My child is going to university - how will this affect my benefits?

Date: 14 September 2017

My child is going to university - how will this affect my benefits?

If you have a teenager heading off to university, chances are you are more than a little concerned by the impact this may have on your finances, particularly if you are in receipt of child benefit, tax credits and Universal Credit.


So, what do I need to do?


Once your child is studying in higher education, they are no longer classed as your dependant. This means you won't be entitled to child benefit or tax credits for them. Usually, child benefit and child tax credit continue until the end of August if your child is starting a higher education course in the September term.


You will need to inform both the Child Benefit Office and the Tax Credit Office that your child is going to university. You’ll also need to contact Universal Credit to make them aware of the change in circumstance, which you can do via your journal or by calling them on 0800 328 5644.


You could be overpaid child benefit and tax credits if you don't report your child's change in circumstances, and HMRC will reclaim the overpayment back from you.


How will this affect my housing benefit and council tax reduction?


If you're receiving housing benefit and/or a council tax reduction, you must let your local council know if your child is going to university.


As your child is no longer considered to be your dependant, the amount of housing benefit and/or council tax reduction you receive may go down, depending on your income and circumstances.


If you receive Working Tax Credits, they may also be affected; depending on whether you are single or part of a couple, and if you have any other dependent children. You can check what benefits you'll be entitled to once your child goes to university on the entitled to calculator.


To find out more about benefits and the support you may be entitled to, click here to visit the money matters section of our website.