Claiming Benefit for Home Educated Post-16s

Benefits for Home Educated Post-16s

Child Benefit, Tax Credits and Universal Credit are all payable for a qualifying young person in full-time education. Home education is recognised as valid for these purposes. See also my Child Benefit page

Home educating parents may wish to bear the following observations in mind, which are taken from home educators' experience of the system. Once the parent says that the young person's continuing education will be home education, there may be a series of questions about "courses" and "exams". In the short term, parents who are concerned about whether officials will accept home education may be tempted to play up the fact that their son or daughter is currently studying for an exam or is on a course, as though this will somehow compensate in tax office terms for the young person's not attending college. However, it should be noted that home education, including autonomous home education, is itself recognised as long as the young person is "working towards" qualifications and is meeting the other conditions for being "a qualifying young person." In other words, if it is intended that the home education will continue until the young person is 19, and home education at 16 has only been recognised because of courses or exams, then once these courses or exams cease, officials may decide that the young person is no longer in education. In addition, if the young person is only studying for 1 or 2 exams, officials may judge that this is "not full-time". I am not suggesting that exams or courses should not be mentioned, simply that they could perhaps usefully be presented as elements of the larger picture of full-time home education.

  • CB, CTC, and UC are all separate and you will have to make separate claims and renewals
  • CTC is confirmed retrospectively; if your circumstances have not changed you must still send this information to the tax office or risk having to repay credits from the previous tax year
  • It is possible to confirm your details over the phone but you should keep a record of dates and details discussed
  • It is not necessary to be "doing a course" in the traditional sense
  • For home educators "doing a course" can be translated as "following a course of home education"
  • If you answer only for a traditional "course", officials may decide it is not full-time
  • If you answer only for a traditional "course", officials may decide education has finished when the "course" finishes.
  • It is not necessary to be studying for exams or taking exams
  • Part-time exams can be seen as only one element of a full-time home education course
  • If part-time exams are only one element of a full-time home education course, then the home ed course does not cease when the exams are finished.
  • It is not necessary to be "at college"
  • If you are unsure whether your son/daughter will be attending college, your benefit will probably be stopped until you can confirm that the young person is continuing in education
  • For officials, "college" = "education" and "not college" = "not education"
  • For officials, "exams" = "education" and "finished exams"= "finished education"
  • Where a young person decides college is not a good fit and returns to home education, officials may count this as "ceasing to be in education" and benefit may be stopped
  • For officials, "college" = "education" and "left college" = "left education"
  • It is difficult but not impossible to get this benefit reinstated and backdated
  • Officials are extremely interested in the date at which home education began, ie the day, month and year. You should have these details at your fingertips, especially over the phone
  • In the absence of any other definitive date, the home education "course" will end on the last day before the young person reaches age 20
  • Officials may initially have difficulty understanding what is meant by home education
  • Your MP may assist in getting benefits reinstated
  • Your MP may decline to get involved if the matter has already gone to a formal appeal
  • Appeals may not be accepted beyond a certain deadline (eg 30 days)
  • It is better to sort out post-16 benefits before the deadline, in order to have unbroken claim
  • It is advisable to request written confirmation, but also keep checking the bank account where benefits are paid

Disability Living Allowance + Transfer to Personal Independence Payment

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) stops at 16 and the young person has to claim Personal Independence Payment which has different rules. Transfer from DLA to PIP is not automatic and the young person will become responsible for making a claim for PIP in their own right. However, it is possible for a parent/carer to oversee their claim as what is called an "appointee". If you provide the appropriate information at the right stage in the process, the young person may be excused from the face to face assessment. One parent advises "PUT EVERYTHING IN... don't assume 'they' know a single thing. Labour your points. If you're not sure if it's 'relevant' to the question you're answering PUT IT IN ANYWAY!"

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