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PhD government benefits help Watch

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    Hiya. I'm starting a fully funded PhD (~£14k pa) in October. Just to give a brief overview, I'm currently living with my partner and we are expecting our first baby around the start of October. Does anyone know whether you can claim any help from the government? I don't think I can claim working tax credits as it's education and my partner is looking to be a stay at home mum - at least for the majority of the first year. Many thanks.
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    The UK benefit system is a ridiculous joke so you will probably get a fortune. To put it into context, a tax free stipend of £14k is equivalent to a £17k gross salary. If you have a couple who has 1 kid with a stay-at-home mother and a father earning £17k/year, and they are paying £800/month to rent a flat, then they will be 'entitled' to around £12k in tax free benefits per year (roughly broken down as £7k housing benefit, £4k tax credit (mainly child tax credit), and £1k child benefits), which is equivalent to earning a £34k gross salary. I would assume a PhD stipend is treated like income so you would get roughly the same, but you should probably check because you may not qualify for working tax credit which would drop it by a few hundred. Obviously if you own your house you wont get the housing benefit either.

    You can check your ''entitlement' here: http://www.entitledto.co.uk/
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    (Original post by poohat)
    The UK benefit system is a ridiculous joke so you will probably get a fortune. To put it into context, a tax free stipend of £14k is equivalent to a £17k gross salary. If you have a couple who has 1 kid with a stay-at-home mother and a father earning £17k/year, and they are paying £800/month to rent a flat, then they will be 'entitled' to around £12k in tax free benefits per year (roughly broken down as £7k housing benefit, £4k tax credit (mainly child tax credit), and £1k child benefits), which is equivalent to earning a £34k gross salary. I would assume a PhD stipend is treated like income so you would get roughly the same, but you should probably check because you may not qualify for working tax credit which would drop it by a few hundred. Obviously if you own your house you wont get the housing benefit either.

    You can check your ''entitlement' here: http://www.entitledto.co.uk/
    Thanks for the reply. Unfortunately i'm still classed as a student so i couldn't use that website - it seems like a weird situation!
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    (Original post by Brit_Miller)
    Thanks for the reply. Unfortunately i'm still classed as a student so i couldn't use that website - it seems like a weird situation!
    That is because a studentship isn't a job (except in some very unusual circumstances). Depending on who is funding you, you may be entitled to a higher stipend because you have dependents. You should ask your university- they will know the current rules.
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    (Original post by Cora Lindsay)
    That is because a studentship isn't a job (except in some very unusual circumstances). Depending on who is funding you, you may be entitled to a higher stipend because you have dependents. You should ask your university- they will know the current rules.
    I don't think I would be so lucky. It is half funded by a local company with the other half covered as a studentship by the university.
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    (Original post by Brit_Miller)
    I don't think I would be so lucky. It is half funded by a local company with the other half covered as a studentship by the university.
    But your partner isn't a student presumably, so she should be able to claim, or am I missing something?
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    (Original post by threeportdrift)
    But your partner isn't a student presumably, so she should be able to claim, or am I missing something?
    She should yes, but I'm not sure what. Maybe housing benefit and child tax credits but I cannot find any info about this.
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    (Original post by Brit_Miller)
    I don't think I would be so lucky. It is half funded by a local company with the other half covered as a studentship by the university.
    The precise arrangements matter. If the company money is routed through the university and you are clearly a student, that's one thing; if there's some odd arrangement where you are treated as, say, a part time employee by the company then be very careful. I'd have thought it would be the first arrangement though.

    You probably need to start by getting clear evidence of your status and, with that, you then need to talk to someone who undersands the benefits system- maybe Citizens' Advice?

    The other biggie, of course, is Council tax.
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    (Original post by Brit_Miller)
    She should yes, but I'm not sure what. Maybe housing benefit and child tax credits but I cannot find any info about this.
    Are you at UoB? If so, the SU should be able to help, there was a specific project last year to try and provide more support for student-parents.
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    (Original post by Cora Lindsay)
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    Thanks, I'll have to look further into this, though I'm fairly sure it's the first arrangement. Either way, it seems like my best bet is to speak to the CAB - they're bound to have some idea. And I'm fairly sure that as I'll be classed a full time student and my partner isn't working I should be exempt from council tax. At least I really hope so!

    (Original post by threeportdrift)
    Are you at UoB? If so, the SU should be able to help, there was a specific project last year to try and provide more support for student-parents.
    Afraid not I don't think. It's the centre for machine vision at the Bristol robotics lab. It's run as a collaboration between UWE and UoB (I think) but my studentship is from UWE.
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    (Original post by Brit_Miller)
    Afraid not I don't think. It's the centre for machine vision at the Bristol robotics lab. It's run as a collaboration between UWE and UoB (I think) but my studentship is from UWE.
    Yup, the whole Robotics thing is a joint research group. But UWE should have staff that can advise as well. It's not really a unique situation - except to you!
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    (Original post by threeportdrift)
    Yup, the whole Robotics thing is a joint research group. But UWE should have staff that can advise as well. It's not really a unique situation - except to you!
    Well that's good to know! I'll ask one of the support staff for advice. Thanks for your help.
 
 
 
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