Entitlement to universal credit for students

The rules that provide for which students are entitled to universal credit are set out in the Welfare Reform Act 2012 and the Universal Credit Regulations 2013 (SI.No.376/2013).

NB: See below for equivalent legislation in Northern Ireland.

Basic condition for entitlement to universal credit

Section 4 of the Welfare Reform Act 2012

Sets out the basic conditions for entitlement to universal credit including that the claimant is not receiving education.

Receiving education

Regulation 12 of SI.No.376/2013

Defines the phrase ‘receiving education’ and when a person is to be treated as receiving education.

Undertaking a course

Regulation 13 of SI.No.376/2013

Sets out when a person is to be regarded as undertaking a course of education, study or training.

Exceptions to the requirement not to be receiving education

Regulation 14 of SI.No.376/2013 (as amended by SI.No.827/2020)

Sets out when a person does not have to meet the basic condition of ‘not receiving education’, including people in receipt of a disability benefit who have a prior determination of limited capability for work.

In Northern Ireland, the Welfare Reform (Northern Ireland) Order 2015 together with SR.No.216/2016 make provisions that are largely equivalent to that in Great Britain.

In addition, SR.No.166/2020 includes equivalent provision for Northern Ireland as that made in Great Britain in relation to the rules for people in receipt of a disability benefit who have a prior determination of limited capability for work who do not have to meet the basic condition of ‘not receiving education

Further explanation of the legislation is set out in guidance. Please note, however, guidance is not binding and cannot override the legislation.

Advice for decision making

Chapter H6

Sets out the meaning of receiving education, what is a full-time course, and the exceptions to the requirement not to be receiving education.

DWP guidance from parliament.uk

Students: eligibility, conditionality and student income

Sets out which students are eligible for universal credit.

Advice for decision making

ADM Memo 16/20

Sets out when a claimant must be assessed as having limited capability for work in order to be excepted from the requirement to be receiving education as a disabled person.

Case law​ provides further interpretation of the legislation and establishes legal precedent.

We’re not aware of any case law relating to this issue.