Universal Credit claimants awaiting their first payment can apply for a budgeting advance to cover essential one-off costs, such as purchasing a new cooker or helping them secure or keep a job.
The amount of the advance you receive depends on your individual situation. Usually, you can get a same-day decision and have it deposited into your bank account within three business days.
What is a budgeting advance?
The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) assists those receiving universal credit (UC) with one-off expenses through a budgeting advance. This discretionary, repayable loan may range in value from PS100 or more.
It can be a lifesaver if you need extra cash to cover essential expenses. Unfortunately, it must be repaid – usually through deductions from future universal credit payments – until all of the loan has been fully repaid.
Jobcentre Plus’ work coach will usually give you your decision and the amount available to borrow over the phone. They’ll confirm it in your universal credit account journal, with funds usually becoming accessible within three business days.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have warned that rising living costs could prompt more Universal Credit claimants to apply for budgeting advances this year. It’s essential to remember, these advances aren’t designed to cover unexpected bills like electricity or gas unless you are facing a dire emergency.
Who can apply for a budgeting advance?
Budgeting advances can be a useful option for people who need to cover an unexpected expense. They may help with things like buying household goods, covering funeral costs, paying rent in advance or removal costs to secure housing, as well as helping with employment prospects or maintaining employment.
Budgeting advances are determined on an individual basis and subject to certain limits. For instance, a single adult might only receive up to PS348 while couples without children may get up to PS464 overall.
Before applying, speak to your work coach about why you need the money and whether or not you can repay it. While applying online through your universal credit account journal is possible, make sure to discuss this with your work coach first. Alternatively, if this is not feasible, discuss all details of your application in person with them.
How much can I get?
Budgeting advances from the Department of Workplace Pensions (DWP) are interest-free loans that must be repaid with reduced future universal credit payments over 12 to 18 months, or in exceptional circumstances up to 18 months.
The amount you can borrow depends on a number of factors, including your ability to repay it and the level of savings you possess.
Your budgeting advance may also differ if you are a single claimant or part of a couple with no children. In either case, the maximum budgeting advance available to you is PS348 for single claimants and PS464 if part of a couple with children.
Applying for a budgeting advance is easy; simply contact your nearest Jobcentre Plus work coach. They’ll go through your application with you and usually provide an immediate decision.
How do I apply for a budgeting advance?
Receiving a budgeting advance can be an effortless process. You can apply for one through your universal credit account journal, or call the budgeting advance helpline to speak with a work coach about your individual situation.
Your application for an advance is determined by your income, savings and outgoings. Your work coach will assess all these factors to determine if you qualify for the advance.
Budgeting advances are short-term loans that are paid back through reduced future benefits payments over 12 months, at no interest. You only pay back what you borrow – no more or less!
If you are dissatisfied with your budgeting advance, you have 28 days to request a review. If still unsatisfied, ask for the Independent Case Examiner to conduct another review.
You have other options, such as a flexible support fund or discretionary housing payment, to cover costs related to your job. Unfortunately, these cannot be used for unexpected household bills.