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Welfare Benefits

Welfare Benefits for Students

Most students in full time Higher Education are not eligible for the majority of welfare benefits.  However, qualifying students will receive a higher rate of Maintenance Loan, a portion of which will be disregarded for benefits purposes (this is known as the Special Support Element).  The Advice Team will be happy to check you are in receipt of the correct amounts of Maintenance Loan and any benefits if you send us copies of the relevant documents for checking.


Students can continue to claim PIP/DLA whilst they are studying and we would suggest that any student in receipt of either of these contact the University’s Wellbeing Services to find out if they are eligible for any additional support with their studies, either by applying for Disabled Students Allowance from SFE or whether there is additional support provided by the University.


Single parents can claim Universal Credit whilst they are studying.  Additionally, a limited number of students still in receipt of legacy benefits (see list below) can continue to claim these.  It is important that students notify the DWP and/or their Local Authority that they are in full time education and in receipt of funding from Student Finance England. 

Please note that if you move from a different local authority to live in the Plymouth City Council area whilst you are studying and wish to continue to claim benefits, this will automatically trigger a move to Universal Credit.

We would strongly advise any single parent who is in receipt of legacy benefits prior to starting their course to contact the Advice Team for benefits advice at the earliest opportunity so that we can offer specific advice on their individual circumstances.


Additionally, any student with a disability (for which they receive DLA/PIP) and has been assessed as having a Limited Capability for Work (either for ESA or UC) prior to starting their studies can claim benefits whilst in study and should contact the Advice Team for further information.


The Advice Team offers estimated UC calculations for eligible students.


DLA                         Disabilty Living Allowance

PIP                         Personal Independence Payment

DSA                        Disabled Students Allowance

UC                          Universal Credit

ESA                        Employment Support Allowance

DWP                      Department for Work and Pensions

Legacy Benefits include Jobseekers Allowance, Employment Support Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credits and Child Tax Credits.  Please note that Managed Migration from legacy benefits to Universal Credit will commence in April 2024 except for those claimants in receipt of ESA only or ESA with Housing Benefit who will remain on legacy benefits until 2028.


Last Updated  April 2024