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Change of circumstances - Leaving school, college

How leaving school or college affects the benefits you receive or may be entitled to.

Child under 16

A child is treated as being in full-time education until they reach the age of 16 therefore they do not qualify for social security benefits.

The only exception to this is Disability Living Allowance which is paid in respect of a person who has care/mobility needs arising from a disability or illness.

Child age 16-17

16/17 year olds are not entitled to claim benefits as unemployed people as they are guaranteed a place under the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) Training for Success programme. There are however exceptions to this rule which depend on whether the claim is for Income Support; or Jobseeker's Allowance

Child age 18

A child will not be eligible to receive any benefit until he is treated as having ceased full-time education.

If the child's parent or guardian is receiving Child Benefit this can continue until the relevant Child Benefit end date is reached.

If the child left school to go into work or a training course which subsequently ends before the end date Child Benefit can become payable again, this is because they can still be treated as being in full-time education up to and including the end date.

Parent of child age 16-17

Child Benefit

The customer should write to Child Benefit Office advising them of the date the child left school and what they are currently doing for example Jobskills, full-time work, etcetera.

If the child is waiting for work or Jobskills, Child Benefit, can be paid for up to 20 weeks after the Child Benefit end date as long as the child has registered for work or Jobskills at the Training and Employment Agency.

The customer must also ask the Child Benefit Office for benefit to continue for this Child Benefit Extension Period.

Child Benefit may start again if the child returns to full-time education, or if work or a Jobskills course ends before the Child Benefit end date, or the end of the Child Benefit Extension Period, but only if the child registers at the Training and Employment Agency.

Other Benefits

A decision on whether a customer will continue to be paid an increase for a dependant child who has left school, etcetera will normally depend on whether they are entitled to Child Benefit during the Child Benefit Extension Period.

The customer should advise the paying office immediately of the date the child left school/college.

Failure to do so may result in an overpayment of benefit which they will be liable to repay.

Parent of child age 18

Child Benefit

The customer should contact Child Benefit Office immediately to advise them of the date the child left school etc. and what they are doing now for example work, unemployed.

Failure to notify the Child Benefit Office promptly will make the customer liable for any resulting overpayment.

Where the child has started full time work the customer will be entitled to Child Benefit up until the Monday after they started work.

Otherwise the customer will continue to receive Child Benefit until the Child Benefit end date after which the young person will be able to claim benefits in their own right.

Other Benefits

A decision on whether the customer will continue to be paid an increase for a dependant child who has left school etcetera will normally depend on whether they continue to be entitled to Child Benefit.

The customer should advise the paying office immediately of the date the child left school/college.

Failure to do so may result in an overpayment of benefit which the customer will be liable to repay.

Student age 19 or over

Entitlement to benefit for students varies according to their circumstances, the course they are following and their income.

There are different kinds of income students can receive:

  • educational grants, bursaries and allowances including contributions
  • payments under deed of covenant
  • student loans
  • charitable or voluntary payments

Due to the complexity of claims from students the information provided is only a guide for customers. No definite decision can be given on entitlement or exclusion.