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.

It 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 universal credit 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. You can ask for your application to be reconsidered if you're refused.

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

To get a budgeting advance, you have to meet rules about benefits and income.

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 in total 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 repay a budgeting advance through deductions from your monthly universal credit payments.

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

Jobcentre Plus should confirm the monthly deduction amount in writing. 

Other sources of financial help

If you get the housing element of universal credit and need further help with rent payments, rent in advance or a tenancy deposit, you can apply for a discretionary housing payment.

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

Last updated 10 December 2018 | © Shelter

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

Get help

Get the government to build more social housing

You have the power to make sure they provide affordable housing for all those who need it

Sign the petition Sign the petition

Email a link to this article

Thank you - your message has been sent.

Sorry! - your message has not been sent this time.

Was this advice helpful?

Thank you - your feedback has been submitted to the team.

Sorry! - your message has not been sent this time.