copy of my Student Finance notification letter as soon as I receive it* (*delete as appropriate).

Please reassess my Housing Benefit*/Income Support*/LHA*(delete as appropriate) claim. 

Please let me know if you need any further information.

Thank you for your assistance.

Yours faithfully

It is usually a good idea to send your letters a week or two before your actual change of circumstances so that your welfare benefit claims can be (re)assessed in a timely way. If you need advice about notifying the benefit office(s) of a change in circumstances, contact a Welfare Adviser.


Financial Assistance Fund

Students with children are normally expected to cover their essential living costs through student finance, welfare benefits, employment or their own funding. However, if you are experiencing financial hardship, you can apply to the Queen Mary Financial Assistance Fund (FAF) for financial assistance for some help meeting your additional costs, usually in the form of a non-repayable grant. This could include:

  • Students who have just had a new baby
  • Undergraduate students with children whose welfare benefit entitlement ceases on 1 September but they will not get their first student finance payment until 3 weeks later – FAF can usually help make up this shortfall in funds
  • Postgraduate students with children who have made provision to cover their tuition fees, living costs and childcare for the duration of their course but something unexpected has happened to disrupt their funding

There may be other circumstances where FAF could help with a shortfall in funding. A Welfare Adviser can advise you about your options and help you make your application.

You can apply in each year of your programme, and more than once if your circumstances change during an academic year.

You must show that you have made reasonable provision to support yourself and any dependents through your studies before you apply to this fund. You should be able to show that you have made use of any overdraft facility available to you.

The fund cannot help pay tuition fees.

How do I apply?

To apply online: 

  • Log in to your MySis portal and go to the Scholarships and Bursaries page (click + if not visible)
  • Click on 'Apply for Scholarship or Bursary'
  • Select 'Financial Assistance Fund' from the funding type dropdown and complete the online application screens
  • Make sure you click the 'Submit' button on the final screen

The paper Financial Assistance Fund application form remains available as a download.  Please read the Guidance Notes for more information on how to complete the form.

Contact the Student Enquiry Centre, ground floor, Queens Building for advice if you have any issues accessing the form.

If you are a part-time postgraduate student who is awarded financial help from the Financial Assistance Fund, you can apply for a student 18+Oystercard. Your Queen Mary University Financial Assistance Fund award letter explains how to apply for this.

If you would like help applying, contact a Welfare Adviser at the Advice and Counselling Service before you submit your application. A Welfare Adviser can help you explain your circumstances and can also advise you on what evidence would be required.

As part of your application, you will need to submit copies of documents such as student finance notification letters, welfare benefit award letters and other funding documents. To avoid unnecessary delays in the processing of your FAF application, it might be helpful for you to collate all your documents in one place, where you can easily access them. 

If you are an undergraduate medical or dental student, there are additional hardship funds you may be eligible to apply for. See our Funding for Medical and Dental Students advice guide for more information.

If you are normally in receipt of student finance, NHS funding,a scholarship or stipend and your funding is temporarily delayed or disrupted, you may be able to apply for a short term or emergency loan from Queen Mary. See the Additional Sources of Funding or Postgraduate Funding advice guide for more information or contact a Welfare Adviser for advice about your options.


We have written a Childcare advice guide which explains childcare options for students with children including advice about covering the cost of childcare.


Bringing up children can be expensive so planning your finances to help you stay within your budget can help you manage your extra child-related costs. Our online budgeting resources includes spreadsheets you can personalise with your monthly income and expenditure, which has fields for your student income as well as any welfare benefits you are getting.

Contact a Welfare Adviser if you would like any help with budgeting.

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