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I'm in full time education and on benefits... am I screwed?

(13 Posts)
tammybear Wed 17-Sep-08 15:51:59

Hey,
I've just started college. I'm doing a full time Foundation Degree Creative Enterprise in Photography, really looking forward to it, in my induction week at the moment, and just enrolled today too.

So now I'm all set for my course, I thought I'd better ring round and tell people I'm studying now. I'm on Income Support, Housing/Council Tax Benefit, and Child Tax Credit. I rang CTC first cause they were the ones I could get through to without being cut off. They said that I only need to tell them if Income Support changes. So I spent bout 3 mins on hold to IS, who say I need to send in my details with like all the financial stuff on as they need to take into consideration any loans and grants and stuff I get.

Now I'm slightly panicking now, because I was told that I should still be able to get IS, HB and CTB whilst studying, as I have a 5 year old DD and 2 bed flat I rent.

I can't seek any help tomorrow cause I'm at Uni for the whole day so I gotta wait til Friday before I can speak to either Citizens Advice or someone at my college about it all. But now, I'm worried that I now have to pack this all in because I can't afford it.

Anyone been in this situation? Thanks. x

beansmum Wed 17-Sep-08 16:12:09

Do you get any grants or loans? Or are you entitled to any? If so, they will count as income and your IS may be reduced by the amount you have coming in. I think.

I don't think you will end up with less money, unless you are entitled to a loan and haven't taken it, in that case you would be treated as if you had taken the maximum available loan.

I think I got IS, HB and CTC as a student, but I can't remember how much or how much loan I got. It wasn't even that long ago, but my brain is mush these days. I'm no help really am I!

chocolatemummy Wed 17-Sep-08 16:17:18

are you a single parent? if so you will still get a lot of help, I am just starting uni ful time too (on monday) and also really excited but I am not on benefits, BUT i was really pleased to hear i still get £62 a week tax credits which is a massive help as I thought I would get nothing, not sure about HB etc but you will still get Council tax benefit as a full time student you'll just have to send them proof (a letter form your college)

ANTagony Wed 17-Sep-08 16:21:57

If you commit to setting up your own business in photography for example in parallel to studying you could also potentially be entitled to working tax credit - even if you don't manage to get more than expenses from your work. You'd also potentially build a portfolio.

Just a though I'm a single parent and running my own business, boys 2 and 4, not yet revenue generating and every pound counts which is where the WTC comes in.

tammybear Wed 17-Sep-08 16:41:35

Thanks for your help guys.

beansmum As far as I know, I should be entitled to the student loan, a childcare grant to help pay for afterschool club for my DD, not sure about anything else at the moment. I'm still waiting to hear back from them, as I got my place through the clearing at the end of August, so everything is really last minute as you can probably tell.

chocolatemummy Yes I'm a single parent, which was why I started panicking as I don't have anyone to rely on to help with rent and bills if my benefits were suddenly to cut off. But that's good to know about council tax benefit, and hopefully tax credits too.

ANTagony That's a really good idea, I'll have to have a think about that and look into it. Thank you.

chocolatemummy Wed 17-Sep-08 17:04:46

def think the photography business is a great idea, go for it and best of luck with the course x

CapricaSix Thu 18-Sep-08 08:20:30

ooh it hadn't occurred to me i might need to declare anything. i'm studying part time with the OU, have been entitled to the fees being paid in full, and a £250 grant towards books for studying etc (though I've not heard about that one yet). Also an extra £250 PC grant towards a new computer if i needed one.

Do i need to declare all that stuff?

tammybear Thu 18-Sep-08 18:08:33

chocolatemummy Thank you

Spoke to college today, and they said that I needed to speak to the place I got my student loan. But I've been given the Special Support Grant and Parental Allowance one too, which should not be considered whilst judging my income which is good. But I just need to work out whether if I had the maintenance loan (or didn't) if that would be better and if I didn't, if they would still accept me for IS etc. SO confusing!

Mistiek Sun 21-Sep-08 13:03:21

Hey Tammybear

Your thread caught my eye as I have just applied to start studing the Access to Health course part time. Want to go into Midwifery.

Last week DH and I decided its time to call it over sad and so now I was worried I would have to give up on my dreams too. I am not currentyl working and did not know what I was entitled to or how I was going to play this.

After calling everyone I found out that Government grants can affect your amount of income support but as long as you get some income support, even if its just 1p, as a single mum you are intitled to full HB and Council Tax.

I think things like the ammount of maintenance you receive (if any) can also affect the outcome. The Council told me that if I do not get IS and about £400 worth of Maintenance then I would have to pay about £20 towards my rent weekly and £6.30 to the council tax weekly, so I think you will still be entiled to help even if things change slightly. I think - I am also very confused by the whole thing.

The council also said that there are certain aspects of a grant that they can leave out when assesing how much you wil get.

Let me know if you get any more info and Ill let you knwo if I dig anything out too. I too have been given a plcae at the college very last minute so am in the same boat as you.

tammybear Mon 22-Sep-08 09:20:53

Hi Mistiek,
Thank you so much for your help too.

I spoke to my college and they said that the following grants are not taken into account with benefits:
* Higher Education Grant
* Special Support Grant
* Childcare Grant
* Parent's Learning Allowance
which is great cause the last three I'm entitled to.

However, I've just worked out that I've applied for a Maintenance Loan, which I'm entitled to the full amount, but it does not cover my rent for the rest of the year, let alone helping with anything else. I'm bout to call my LA to see what they say, as I dunno if it works out that if I didn't get that loan, if I'd still get IS or not.

Wish they made these things so much easier!

Plus I'm sorry to hear about you and your DH, but you should definitely still to your course. I keep being told that things will work out though it doesn't seem that way at the moment. I'm trying to believe them lol. x

tammybear Mon 22-Sep-08 09:36:30

Ooo after all that, I've found this

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/MoneyTaxAndBenefits/BenefitsTaxCreditsAndOtherSupport/Ona_lowi ncome/DG_070816

Tells you about what will be taken into account and not as income. So student loans aren't. I just need to worry about the maintenance loan at the moment

tammybear Mon 22-Sep-08 09:37:51

Oops forgot to link it properly. Go here

Alambil Tue 23-Sep-08 00:51:16

You need to get the award letter, go through with a pen and cross out anything that is NOT for disposable income; for example, all grants and stuff like that

Then, that'll take your award down from the written £9k (for eg) to about £3k

You SHOULD still get IS, HB and students are automatically exempt from paying council tax (you need a letter from uni for this)

Fight for IS if you have to - it is to support your income. Your income is NOT what is written on the paper; a lot of that money is spent already (childcare, books etc)

I had to fight. I'm weathered from the storms!!

Good luck!

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