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DWP Benefits and Independent Advice from CPAG content

DWP Benefits and Independent Advice from CPAG

DWP Benefits and Independent Advice from CPAG

The Benefits Agency does not provide financial support specifically for being a student.  Any entitlement to a benefit will be based on your non-student related circumstances.  However, should you receive financial assistance from any source while claiming a benefit, you must inform both the Benefits Agency and the funding body of the assistance you receive.  Use the contact information on your benefits account or letters to contact them about this.

Some students can continue to claim benefits while studying full time.

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
If you receive ESA, it is likely that you have been on this benefit for some time and we will consider you for support from FE Bursary Funds for study costs and travel costs only.  The FE Bursary Maintenance Allowance for your day to day living costs is not payable to ESA recipients.  ESA may entitle you and your family to other benefits such as Housing Benefit and you may be better off by continuing to claim ESA so that you continue to be eligible after your course ends.  If you cease an ESA claim to become a student, you are unlikely to be able to return to ESA and will be required to apply to Universal Credit after the course ends.

Universal Credit (UC)
If you receive UC, you can continue to claim this while you are a full time student if you are:

  • a parent of a child
  • severely disabled
  • a young person estranged from their parents
  • living with a non-student partner and making a joint claim for UC

If you are claiming UC, any funding above £110 per month for living costs will reduce your UC payments therefore the maximum Maintenance Allowance for living costs award you are eligible for from the FE Bursary is £28.00 per week.  Any study costs or travel costs payable should not affect your UC entitlement.  While in receipt of the £28 Maintenance Allowance you should not have any Work Related Requirements for UC.  We always recommend that you check this with UC.

Housing Benefit (HB) and Housing Element of UC
You may be eligible for HB as a full time student if you are in one of the following groups, please check with your local authority for the full, up to date criteria for Housing Benefit.  As benefit claimants are moved from a legacy benefit such as Income Support (IS), Job Seekers Allowance (JSA), Employment and Support Allowance, etc. to Universal Credit (UC) you may also move from HB to the Housing Element of UC.

Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG)
For a full list of who can qualify and what benefits are available to students in Scotland, Child Poverty Action Group publish a comprehensive handbook to benefits for students which you may find helpful.

Money Management Advice content

Money Management Advice

Money Management Advice

If you are worried about your finances in any way or have specific concerns about debt, however big or small, the local Moray Money Advice Partnership have trained Money Advisers who give free confidential advice and guidance.  They can help you look at your financial situation, help you to budget, give guidance on benefit entitlement, negotiate with your creditors, etc.

Check the Local Authority website under headings like Benefits, Grants, Walfare and Money Services for the support on offer.

Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefits and Exemptions content

Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefits and Exemptions

Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefits and Exemptions

The local authority for your area administers Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefits and Exemptions. Any enquiry regarding eligibility for either Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Benefit should be made to your Council’s Housing and Council Tax Departments. Check the Local Authority website under these headings for guidance and support.

When making an enquiry or application to your local council remember to check how long it will take them to process your application and advise you of the outcome. If it is a significant length of time, remember that you may need to make provision if your claim is unsuccessful.

Additionally, for a full list of who can qualify and what benefits are available to students in Scotland, Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) publish a comprehensive handbook to benefits for students which you may find helpful.

Discounts for students and student families on low income content

Discounts for students and student families on low income

Discounts for students and student families on low income

Student discount
As well as the bus and train companies, many shops and restaurants offer students discount on their goods and services.  Often all you need is your student card, but you may require a NUS (National Union of Students) card that you can get from Student Union. The Highlands and Islands Studentss Association (HISA) should be able to provide you with a list of participating organizations.

Power suppliers
Depending on your family’s circumstances you may qualify for a lower unit rate for the energy you use. Some energy companies offer households living on a low income a discounted rate.  Contact your energy provider to see if their scheme covers your circumstances or search online for cheaper deals using comparison sites, etc.

Free School Meals and Clothing Grant
Contact your children’s school or your Council’s Education Section for information on how to qualify and how to apply.

Educational Trusts content

Educational Trusts

Educational Trusts

Educational trusts and endowments
Whether you are in receipt of mainstream funding for your chosen course or not, you may be able to access additional funds from a private trust.  These schemes are varied in the support they offer and the qualifying criteria. 

Also, see:

Health charges content

Health charges

Health charges

Generally, being a student does not entitle you to automatic discounts on prescription, optical, dental, wigs and fabric support charges, however other circumstances may mean you are entitled to free or discounted charges. 

Most Doctors, Dental Surgeries, Chemists, Benefits Offices or Post Offices can give you advice on what is available.  You will need to complete an HC1 application form and visit the NHS Help with Health Costs website for information.

NI Contributions, Income Tax and PAYE content

NI Contributions, Income Tax and PAYE

NI Contributions, Income Tax and PAYE

Bursary, EMA, Childcare, Hardship Fund awards, SAAS and Student Loans awards are non-taxable and not considered when your employer applies the scales for National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and tax code to your earned income.

If you have any queries check out the HM Revenue and Customs website.

Professional and Career Development Loans content

Professional and Career Development Loans

Professional and Career Development Loans

The Government manages Professional and Career Development Loans through a partnership with a number of High Street banks.  For further information visit the website Professional and Career Development Loans.