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Universal Credit: Students

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN 110288, tabled on 2 November 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reason the money students receive through maintenance loans from Student Finance is being deducted from universal credit payments.

Answered on

10 November 2020

Students cannot normally satisfy the entitlement conditions for Universal Credit (UC). Exceptions are made where students have additional needs that are not met through the student support system. Primary financial support for students comes from this student support system which is designed for their needs, unlike the social security system. It is important that UC does not duplicate this support and UC broadly mirrors the treatment of most of the legacy benefits it replaces. This safeguards fairness whilst also ensuring simplification of the benefit system. Eligible claimants receiving legacy benefits whose circumstances remain the same will be considered for transitional protection to protect entitlement at the point of transition to UC.

Where UC is paid to a student, any student loan or grant paid to meet living costs is subject to a £110 disregard in each Assessment Period where student income is taken into account, equivalent to that provided under Legacy Benefits. Any reduction is only for living costs as loans or grants for other things, such as tuition fees or books, are fully disregarded. Any Special Support loan/grant is also fully disregarded as this specifically covers the costs of the course

Whilst it is acknowledged that maintenance loans are to be paid back, if they were not treated as income and were disregarded this would result in UC (and most legacy benefits) duplicating support already provided through the student finance system.