Brits struggling on their Universal Credit payments may be able to get a budgeting advance of up to £812 to help them out.
The money can used to pay for emergency household costs like buying a new hob, funeral costs or to help you stay in work.
The “budgeting advance” is a loan though – so it does need to be repaid eventually.
However, it can come in useful if you have an unexpected expense.
The loan is different to an advance payment which is there to help you through the five year wait for your initial Universal Credit payment.
If you are single with no children you can only get a maximum budgeting loan of £348.
If you are a couple with no children you’re eligible for £464, but if you do have children then you may ask for up to £812 as a loan.
The lowest amount you can get as a budgeting advance is £100.
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So, who’s eligible for the advance?
To get the payment, you must have:
- Been receiving Universal Credit, Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance or State Pension Credit for six months or more unless the money is needed to help you get or keep a job.
- Earned less than £2,600 (£3,600 for couples) in the last six months.
- Paid off any previous budgeting advances.
How much you get depends on when you can pay the money back and your savings.
Savings of £1,000 will be ignored, but your loan amount will be reduced by £1 for ever £1 over £1,000 you have.
What can I use the loan for?
A one-off item such as replacing a broken fridge
- Work-related expenses such as buying uniform or tools
- Unexpected expenses
- Repairs to your home
- Travel expenses
- Maternity expenses
- Funeral expenses
- Moving costs or rent deposit
- Essential items, like clothes
When do you pay it back?
The advance must be paid back within 12 months.
The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) will deduct an amount from your Universal Credit payment each month.
If you stop getting Universal Credit you will need to repay the loan in another way.
To apply for the loan call the Universal Credit helpline, apply through your online account or seek to your Jobcentre Plus coach.
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