Advice NI Publishes Briefing on Access to Universal Credit for Students

With students arriving at University to commence a new academic year, the Advice NI Policy & Information team has published an information briefing for advisers covering Universal Credit eligibility for students.

As the briefing explains, most students will not be entitled to Universal Credit, as it is one of the basic conditions of entitlement that the claimant is ‘not receiving education’. This largely reflects the rules that applied to the legacy benefits being replaced by Universal Credit. However, income replacement benefits such as Universal Credit do not duplicate the support provided by the student finance system, and as a result exceptions are made where students have additional needs that warrant extra support from the welfare system. The briefing outlines the regulations that apply in this regard, and identifies where students may be able to claim Universal Credit while studying. The briefing also covers the treatment of student income when calculating an award of Universal Credit, as this can be a further barrier to entitlement.

We trust that the briefing will be a useful resource at an opportune moment, and we would encourage advisers who believe that the Department is failing to apply these rules correctly to bring cases to the attention of the Policy & Information team.