Social Fund Budgeting Loan
You can get help if you need money for essential household items. Budgeting loans help with costs such as furniture or essential household equipment, clothing, footwear or home improvements. The loans are interest free.
You cannot get a Budgeting Loan if you or your partner currently claim Universal Credit.
You may be able to get a Budgeting Loan if you or your partner have been continuously receiving one, or more of the following benefits for the past 26 weeks:
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Pension Credit
If you moved from Universal Credit to Pension Credit, any time you were getting Universal Credit will count towards the 26 weeks.
Budgeting Loans can be used to help pay for any of the following:
- furniture or household equipment
- clothing or footwear
- advance rent and removal costs when moving to 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
Effect on other benefits
A Budgeting Loan does not count as income and will not affect other benefits you're getting.
How to apply
Fill in a budgeting loan form, which you can do online or by phoning 0800 0224 250.
You can also fill the form in on screen and print it off.
You can also request a form by post.
The form comes with notes to help you fill it in and tells you where to send it.
There is a different form and postal address if you live in England, Scotland or Wales.
If you use sign language, you might be able to use the video relay service.
How you will receive a decision about your loan application
Your budgeting loan decision is usually sent by letter. From 14 November 2022 you can receive telephone communication about your loan decision as well as receiving a loan decision by letter. Telephone communications will allow you to receive payment faster than by post.
If you do not want to use the new telephone process you can tell the Department for Communities that you wish to receive a letter about your loan decision and you can return your offer letter by post in the usual way. You can also view an information leaflet to explain the telephone process.
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 for previous loans
- your ability to repay the loan
- your savings (your award will usually be reduced by the amount of any savings you or your partner have above £1,000, or £2,000 if one or both of you is 63 or over)
The following cannot be taken into account:
- the urgency of your need
- any health problems you or your family might have
How the loan is paid
The loan will be paid into the account you provided detail of.
Repaying the loan
Your repayments are worked out at the time your loan is agreed. They are usually taken out of your benefit. If you stop getting benefits, you will need to arrange another way to repay the loan.
The repayments are interest-free, so you only pay back what you borrowed and no more.
You normally have to repay a Budgeting Loan within a maximum of 104 weeks.
If you are unhappy with a decision
If you are unhappy with a decision on your application for a Budgeting Loan, you can ask for a review. You must write to the address below within 28 days of the decision, explaining why you think the decision is wrong and asking for it to be reviewed.
Budgeting Loan, Social Fund
Mail Opening Unit
PO Box 42
If after that review, you still think the decision was wrong, you can ask for the Independent Case Examiner, who is independent of the Department for Communities to carry out another review.
The review process is quick and simple, and should take no longer than 21 days.