Benefits for young people

The rules for claiming benefits can be different if you're a young person. This page explains which benefits you're eligible to apply for. Whether or not your claim will be accepted will depend on your circumstances.

Getting help claiming benefits

To make sure you're claiming everything you're entitled to, go and see an adviser at a Citizens Advice Bureau or welfare rights agency. They can help you work out what you can claim and help you fill in the application forms if necessary. They can also help you deal with the benefit agencies if there are any problems with your claim. 

How to check if you're entitled to benefits

Turn to Us has an online benefit calculator. You can use this to check if you are entitled to any extra money. It can be useful to have information with you about any money you have coming into your household already and what your monthly rent payments are before you use this tool.

Citizens Advice Scotland and Money Advice Scotland can provide money advice and welfare benefit checks and other financial support information.

Scotland’s Financial Health Service Advice offers lots of useful information about money and finances and has helpful links to services by council area.

Help to pay rent

Unless you are living in social rented housing (rented from the council or a housing association) it is unlikely that you'll get enough money to cover all your rent. You will probably have to make up the difference from your own money.

If you are single, under 35 and rent from a private landlord, you will normally only be entitled to enough benefit to cover the average cost of a single room in a shared house in your area. This is the case even if you have a place of your own. This rule is known as a shared room rate.

There are exceptions to this rule - the page on housing costs if you're under 35s explains these in more detail.

Universal Credit

The minimum age to claim Universal Credit is usually 18 but in some circumstances the minimum age is lowered to 16 if you:

  • can't work due to illness or disability

  • if you're responsible for a child or you're pregnant

  • or, if you have no parental support

If you might be eligible it could be good to get help with your claim from somewhere like Citizen's Advice.

Can I apply for loans or grants from the social fund?

If you're over 16, you may be able to get a:

What if I'm still at school?

If you're still at school, you may be eligible for a 16 to 19 bursary (a grant to help you when studying) from your school or college. Check Gov.uk's 16-19 bursary fund information.

You could also be eligible for a weekly payment of £30 through the Education Maintenance Allowance.

You may also be eligible to claim benefits on top of the education maintenance allowance if you are living away from home and are estranged from your family. In these circumstances you will may also be eligible to receive help to pay to pay rent. Your income while at school is a complicated area so talk to an adviser to find out what you're entitled to.

If you need to talk to someone, we’ll do our best to help. Get Help

Last updated: 24 January 2021

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England