HC Deb 26 November 1999 vol 339 c219W
Mr. Wigley

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will take steps to ensure that student loans taken up by mature students undertaking university degree courses are not considered as income for the purposes of determining their eligibility for social benefits, including housing benefits, for themselves and for any dependent children. [99596]

Angela Eagle

Full time students are not eligible to claim income-related benefits—their primary source of financial support comes from the education system. However, certain students in vulnerable groups, for example: lone parents or disabled students, are eligible.

When deciding a claim for an income-related benefit most income is taken into account. Income is only disregarded if there are strong grounds for doing so. There are existing disregards from student loan income, such as amounts intended for travel or for books and equipment. To ignore the rest of the student loan income (which is intended for everyday living expenses) available to mature students would be unfair to other claimants of similar means and circumstances.