Universal Credit: advance payments

If you have applied for Universal Credit or if you already get it and need financial help, you may be able to apply for an advance that you pay back. There are different types of advances available, depending on your circumstances.

Universal Credit Advances

When you claim Universal Credit you will not receive your first payment for five weeks. 

If you are in financial need and do not have enough money to live on until your first payment, you can ask for an advance payment of your Universal Credit.

If you already receive Universal Credit and your payment is increasing due to a change in your circumstances, you can request an advance payment if you haven’t yet received the increased amount.

How much you’ll get

If you are eligible, you can get up to 100 per cent of your estimated Universal Credit payment.

How to apply

Use your Universal Credit online account to apply for an advance.

Once in your online account, you may be directed to contact the Universal Credit Service Centre or to speak to your work coach.

You’ll need to:

  • provide your bank /building society details
  • have had your identity checked
  • have had your partner’s identity checked (if you have a joint Universal Credit claim)

Repayments

If you are given an advance, you will be told:

  • how much you can have
  • the monthly repayment amounts
  • when the first repayment is due

Repayments are taken from your twice monthly Universal Credit payment and you have up to 12 months to pay back the advance.

In exceptional circumstances, repayments can be delayed for up to three months if you can’t afford them.

If you no longer get Universal Credit, repayments will be taken by other means, such as other benefit payments, your wages or through a debt collection agency.

If you are refused an advance

You might be refused an advance if you:

  • have enough money to last until your Universal Credit payment
  • live with your parents, relatives or friends
  • have any final earnings or redundancy payments
  • have any accessible savings

You can ask for the decision to be reconsidered but you do not have a right to appeal.

Universal Credit Contingency Fund payment 

A Universal Credit Contingency Fund payment may be available in certain circumstances, if you are still in financial difficulty after getting an advance payment. To request a Universal Credit Contingency Fund payment, telephone the Finance Support Service or contact your Work Coach.

Budgeting Advances

If you already receive Universal Credit, you may be able to get a Budgeting Advance to help pay for emergency household costs, or for help getting a job or staying in work.

This may include:

  • help getting a job or staying in work, such as work clothes, tools, travelling expenses and childcare costs
  • buying essential household items such as furniture, a cot, a pram, appliances, clothing and footwear
  • help with rent in advance or removal expenses to secure new accommodation
  • improvement, maintenance and security of your home

To get a Budgeting Advance, you must have:

  • been getting Universal Credit, Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance or State Pension Credit for six months or more, unless you need the money to help you start a new job or keep an existing job
  • earned less than £2,600 (£3,600 jointly for couples) in the past six months
  • paid off any previous Budgeting Advances

How much you’ll get              

The smallest amount you can borrow is £100. You can get up to:

  • £348 if you’re single
  • £464 if you’re part of a couple
  • £812 if you have children

How much you can get depends on whether you:

  • can pay the loan back
  • have savings over £1,000

How to apply

To apply, contact the Universal Credit Service Centre via your online account or speak to your work coach.

Repayments

Repayments are taken from your twice monthly Universal Credit payment and you have up to 12 months to pay back the advance. The first repayment will be taken on the day of your your next payment.

If you move from Universal Credit to another benefit, repayments will usually continue from your benefit payments until the advance is paid off.

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