Budgeting advances under universal credit

A budgeting advance could help if you claim universal credit and need help with emergency or one-off essential expenses.

What is a budgeting advance

A budgeting advance is an interest-free loan to help people claiming universal credit with one-off or unforeseen expenses.

You repay it through deductions from your monthly universal credit payments.

A budgeting advance can help pay for things like:

  • household items such as cookers, fridges or beds
  • rent in advance or removal costs if moving home
  • repairs or security improvements to your home

If you're struggling to pay rent or buy food while you wait for your first UC payment you can ask for a universal credit advance instead.

Who can get a budgeting advance

You must be claiming universal credit when you apply.

You might be refused a budgeting advance if you can't afford to pay it back.

If you've had a budgeting advance before, you must pay it back in full before you can get another one.

Benefit rules

You must have claimed one of the following benefits for the last 6 months:

  • universal credit
  • jobseeker's allowance (income-based)
  • employment and support allowance (income-related)
  • income support
  • pension credit

Income rules

Over the last 6 months you must have earned less than:

  • £2600 if you're single
  • £3600 if you're part of a couple

How to get a budgeting advance

You can apply for a budgeting advance through Jobcentre Plus.

Find your local Jobcentre Plus on Gov.uk

The amount you can borrow

The maximum amount you can get is:

  • £348 (singles without dependent children)
  • £464 (couples without dependent children)
  • £812 (if you have dependent children)

If you have more than £1000 in savings you won't get the maximum advance.

The minimum budgeting advance is £100.

Repaying a budgeting advance 

You must usually repay a budgeting advance over 12 months. You may be able to repay it over 18 months in exceptional circumstances.

Repayments are usually deducted from your monthly universal credit payment. Jobcentre Plus should confirm the deductions in writing. 

Other sources of financial help

You can't appeal if Jobcentre Plus refuses to give you a budgeting advance although you can ask them to reconsider.

If you get the housing costs element as part of your UC payment and need further help with rent payments, rent in advance or a deposit for a new property you can apply for a discretionary housing payment.

There may be other forms of emergency financial help available, depending on where you live.


Last updated 19 Dec 2017 | © Shelter

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