Financial support for young people

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a benefit for people of working age on a low income, administered by the Department for Work and Pensions and is expected to be introduced in Brent in May 2018 (subject to change).

Anyone making a new benefit claim or reporting a change of circumstances should be asked to claim Universal Credit from this date. If you already claim benefits and your circumstances don’t change, you won’t be asked to move over to Universal Credit until at least 2019.

From 1 April 2017 it was announced that 18 to 21 year olds are no longer entitled to the housing cost element of Universal Credit unless they can prove they meet any of the exemption listed below.

  • those not subject to work-related requirements
  • victims of domestic violence
  • care leavers
  • people in temporary accommodation
  • people in work, subject to minimum earnings requirement
  • people who have left work up to six months previously, subject to minimum earnings requirement
  • young parents
  • those for whom ‘in the opinion of the Secretary of State, it is inappropriate to live with either of their parents.

For more information and to claim visit the Universal Credit website 

There are other benefits you may be eligible for:

Housing Benefit

If you are under 35 years of age, single and do not have children then you are usually only entitled to benefits which would cover renting in a shared accommodation. The maximum housing benefit that you would get would be the rate for renting a single room in a shared house and this rate would be given to you even if you live in a self-contained flat.

Shared accommodation is when your tenancy agreement states that you have access to one bedroom only and shared use of a bathroom, kitchen and living room. The shared accommodation rate differs depending on where you live.

Please note that the shared accommodation rate only applies when renting from a private landlord (so doesn’t apply to council or housing association properties). 

The shared accommodation rate doesn't apply if you live with another adult or child. There are also other exceptions if you:

  • Have a history of care and are aged under 22
  • Are a registered foster carer
  • If you receive a severe disability premium or someone receives this for you
  • Are someone who has a proven need for overnight care and has a spare bedroom that a non-resident carer regularly stays overnight in
  • If you are aged over 25 and have spent at least three months in a homeless hostel or hostel specialising in rehabilitating and resettling within the community.
  • Are a former prisoner and are managed under the Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA)

If you are a part-time or full-time student, you can get Housing Benefit if you receive income support or income-based JSA or you are a lone parent or a member of a couple who are responsible for a child and are both full-time students. 

Young people studying or in further education

Job seekers allowance (JSA)

Full time students:

If you’re studying for A level or an equivalent qualification you can’t usually get JSA until you have stopped studying and your parents have stopped getting Child Benefit for you. Child Benefit payments stop after the last day of February, May, August or November (whichever comes first).

If you’re studying for a degree-level qualification: 

If you have children, you may be able to claim JSA during the summer holiday.

Part-time students:

You may be able to get JSA while studying part-time (including part-time Open University Courses) as long as:

  • you take a job if it’s offered to you
  • you do everything you can to look for work, as agreed with your work coach

Income support

Most part-time and full-time students are not entitled to Income Support. However, you may be entitled to this benefit if you are: a lone parent with a child under five; a lone foster parent of a child under 16; receiving long-term Incapacity Benefit; a refugee who is learning English to obtain employment or under 21 or have reached 21 whilst enrolled on or accepted on a full-time non-advanced course and you are without parental support.

You can claim income support during the summer holidays if you are a single parent with a child or a member of a couple with a child (and your partner is a full-time student). This would depend on whether you have a low income. 

Other benefits:

  • If you are responsible for a child, as a part-time or full-time student you can still claim Child Benefit
  • If you are responsible for children as a lone parent or as a member of a couple, you may get Child Tax Credit
  • If you or your partner are working and have a fairly low income, you may get Working Tax Credit
  • You may be able to get Universal Credit if you’re on a part-time course that is accepted as being compatible with your work-related requirements if you are subject to these.

University Hardship Funds

If you are experiencing financial hardship, you may be able to get financial support from your university or college. It is under the discretion of the university whether you will receive support. Your university or college may also be able to advise you on bursaries, grants, benefits and debt. You can get more information by contacting your student welfare/liaison department.

For additional advice on student finance please visit:

Student finance
Citizen Advice