What benefits am I entitled to?

Teenage girl by bus stop with mum

Sometimes you and your family might need financial help through bursaries or benefits. There are loads of different types of financial help available so it is important to find out which ones you or your family might be entitled to.

Below are some frequently asked questions about benefits that might help:

  • I am aged over 16. What benefits can I get?
  • What financial support can I receive to help with further education?
  • What is universal credit?

Benefits if you are over 16

If you are aged 16-18 and not in full-time education, you may be entitled to Job Seekers Allowance. You must usually be over 18 to claim Income Support but there are exceptions, for example, if you have a child or are on certain types of training course. If you are responsible for a child and work over a certain number of hours per week you may also be entitled to Working Tax Credit. You can arrange a meeting with a specialist adviser in your local Citizens Advice Bureau to discuss the benefits you may be entitled to. You can also use the Turn 2 Us benefits calculator.

The 16-19 Bursary

You may be entitled to grants and bursaries to support you while studying. Young carers are entitled to the 16-19 bursary if you  are in education for fewer than 21 hours a week, and your college or university may have additional grants to support young carers. It is important that your university or college do not automatically state that you are in full time education rather than the specific number of contact hours you have. For example, you may be on a full-time course but only in class for 20 hours a week. If this is the case, you may be entitled to a grant or bursary despite your course technically being full-time. Speak to the student finance team and your university or college for advice.

There are two types of 16-19 bursary – the Vulnerable Student Bursary and the Discretionary Bursary. You need to apply directly to your college or training provider for either the Vulnerable Student Bursary or Discretionary Bursary.

The 16-19 Bursary is not available to students at university, but your university may have other bursaries or scholarships available. Contact your student finance office for more information about available support and how to apply.

Vulnerable Student Bursary

 You could be eligible for up to £1,200 if are in receipt of Universal Credit or Income Support. You may also be entitled to apply for the bursary if you receive Disability Living Allowance and either Employment Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit, or Personal Independent Payments and either ESA or Universal Credit. The amount of money you receive depends on how long your course is, how many hours a week you are in education and the cost of expenses for your course.

Discretionary Bursary

Each college or training provider has their own criteria for the Discretionary Bursary. Speak to the finance office for more information. You may be able to apply if you are aged over 19 but continuing on a course you started while aged 16-19.

What benefits are my family entitled to?

The Citizens Advice Bureau is a great place to start looking for information about benefit entitlements.

Turn 2 Us and the government website also have information that can help you with this.

What is universal credit?

Universal Credit is being introduced to replace many benefits. It can be claimed by people who are out of work or on low incomes. Universal Credit will replace the following benefits:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Working Tax Credit

Universal Credit is being introduced in stages. You will be notified if you are transferred to Universal Credit. Whether you can claim Universal Credit or not depends on a range of factors, including whether your area is a ‘full service area’ or a ‘live service area’. If you are aged 18 or over and out of work or in a low-paid job, you may be eligible for Universal Credit. You may also be eligible if you are aged 16 or 17 and unable to work due to caring for someone else. To find out if you are able to claim Universal credit go to the government’s website or the Citizens Advice Bureau.