You may be able to get a Budgeting Loan if you or your partner have been getting one, or a combination of, the following benefits for the past 26 weeks:
- Income Support
- income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Pension Credit
- Universal Credit (time spent on Universal Credit will only count towards the 26 week qualifying benefit period where you are moving from Universal Credit to Pension Credit)
Budgeting Loans can be used to help pay for any of the following:
- furniture or household equipment
- clothing or footwear
- advance rent or removal expenses for a new home
- travelling expenses within the UK
- things to help you look for or start work
- improving, maintaining or securing your home
- maternity or funeral expenses
- repaying hire purchase or other debts you took out to pay for any of the above
How much you'll get
You can apply to borrow between £100 and £1,500. The amount you get will depend on:
- the number of people in your household
- any money you already owe to the Social Fund
- your ability to repay the loan
- your savings - your award will usually be reduced by the amount of any savings you or your partner or civil partner have above £1,000 (or £2,000 if one or both of you is 63 or over)
The following can't be taken into account:
- the urgency of your need
- any health problems you or your family might have
How it's paid
The loan is paid into a bank, building society or other account provider's account.
Repaying your loan
Your repayments are worked out at the time your loan is agreed. They are usually taken out of your benefit, however, if you're not getting benefits, another method will be agreed.
You normally have to repay a Budgeting Loan within 104 weeks.
The repayments are interest-free which means you only pay back what you borrowed and no more.
Effect on other benefits
A Budgeting Loan does not count as income and will not affect other benefits you're getting.
How to apply
You can contact your nearest Social Security or Jobs & Benefits office and ask them to send you claim form SF500.
You can also download and print the claim form below. The form comes with notes to help you fill it in and tells you where to send it.
If you're unhappy with the decision
If you're unhappy with a Budgeting Loan decision, you have the right to ask for a review. You must write to Lisburn Jobs & Benefits office within 28 days of the decision, explaining why you think the decision is wrong and ask for it to be reviewed.
If, after that review, you still think the decision was wrong, you can ask for a further review by the office of the Independent Case Examiner which is independent from the Department for Communities. The review process is quick and simple, and should take no longer than 21 days.