More financial help if you get Universal Credit
If you are entitled to Universal Credit you may be eligible to claim extra support to help with essential costs
Help while waiting on your Universal Credit payment
If you do not have enough money to live on, you can apply for:
- a Universal Credit Contingency Fund short term living expenses grant. You do not have to pay this back
- a Universal Credit Advance loan. You will have to pay this back from your Universal Credit payments
- a Budgeting Advance loan. You will have to pay this back from your Universal Credit payments
- Discretionary Support. This is an interest free loan or a grant
More information on this support is available at Help while waiting for a Universal Credit payment. Contact Universal Credit through your online account or speak to your work coach at your local Jobs & Benefits office.
Make the Call Service
Check if you are getting all the money, support and services you are entitled to by contacting Make the Call.
Other benefits you may be able to get
Details of other benefits you may be able to claim are available at Range of available benefits
Further financial support
The following financial support may also be available to you:
Adviser Discretionary Fund (ADF)
If you are unemployed and you are facing financial barriers to starting or returning to work, or if you are employed or self-employed and are facing financial difficulties your local Jobs & Benefits office may be able to help you with upfront childcare costs, travel to job interview costs and other expenses, through the Adviser Discretion Fund.
Universal Credit does not include an amount for rates but, if you are entitled to Universal Credit and you live in your own property or a rented property, you can apply for a Rate Rebate. You can’t apply for Rate Rebate if you live in supported accommodation.
Support for Mortgage Interest
If you are a homeowner and you get Universal Credit, you may be able to get help towards your mortgage interest payments. You will need to pay this money back, with interest, when you sell or transfer ownership of your property. More information is available on support for mortgage interest
Help with Health Costs
You may be able to get help with dental, optical and travel costs if you receive Universal Credit. To get this help, you must complete a HC1 form and send it for assessment.
If your application is successful, you will be issued a certificate which will entitle you to either:
- full remission of health costs for a 12 month period (HC2 certificate)
- partial remission of health costs for a 12 month period (HC3 certificate).
More information on Help with Health Costs
Free School Meals and School Uniform Assistance and Transport
To claim free school meals or for help with school uniforms you should apply online at Education Authority (EA) Northern Ireland website. If you get Universal Credit, you will need to provide your most recent Universal Credit Claimant Statement.
Some children may be able to get help with home to school transport from the Education Authority (EA). Children with disabilities or special educational needs may also receive extra help. More information, including how to apply, is available at School transport
Pre-School Application Process
Parents applying for a pre-school education place who are eligible for Universal Credit can claim priority because of social disadvantage.
You can apply online for admission to pre-school at Education Authority admissions website
You can also request a paper form by emailing email@example.com or contacting the Admissions Helpdesk (028) 9598 5595.
Applicants who get Universal Credit will need to provide their most recent Universal Credit Claimant Statement.
Healthy Start Scheme
If you get Universal Credit, your family can get access to free vitamins and vouchers towards milk, fruit and vegetables through the Healthy Start Scheme.
More information, including how to claim is available at Healthy Start Scheme.
Sure Start Maternity Grants
If you receive Universal Credit, you may be eligible for a one-off £500 payment to help with the costs of a new baby. You do not have to pay this back. More information, including how to claim is available at Sure Start Maternity Grant.
Cold Weather Payments
You may be eligible for a Cold Weather payment if:
- you get Universal Credit
- you are not employed or self-employed, and either
- you have a health condition or disability and have limited capability for work (with or without work-related activity)
- you have a child under five living with you
You will also be eligible if you have a disabled child amount in your claim, whether you are employed or not. More information, including how this payment is made is available at Cold Weather Payments
BT low cost broadband and phone service
If you get Universal Credit and you have zero earnings you may be able to get help with your broadband and phone costs. You can get more information, including how to apply at BT Home Essentials
If you get Universal Credit, you may be able to get legal aid as well as legal advice and help, prison visits and exemption from court costs. More information including how to apply is available at Legal aid.
If you receive Universal Credit and are arranging the funeral of someone you have had a close relationship with, you may be able to get a Funeral Expenses Payment.
More information on eligibility and how to apply is available at Funeral Expenses Payments.
Child Funeral Fund
The Child Funeral Fund is a one-off lump sum payment available to everyone in Northern Ireland regardless of their financial status, to help families with the cost of a funeral following the death of a child under 18 or a still birth after 24 weeks.
Information on how to apply is available at The Child Funeral Fund
Council run services
Your local council may offer reduced rates for some services.