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

Contact the universal credit helpline on 0800 328 5644

You usually get a same day decision.

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

You can apply for a discretionary housing payment if you need further help with rent payments, rent in advance or a tenancy deposit.

Apply for a DHP from your council

Don't know your postcode?

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


Last updated: 10 December 2018

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