Budgeting advances under universal credit

A budgeting advance is an interest free loan from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

It has to be paid back.

You can only get one if you already claim universal credit (UC).

If you need money while you wait for your first UC payment, ask for a UC advance instead.

What is a budgeting advance for?

A budgeting advance can help you pay for things like:

  • household items such as fridges or beds

  • repairs or home security improvements

  • rent in advance or the cost of moving home

  • work related expenses including travel, uniforms or tools

Check if you can get an emergency grant or money help before you ask for an advance.

Who can get a budgeting advance?

You need to be claiming UC when you apply.

You can get a budgeting advance if you need one to get or keep a job. For example, to buy train tickets to an interview, a uniform or tools.

To get a budgeting advance for other things, you or your partner must have claimed one of these benefits for the last 6 months:

  • UC

  • pension credit

  • income support

  • jobseeker's allowance (JSA)

  • employment and support allowance (ESA)

Speak to your work coach first. There may be other options.

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

  • £2,600 if you're single

  • £3,600 if you're part of a couple

How to get a budgeting advance

You can:

  • use your online account

  • speak to your work coach

  • call the UC helpline on 0800 328 5644

You usually get a same day decision.

What you can borrow

The maximum amount you can get is:

  • £348 if you're single and do not have dependent children

  • £464 if you're part of a couple and do not have dependent children

  • £812 if you have dependent children

If you have more than £1,000 in savings you will not get the maximum advance.

The minimum advance is £100.

You cannot ask for another budgeting advance if you are still paying one back.

Repaying an advance 

You pay back a budgeting advance from your monthly UC payments.

Your jobcentre should tell you in writing how much you have to pay each month.

You usually have to repay it within 1 year.

If you are struggling to repay an advance

If you cannot afford food or important bills or household costs you can ask the DWP to:

  • pause repayments for up to 3 months

  • extend the repayment time up to 18 months

Copy our template into your UC online journal:

I have UC deductions for a budgeting advance.

I cannot afford food or to pay my bills at the moment.

I am finding it hard to manage with the deductions from my monthly payment.

Please could you pause the deductions for 3 months and extend the time I have to repay the advance to 18 months.

You can also call the universal credit helpline on 0800 328 5644

If you cannot get an advance

Ask the DWP to look at your application again.

Other help you could get

You can apply for a discretionary housing payment to help with rent.

You do not have to pay this back.

Find out about other help if you're on UC.

Last updated: 5 April 2023

If you need to talk to someone, we'll do our best to help

Get help