Text size

Universal Credit for disabled students: New regulations and advice

Government rules are being brought in on December 15th, which will affect disabled students claiming Universal Credit. This will affect those who turn 16 after December 14th, 2021, and those who will be 19 by September 1st, 2022.

Previously, students may have been able to claim Universal Credit from 16-years-old if they were also claiming for Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payments (PIP) and were found to have a “limited capacity for work.”

The new rules mean that students in this situation will only receive Universal Credit if they are found to have “limited capability for work” for they start in full-time education.

Generally speaking, the change of rules will affect students who at school but will not affect those who are at a training facility like Horizons College.

If your young person will reach 16 before December 15th, 2021, we suggest you follow these steps urgently before that date:

  1. Work out if the young person would be better off with their own claim for Universal Credit. If you have a current claim for Tax Credits, or the young person is on your own claim for Universal Credit, seek advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau or Swindon Carers Centre, or use an online benefits checker. You may be worse off as a household if you claim for them. If they have over £16,000 of savings in their own name, you should not apply for them.
  2. If you decide to claim for them, complete an online claim for a New Style Employment and Support Allowance ESA  (this will be a “credits only” claim to get National Insurance credits, but no money) and Universal Credit. Ask on the Universal Credit journal for the claim to be kept open until the student is assessed for their work capability.
  3. If you already have appointee status for your young person’s benefits let them know online, otherwise ask to be made an appointee.
  4. Get a “fit note” (used to be called a sick note) from the young person’s GP from the date of the claim, for as long as the doctor will issue it for. Provide this to Employment Support Allowance and Universal Credit.
  5. Fill out and return a Capability for Work form when it arrives.

Assuming the young person is assessed as having Limited Capability for Work at this time, Universal Credit should start to be paid, but the process can take months. For the first three months of a claim, the maximum for an under 25 will be £257.33 per month and this may go up to £600.96 after 3 months.

Click here for our Welfare and Benefits page, to find details of our Welfare and Benefits Service. To speak to one of our Welfare and Benefits Advisors call 01793 401093.