Guidance

Universal Credit advances

If you don’t have enough to live on while you wait for your first payment you may be able to get an advance of your first Universal Credit payment.

When you first claim Universal Credit it usually takes about 5 weeks until you get your first payment.

You can ask for an advance of your Universal Credit payment if you will face financial hardship while you wait for your claim to be processed. This includes if you can’t afford to pay your rent or buy food.

You will need to pay back your advance a bit at a time from your future Universal Credit payments.

You may also be able to get a Budgeting Advance to help pay for emergency household costs.

How to apply for a Universal Credit advance

You can ask for a Universal Credit advance when:

  • you make your claim for Universal Credit
  • while you are waiting for your first payment
  • if you have just reported a change in your circumstances to us

You can call the Universal Credit helpline or speak to your work coach.

The Universal Credit helpline adviser will need to speak to you and your partner if you have a joint Universal Credit claim.

You’ll need to:

  • explain why you need the advance
  • provide your bank details so that the Universal Credit helpline adviser can arrange payment if the advance is agreed
  • have had your identity checked

We will usually let you know on the same day if you can get an advance.

Which number to call depends on if you are using Universal Credit live service or Universal Credit full service.

If you don’t have a Universal Credit online account and contact us by phone you are using Universal Credit live service.

Universal Credit live service

Telephone: 0800 328 9344
Textphone: 0800 328 1344
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

If you have a Universal Credit online account and contact us via your online journal you are using Universal Credit full service.

Universal Credit full service

Telephone 0800 328 5644
Textphone 0800 328 1344
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

How much you can get

You may be able to get up to 100% of your estimated Universal Credit payment.

You will need to repay an advance from future Universal Credit payments so it is best to only ask for what you need.

Cost of repayments

The Universal Credit helpline adviser assesses whether you can afford to repay the advance. If they agree to the advance, they will tell you over the phone:

  • how much you can have
  • the monthly repayment amounts
  • when the first repayment is due

How the advance is repaid

Deductions are made from your single monthly Universal Credit payment. The first deduction is made on the day you get your first payment and you’ll have up to 12 months to pay back the advance.

You can ask for your repayments to be delayed for up to 3 months if you can’t afford them. This is only allowed in exceptional circumstances.

If you are refused an advance

You might be refused an advance if you:

  • have enough money to last until your payment of Universal Credit
  • live with parents, relatives or friends
  • have any final earnings or redundancy payments
  • have any accessible savings

You can ask for the decision to be reconsidered but you do not have a right to appeal.

Get a Budgeting Advance

You can get what is known as a ‘Budgeting Advance’ to help pay for emergency household costs (for example buying a new cooker) or for help getting a job or staying in work.

A Budgeting Advance is a loan, and you’ll need to repay it through your regular Universal Credit payments – your payments will be lower until you pay it back.

You’ll be told how much your payments will be reduced by.

You’ll have to agree another way to repay your Budgeting Advance if you stop getting Universal Credit.

What you’ll get

The smallest amount you can borrow is £100. You can get up to:

  • £348 if you’re single
  • £464 if you’re part of a couple
  • £812 if you have children

How much you can get depends on whether you:

  • can pay the loan back
  • have any savings over £1,000 (we will reduce the loan amount we offer to you by £1 for every £1 you have in savings over the £1000 threshold)

How the Budgeting Advance is repaid

Deductions are made from your single monthly Universal Credit payment. The first deduction is made on the day you get your next payment.

You will have to repay the Budgeting Advance within 12 months.

Eligibility

To get a Budgeting Advance, you must have:

  • been getting Universal Credit, Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance or State Pension Credit for 6 months or more, unless you need the money to help you start a new job or keep an existing job
  • earned less than £2,600 (£3,600 jointly for couples) in the past 6 months
  • paid off any previous Budgeting Advances
Published 23 October 2017
Last updated 14 February 2018 + show all updates
  1. Amended the first payment information. The first payment will now usually be received 1 month and 7 days after a claim is submitted.
  2. Changes to advance payment amounts and repayment periods.
  3. Updated guide with new 0800 freephone numbers for Universal Credit.
  4. First published.