Universal Credit Contingency Fund short-term living expenses grant
You may be able to get a short-term living expenses grant from the Universal Credit Contingency Fund.
Help when you make a new claim for Universal Credit
A Universal Credit Contingency Fund short-term living expenses grant can help with the cost of living (for example, to buy food, toiletries or cleaning materials or to top up your fuel meter) if you are in financial difficulty while you are waiting for your first full Universal Credit award to be paid.
This could be your first or second payment if you are paid twice monthly or your first payment if you are paid monthly.
You would not need to repay the grant.
To be eligible for a short-term living expenses grant:
- you must have an extreme or exceptional situation, or be in a crisis which puts your or your immediate family’s health, safety or well-being at significant risk
- you must live in Northern Ireland
- the crisis must have arisen in Northern Ireland
- you must be over 18 or at least 16 if you do not have any parental support
- you must not have had a grant for living expenses (other than for COVID-19) in the past 12 months
- your and your partner’s (if you have one) total annual income after deductions must not be more than £24,382.80 (Some types of income are not taken into account when assessing this figure and reductions can be made for expenses such as housing costs)
- any money including savings you or your partner have may be taken into account when making an award
How you apply for a short-term living expenses grant
You will need to give the following information:
- your National Insurance number
- information on your rent or mortgage
- details of your income
- details of your savings
- your account details
Any grant made will normally be paid for the period from the date you apply to the day before you are due to get your next income payment (for example the day before your benefit payment or wage is due to be paid).
You may be able to get a grant to cover a longer period if your next income payment would not be enough to pay your essential living expenses.
Apply to the Finance Support Service
You may also be entitled to a Universal Credit advance while you wait for a Universal Credit payment.
How the grant is paid
The grant will be paid into the account you gave Finance Support details of.
If you are unhappy with a decision
If you are unhappy with the decision on your application, you can ask for a review within 28 days of that decision. To do this, contact the Finance Support Service.
If you are unhappy with the decision from Finance Support’s review, you can ask for the Discretionary Support Commissioner, who is independent of the Department for Communities, to carry out another review.
You can advise the person on the phone who is giving you the decision you want to do this, or you can contact the Finance Support Service in writing within 28 days of your decision.
More information can be found at The Office of the Discretionary Support Commissioner