Most students in full-time Higher Education are not eligible to claim benefits for the duration of their course, including summer vacations. Part-time students are not affected by these rules and can usually claim in the same way as non-students, though there may be some restrictions (e.g. if the DWP feels that your part-time course affects your ability to meet any work-related requirements of the particular benefit).
The following students may be entitled to benefits even on a full-time course:
• Lone parents
• Students with a child/ren (there may be some restrictions if you fall into this category, depending on which benefit(s) you are claiming - seek advice)
• Those with limited capability for work
• Disabled students
• Students who have taken time out from their course due to illness or caring responsibilities which has ended but they have not yet returned to their course.
If you cannot claim benefits as a full-time student, your non-student spouse or partner may be able to claim on behalf of the household, so long as they fit the normal criteria. Whether this is necessary will depend on the benefit(s) you are claiming and your / your partner's circumstances. It is best to seek individual advice.
Calculating benefit entitlements for students is complicated and benefits authorities can make mistakes. Some student funding is considered as income for benefits purposes (including if you are entitled to funding but choose not to apply for it), but some is also disregarded. If you think you are entitled to benefits, or think you may have received a wrong decision, contact us for a benefits check and further advice. We also have a Guide to Higher Education Students and Universal Credit.