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Budgeting advances and budgeting loans

A budgeting advance or budgeting loan can help you pay for things like:

  • household items such as fridges or beds

  • repairs or home security like alarms

  • rent in advance or the cost of moving home

  • work costs like travel, uniforms or tools

You have to pay an advance or loan back.

It is interest free but you get less benefit money each month while you pay it back.

If you need money while you wait for your first universal credit (UC) payment, you can ask for a universal credit advance instead.

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

You could get help that you do not have to pay back.

Who can get a budgeting advance?

You need to be getting universal credit (UC) when you apply.

Speak to your work coach first. There might be other money help on universal credit.

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 been getting UC or another low income benefit for the last 6 months.

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:

You usually get a same day decision.

Who can get a budgeting loan?

You can get a budgeting loan if you or your partner have been getting one of these benefits for at least 6 months:

  • pension credit

  • income support

  • income related ESA

  • income based JSA

How to get a budgeting loan

You can:

You get a faster decision if you apply online.

Table: How much can you get?

This table shows the most you can borrow based on your situation.

Claim typeMaximum amount
Single people£348
Families with children£812

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

The lowest amount you can borrow is £100.

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

Paying back a budgeting advance or loan

The DWP usually takes money from your universal credit or other low income benefit for your loan repayments.

You usually have:

  • 1 year to repay a budgeting advance

  • 2 years to repay a budgeting loan

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:

You take money out of my benefits each month to repay my 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 give me 18 months to repay the advance.

You can also call the UC helpline on 0800 328 5644

If you are refused an advance or loan

You can ask the DWP to look at the decision again.

For budgeting advances, speak to your work coach or leave a message in your UC journal.

For budgeting loans, write to the address at the top of the decision letter. If you do not have the letter or the address, call the social fund enquiry line on 0800 169 0140

Other help you could get

Find out about:

Find out where to get:

Last updated: 15 April 2024

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