In this issue:
- Benefits for Students in Scotland handbook
- Update on universal credit rollout
- Q & A on JSA for couples with a child
- Lead Scotland factsheet on DSA
The Benefits for Students in Scotland Handbook for 2018/19 (16th edition) is now published! The handbook is fully updated for the new academic year, with all the relevant benefit changes and student support rates.
The online version of the Benefits for Students in Scotland handbook 2018/19 is available free at https://www.onlinepublications.cpag.org.uk/ (use the + key at the left of the page to navigate to the different chapters).
Universal credit (UC) ‘full service’ is now rolled-out in the majority of areas in Scotland.
In full service areas new claims can no longer be made for ‘legacy’ benefits (income-based JSA, income support, income-related ESA, housing benefit, child tax credit (CTC) or working tax credit WTC)). If you are already on these benefits you can stay on them, but if you need to make a new claim for one of these benefits you must claim UC instead. There is an exception until 31 January 2019 if you have three or more children – in which case you cannot make a new claim for UC in a full service area, but claim the legacy benefits instead. Note: if you already get CTC or WTC you can add the other tax credit to the one you have – this does not count as a new claim as tax credits are one benefit.
If you are on UC and you start studying UC will usually stop, unless:
- you are a parent;
- you are disabled and entitled to DLA or PIP and satisfy the limited capability for work test (a DWP assessment of your disability);
- you are under 22, in non-advanced education and ‘without parental support’ (eg, estranged from your parents); or
- you live with a partner who is not a student.
Remember you can phone CPAG in Scotland's advice line for advisers and frontline staff on 0141 552 0552 if you want to check whether a potential student will be able to stay on their universal credit or not, or if you have any other questions about social security benefits. The advice line is available Monday –Thursday 10am – 4pm and Fridays 10am - 12 noon. You can also email your enquiries to [email protected]
Q: Can a couple with children who get jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) stay on JSA if one parent starts a full-time non-advanced course?
A: Where a couple with children get JSA, this is not ‘joint claim’ JSA. Instead, one person is the claimant (and has to look for work), and the partner is just a dependent on their claim (and does not have to look for work). This is because the partner is responsible for a child/ren.
If the claimant who is looking for work starts a full-time non-advanced course, s/he can no longer be a jobseeker. The JSA will end. They may be advised to claim universal credit (UC), or, if they are not in a UC ‘full-service’ area, or if they have three or more children, the partner can make a new claim for JSA. However, note that for a new JSA claim, the partner would be expected to look for work, which may be difficult if they have a young child or children. For UC, the student would not have to look for work if they get a bursary for maintenance. The partner is likely to have to look for work if the youngest child is 3 or over.
If the dependent partner, who is responsible for the child/ren, starts a full-time non-advanced course, the partner can continue to claim JSA as long as they continue to be a jobseeker.
Lead Scotland have produced a new factsheet on the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA), which is for students on advanced courses who have a support need or disability. Read it at http://www.lead.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/DSA-Factsheet.pdf