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Money Talk: Who is eligible for Universal Credit? Experts answer your questions on support


Julie, 45, recently got in touch to ask about the forms of financial support her daughter, who is currently on an apprenticeship, may be eligible for. Express Money contacted experts from Citizens Advice and Turn2us, who have shared their advice.

“Hello, please can you help?

“My daughter is currently on an apprenticeship. She’s been unfortunate to still be in her first year due to the current situation and the closure of another place.

“While she was in between apprenticeships she couldn’t claim benefits due to her not paying NI contributions due to her not earning enough.

“Is there anything she can do about this?

“She’s on £4.15 per hour doing 37.5hrs a week and about five months into first year, although she’s been doing childcare apprenticeship for two years under different providers first at level two and currently level three. Thank you for your time and help.”

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Kate Green, Senior Benefits Adviser at Citizens Advice, replies: “I’m sorry to hear that your daughter has been having a hard time.

“I don’t have all the details of her situation, so as a first point of call I’d suggest contacting Citizens Advice for free, independent support to ensure she’s getting all the help she’s entitled to.

“Unfortunately, if your daughter didn’t meet the National Insurance contributions for a contributory benefit, then the decision on entitlement is likely to be correct.

“You should definitely check this with a qualified professional, however.


“Depending on your daughter’s age and circumstances at the time, she may have been able to get Universal Credit during the break between her apprenticeships.

“Universal Credit is a means-tested benefit, therefore National Insurance contributions aren’t taken into account.

“The difficulty here is that if the break has now come to an end, she may not be able to apply for Universal Credit to be backdated.

“Universal Credit can be backdated for a maximum of one month and only under very specific circumstances.

“But, depending on her circumstances, she may still be eligible now as some apprentices are able to claim Universal Credit.

“I recommend contacting the Citizens Advice Help to Claim service to have a full check carried out.”

Liam Evans, from the charity Turn2us, explains apprentices are eligible to claim benefits.

“Which benefits she might be entitled to will depend on her circumstances,” he continues.

“If she is over 18, she can use our Benefits Calculator to see what help she might be entitled to.

“But, if she is under 18 then she will need to fall in one of the following categories:

– The DWP has decided you have limited capability for work, and you are earning less than £569/month, or the DWP has decided you have limited capability for work and you receive PIP or DLA

– You are receiving Carer’s Allowance or you would be entitled to Carer’s Allowance but your earnings are too high, or

– You or your partner are responsible for a child

– You are an orphan and have no-one acting for you in place of your parents

– You have left local authority care and live away from your parents or any person acting in their place

– You have to live away from your parents and any person acting in their place and either:

  • You are estranged from them or would be in danger if you lived with them
  • They cannot support you because they are in prison or unable to come to the UK
  • They are sick or have disabilities.”


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