Who can claim universal credit
If you do not count as receiving education, you can claim UC in the same way as anyone else.
If you count as receiving education, you are only eligible for UC if you:1Regs 3(2)(b), 13(4) and 14 UC Regs
•are responsible for a child or young person;
•are under 22 on a non-advanced course, you were under 21 when you started the course, and you are ’without parental support’ (see below);
•have limited capability for work and also get disability living allowance or personal independence payment. Note: you must already have limited capability for work when you claim UC, or you must already have been assessed as having (or treated as having) limited capability for work in your UC claim before you start education. If you do not already have limited capability for work, claim contributory employment and support allowance (ESA) in order to establish your limited capability for work, and then claim UC once that has been established. You don’t have to have made national insurance contributions and can claim contributory ESA on a ‘credits-only’ basis;
•are a single foster parent;
•are a member of a student couple and one of you is a foster parent;
•are over pension age and your partner has not yet reached that age;
•are making a joint claim with your partner who is not a student, or who is a student but would be eligible for UC her/himself while studying;
•have taken time out because of illness or caring responsibilities, you have now recovered or your caring responsibilities have ended, and you are not eligible for a grant or loan.
If you are in one of the above groups and have a partner who is also a student, you can make a joint claim for UC with her/him, even if s/he is not in one of these groups.2Reg 3(2)(b) UC Regs
Without parental support
‘Without parental support’ means you:3Reg 8(3) UC Regs
– are an orphan; or
– cannot live with your parents because you are estranged from them, or because there is a serious risk to your physical or mental health, or you would face significant harm if you lived with them; or
– are living away from your parents, and they cannot support you financially because they are ill or disabled, in prison or not allowed to enter Great Britain.
‘Parent’ includes any person acting in place of a parent. The person must be broadly acting in the way a parent would.4NP v SSWP  UKUT 243 (AAC) Note: if you are aged 16 or 17 and receiving education, you can only claim UC if you are covered by one of the first three bullet points above – ie, you have a child, you are without parental support and in non-advanced education, or you are ill or disabled. If you are a 16/17-year-old care leaver and are receiving education, you can only claim if you have a child or are ill or disabled, and you cannot get help with housing costs.5Reg 8 and Sch 4 para 4 UC Regs
Jodie is 18 and on UC. She starts a full-time course of non-advanced education. She is estranged from her parents. She is still eligible for UC.
Lewis is on UC. He moves in with his partner Liz, who is on a full-time advanced course and has a three-year-old child. They are eligible for UC.
Pauline is 23 and is on UC. She starts a part-time non-advanced course in January 2020. The DWP decides that her course is not compatible with her work-related requirements, so she counts as ‘receiving education’. She is single and not disabled. She is not eligible for UC while she is on her course.
Karen is on UC. She moves in with her partner, Jake, who is unemployed. Karen starts a full-time advanced course. They are still eligible for UC.
Donna is a lone parent with a nine-year-old son. She is on housing benefit (HB) and child tax credit (CTC). In the summer vacation she claims UC and her HB and CTC stop.