Being in full-time education, some 18-year-olds may struggle with finances and the ability to meet living costs. This is the reason why we will explore through this article what benefits can 18-year-olds claim if they are in full-time education. For a deeper perspective, we will also analyse the specific eligibility criteria of these benefits; as well as review other forms of financial support available to full-time students in the UK.

What Benefits Are There For 18-Year-Olds In Full-Time Education?

Depending on their circumstances, 18-year-olds in full-time education can qualify for the following benefits:

  • Universal Credit
  • Tax Credits
  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)

To qualify for Universal Credit, an 18-year-old in full-time education should be able to meet the below-listed conditions:

  • aged 21 or below; in full-time non-advanced education and without any parental support
  • in full-time non-advanced education, not getting student loans or maintenance grants and available for work
  • responsible for a child
  • living with a partner who is claiming Universal Credit
  • disabled and assessed as having limited capability for work 
  • claiming Personal Independence Payment, Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance or Armed Forces Independence Payment

In addition to this, full-time students can qualify for a Special Support Grant or loan if they receive any of the following benefits: 

  • Income Support
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • the housing element of Universal Credit

While Tax Credits are being replaced with Universal Credit, full-time students can qualify for Working Tax Credit if they have a job and are on low income. If they are responsible for a child (or children) they can also claim Child Tax Credit. 

In order to claim Income Support as a full-time student, you should be able to meet the eligibility criteria which include the following:

  • you are a lone parent with a child under five years of age
  • you are getting a long-term Incapacity Benefit
  • you are a refugee learning English to obtain employment
  • you are accepted on a full-time non-advanced course but you don’t have parental support

Can You Claim JSA If You Are 18 Years Old And In Full-Time Education?

As a full-time student, you can only claim JSA if you are also a lone parent or you are taking up a DWP-related course for some time. However, if you are getting financial support through a loan or a grant, your payments will reduce as the monetary support in this case will count as income. 

Generally speaking, those seeking Job Seekers Allowance must be able to fulfil the following criteria:

  • aged 18 years or above
  • under state pension age
  • currently unemployed or working for less than 16 hours per week
  • previously held a job
  • available for and looking for work
  • have employment rights in the UK
  • previously paid National Insurance (in the recent 2 to 3 years)
  • currently not in full-time education
  • do not have an illness or disability that prevents being employed
  • live in England, Scotland or Wales

Should the above criteria be fulfilled, candidates will be able to claim JSA for 6 months; after which they will be advised by their work coach with regard to employment options. 

Can You Claim Housing Benefit If You Are 18 Years Old And In Full-Time Education?

Full-time students usually don’t qualify for Housing Benefit unless they meet any of the below-listed conditions:

  • claiming state benefits such as Income Support, Job Seeker’s Allowance (Income Based), Employment and Support Allowance (Income Related).
  • younger than under 21 years, currently in further education but you got enrolled you were 19 years old
  • younger than 20 years of age and your parent claims Child Benefit
  • a student couple who is responsible for a child
  • live with a partner who is not a student and claims Housing Benefit 
  • a lone parent who is responsible for a child
  • take care of foster children
  • qualify for the disability premium/severe disability premium
  • incapable of work as per the DWP and have been for at least 28 weeks
  • get the Disabled Student Grant with an allowance for deafness
  • not been able to claim a grant or student loan due to absence from studies because of illness or caring for someone else

If you study under an apprenticeship scheme, you should be able to fulfil the below-listed conditions so that your claim for Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit is not affected:

  • you have a named training provider 
  • you are working towards a recognised qualification or vocational training
  • you are entitled to the national minimum wage

What Other Financial Support Is There For 18-Year-Olds In Full-Time Education?

Yes, in addition to state benefits, 180year-olds can also get financial support through government schemes. However, it is the responsibility of educational institutions to make sure that the eligibility criteria for such schemes are maintained.

For instance, the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund provides financial support to the most disadvantaged students so that they are able to overcome certain barriers and can remain in education. This includes bursaries for defined vulnerable groups (carers, leaving care, receiving benefits) as well as discretionary bursaries to meet living expenses (transport, meals, books, equipment)

and can be awarded by institutions using policies that are in line with national funding rules.

Free meals in further education provide disadvantaged young people with meals if they or their parents get one of the qualifying benefits

Care to Learn supports childcare costs faced by young parents in education and helps to make sure that the parents are able to continue their education despite childcare costs.

Conclusion:

This detailed discussion has helped in highlighting different real-life situations that can make an 18-year-old in full-time education qualify for state benefits such as Universal Credit and Income Support. However, this is not all the financial support that can be extended to them by the government. Eligible and disadvantaged students will find grants and schemes that can help them not only with the cost of education itself but their living expenses as well. 

FAQs: What Benefits Are There For 18-Year-Olds In Full-Time Education?

Can I claim benefits as a full-time student?

Generally speaking, you may not be able to claim benefits as a full-time student. However, if you qualify for Income-Related Employment And Support Allowance while studying full-time, you will be able to claim the benefit. Individuals who receive Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment will not have their benefits affected if they are full-time students.

Is an apprenticeship considered full-time education for Universal Credit?

According to the Department for Work and Pensions, if an apprentice can provide a named training provider, they are working towards a recognised qualification or vocational training and are entitled to the national minimum wage, they can claim Universal Credit.

Can you get Universal Credit if you live with your parents?

Yes, you can get Universal Credit if you live with your parents. In fact, when someone is 16 years old, they start receiving their UC payments directly. However, if you live with your parents, you may find a reduced amount of the housing element in your benefits claim as you are sharing your house with other family members.

Do I still get Child Benefit if my child goes to college?

If your child goes to college and takes up non-advanced or training courses, you can still claim Child Benefit. The college will be able to guide you regarding such courses.

Can you claim PIP and go to university?

Yes, you can claim PIP and go to university; whether you are a full-time or part-time student.

References:

16-19-year-olds in education or training – Entitledto

Universal Credit and students – GOV.UK

16 to 19 education: financial support for students – GOV.UK

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