This blog has detailed the main benefits you can claim if you are below 18 years of age, i.e. 16-17 years of age. 

The different contexts such as parental neglect, family estrangement, poverty, teenage pregnancy or marriage etc. are all fleshed out to understand the eligibility for benefits in each. 

It has also addressed some related questions on additional benefits that can be claimed in these contexts. 

Can I claim any benefits at 17? 

Yes. You can claim benefits if you are below the age of 18. Benefits for 16-19 year olds are available. But -these are limited and depend on specific circumstances both personally and financially. 

The benefits that you can receive are distinct for each condition. The conditions under which benefits can be claimed will be listed out. Then the benefits themselves, their availability and the quantum will be discussed in the case of each such situation. 

You should also be aware that the rates applicable differ for this age group as compared to standard rates for those above the age of 18. 

Benefits available for people aged between 16-19 

Universal Credit 

The age requirement to be eligible for Universal Credit is 18 years. Under normal circumstances, this benefit will not be extended to those below this age.  

But if any of these conditions apply you may be able to claim a specific frame of Universal Credit. The age bar will consequently be lowered to 16 years.  

These conditions are as follows: 

  • If you are an orphan, or your parents have passed away prior to your claim and you have no one to support you financially or to fund your education or you have no place to stay. 
  • If you are facing parental ngec,etc, financially, emotionally or are being abused.You may have to move out in these cases, because it is unhealthy and there is a risk to  life and well-being.

In such cases,the claimant may not  have a place to stay or any financial support.

  • If you have no parental support because your parents are mentally or physically unfit to take care of you or work.
  • If your parent(s) are reprimanded in either judicial or police custody due to illegal activities and cannot support you because of their incarceration/conviction. 
  • If you have a disability or chronic illness that inhibits your ability to work or restricts the amount you can work. 

In this case a work Capability assessment will be conducted and you can make a claim for Universal Credit to tide you over during the assessment period as well.

  • If you are a caregiver for someone with a chronic illness, disability or disorder
  • If you have a child or are expecting a child within a few months
  • If you are part of a couple and your partner/spouse is old enough to claim or is already claiming Universal Credit entitlements

Under these circumstances, depending on your income or lack thereof, the presence of a child and other conditions, the UC entitlement will be given to you if you are between 16-19 years of age. 

Job-seeker’s Allowance for people aged 16-17 years

Firstly it is not possible for a person who is 16 to now claim income-based Job-seeker’s Allowance because it has been subsumed under Universal Credit. 

They are too young to have had a change of circumstance that is applicable for people who have been working for longer and experience different changes in their life that require the claiming of this benefit. 

So most probably try to claim the new-style JSA, or the unemployment or job-seeker’s allowance in Universal Credit. For the new-style Job-seekers’ Allowance, the conventional eligibility requirements are waived for rare, atypical circumstances. 

The usual requirements are that you need to have been an employee for some time during the past 2-3 years and you need to have made sufficient National Insurance Contributions or have credits for the same time period. 

But given the claimant’s young age, this is hardly possible. So if the claimant is 16 or 17 years old, then certain concessions can be made. 

This is only possible if the ceneficuary is estranged from their family and has no parental or familial support due to a variety of reasons. It can only be given if this bad family situation causes the person to live in poverty, with nomonetray support or educational support, or even a place to live.

To claim this benefit, anybody in this position should call or visit the local job-centre. 

If they do not grant this concession then you may be able to get an unemployment benefit/allowance along the lines of JSA, through a Universal Credit entitlement which incorporates a monetary dole for this particular context. 

Benefits for under-18 couple 

Under normal circumstances, neither member of the couple will receive income or means-tested benefits or unemployment benefits if they are below the age of 18. 

However, there are both public and private benefits that are accorded to young couples if they are expecting a baby or they already have a child dependent on them. 

These could include vouchers for better nutrition and food availability for young mothers e.g. Best Start voucher. They could also include income-based Job-seeker’s Allowance or Income Support or income-based Employment and Support Allowance.  

This varies according to whether the mother is pregnant, whether the baby’s father is living with the mother and also the age of the baby. 

If the change in circumstances means that you cannot get the legacy benefits such as income based JSA and ESA, you should be able to claim the equivalent amount through the Universal Credit entitlements. 

This blog has detailed the main benefits you can claim if you are below 18 years of age, i.e. 16 to 17. 

The different contexts such as parental neglect, family estrangement, poverty, teenage pregnancy or marriage etc. are all fleshed out to understand the eligibility for benefits in each. 

If you have any queries, comments or suggestions, please feel free to contact us and leave a message. We welcome your input. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – Can I claim any benefits at 17? 

Can I claim a new-style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if I am 17? 

Yes. Under normal circumstances 16-17 year olds do not qualify for ESA benefits. But in exceptional circumstances, it may be granted. 

Usually a claimant must have worked for some period of the preceding 2-3 years and also have paid sufficient National Insurance contributions to claim the ESA. 

The ESA is a benefit that tides over a period of unemployment or limited ability to work due to sickness or a disability. It can also provide extra monetary support for people who cannot resume work due to the same causes. 

Since income-related ESA is no longer available, the new-style ESA has to be claimed. Most 16-17 year olds will not be eligible because they couldn’t have made Insurance contributions or earned credits and even working for the required period may be limited. 

But in the following instances , 17 year olds will be able to claim ESA : 

  • If you do not have parents and are single or you are estranged from your family and have no home or financial support 
  • If you are part of a couple and are both under 18 and you have a child you can claim
  • You are estranged from your family but have a disability or illness that prevent you from working or limits your opportunity, then you can claim for yourself

For more information , please refer to – Claims by 16 and 17 year olds – Entitledto

Can I claim Child Benefit if I am a 17 year old mother? 

Yes you certainly can. If you live with an adult who is legally your guardian or you live with your parents i.e. basically any adult who is legally responsible for you, then they can claim Child Benefit on your behalf. 

If not, if you are estranged and do not have any other financial support, then you can claim Child Benefit for your baby. It doesn’t matter that you are under 18. Your partner could also claim it, if you have one. 

You can also get maternity allowances if you are 17 years old as long as you have been working for at least 6 months in the year and a half before the birth of your child. It doesn’t have to be consecutive. 

You can receive accurate information on the benefits you are entitled to as a teenage mother, from – Teenage parent’s benefits finder – Gingerbread

This interactive site takes into consideration your circumstances such as your living arrangement, family support, nature of relations with parents, financial security etc. So it will give you a personalized benefit catalogue. 

Can I get benefits if I am a 17 year old student? 

Yes, if you are enrolled in full-time education i.e. be it non-advanced degrees or university degrees, then you can claim Universal Credit. However, you cannot claim it if you are living with your parents and they are financially supporting you. 

If you are estranged from your parents and have no financial support but are continuing your education, then you are eligible for Universal Credit for that period. 

You may also have a child while continuing education, so that enables you to access Universal credit benefits as well. In addition, if the local council does not support you, you are eligible to claim Universal Credit. 

Your education could be at or above school level i.e. non-advanced secondary/higher secondary or college and university degrees. The only exception is that there cannot be any type of educational training imparted by the claimant’s workplace. 

For more information, please refer to- 16-19 year olds in education or training – Entitledto

Can I claim disability benefits if I am 16-17 years old? 

Yes you can. Parents usually claim the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for their children, until the age of 16. After the child turns sixteen they have to claim the PersonL Independence payment (PIP) for themselves and in their own name. 

They can also claim new-style ESA, if they are unable to work or their capacity for work is limited due to a disability or chronic illness. 

The ESA benefit will tide over any period of unemployment or alternatively it will provide monetary support for those who are unable to work at all, be it for a company or through self-employment. 

Can I claim benefits if I have to care for a child while studying at 17? 

Yes. In addition to the Universal Credit that you may be able to claim if you are estranged from your parents, have  no financial support, and are not taken care of by the local council is the Parent’s Learning Allowance. 

You can claim this benefit by applying to the Department of Work and Pension(DWP) or similar government agencies, whichever is relevant. 

You can claim this benefit if you are currently enrolled in an undergraduate course or pre-teacher training course , known as ITT- Initial Teacher Training (ITT). 

For more information you can refer to – Parents’ Learning Allowance: Eligibility – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

References: 

  1. Razzaque, J. (n.d.). Benefits you may be able to claim. Newham Council. Retrieved November 22, 2021, from https://www.newham.gov.uk/advice-support-benefits/benefits-may-able-claim/9
  2. Benefits Calculator – entitledto – independent | accurate | reliable | www.entitledto.co.uk. (n.d.). Www.entitledto.co.uk. https://www.entitledto.co.uk/help/claims-by-16-and-17-year-olds
  3. Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA). (n.d.). GOV.UK. https://www.gov.uk/jobseekers-allowance/eligibility
  4. Understanding Universal Credit – Can I apply for Universal Credit? (n.d.). Understanding Universal Credit. https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/new-to-universal-credit/is-it-for-me/
  5. Financial help for young parents. (2021, September 3). CPAG. https://cpag.org.uk/welfare-rights/resources/factsheet/financial-help-young-parents#couple
  6. New Style Employment and Support Allowance. (n.d.). GOV.UK. Retrieved November 23, 2021, from https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-style-employment-and-support-allowance#why-should-you-claim-new-style-employment-and-support-allowance
  7. Teenage parent’s benefits finder – Gingerbread. (2017). Gingerbread. https://www.gingerbread.org.uk/information/young-single-parents/teenage-parents-benefits-finder/
  8. Benefits Calculator – entitledto – independent | accurate | reliable | www.entitledto.co.uk. (n.d.). Www.entitledto.co.uk. Retrieved November 23, 2021, from https://www.entitledto.co.uk/help/16-19-year-olds-in-education-or-training-Universal-Credit
  9. Check if you can get Universal Credit. (n.d.). Www.citizensadvice.org.uk. https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/universal-credit/before-you-apply/Check-if-you-can-get-Universal-Credit/
  10. Parents’ Learning Allowance. (n.d.). GOV.UK. Retrieved November 24, 2021, from https://www.gov.uk/parents-learning-allowance/how-to-claim

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