How to claim universal credit
Universal credit advances
You usually have to wait at least 5 weeks for your first universal credit (UC) payment.
You can ask for a UC advance if you need money during this time.
What is a UC advance?
An advance is an interest free loan from the DWP.
You pay it back from your monthly UC payments.
Your UC payments are lower while you pay back the advance.
You can pay the loan back over 2 years.
You may have to pay it back sooner if you stop claiming UC.
You can ask to delay repayments for up to 3 months if you cannot afford them.
How to get a UC advance
ask your work coach at your jobcentre interview
call the UC helpline on 0800 328 5644
apply through your UC account
Information you need
You need to:
confirm your identity
tell the DWP why you need the advance
give them your bank account details
Good examples of why you may need an advance are for rent, food or important bills.
The DWP usually ask if there is other money you could use. For example, savings, final wages or redundancy pay.
How much to ask for
The most you can get is the same as your estimated first monthly payment.
It's best not to ask for the whole amount unless you need it because it has to be paid back.
How soon do you get the money?
You usually get a decision on the same day.
The DWP should pay the money into your bank account within 3 working days.
You can ask for a same day payment in an emergency. For example, if you need it for food.
If you cannot get an advance
You might be turned down if your work coach or UC adviser decide you can manage without an advance.
Ask them to reconsider if this happens.
Last updated: 6 April 2023