Other financial support
If you’re in financial difficulties, you can get help and advice from the government, local councils and other organisations.
Advance and hardship payments
If you do not have enough to live on while you wait for your first payment you can ask for an advance payment after you’ve made a claim.
You can also ask for a hardship payment if you cannot pay for rent, heating, food or hygiene needs because you got a sanction.
You need to pay it back through your Universal Credit payments - they’ll be lower until you pay it back.
Change how you get your Universal Credit
If you’re having financial difficulties or you’re behind on your rent, you or your landlord may be able to apply for an Alternative Payment Arrangement (APA).
Depending on your circumstances, you could get an APA to:
- get your rent paid directly to your landlord
- get paid more frequently than once a month
- receive split payments, if you’re part of a couple
Speak to your work coach to apply for an APA.
You might be able to get a Budgeting Advance to help with:
- emergency household costs such as replacing a broken cooker
- getting a job or staying in work
- funeral costs
You’ll repay it through your regular Universal Credit payments - these will be lower until you pay it back. If you stop getting Universal Credit, you’ll have to repay the money in another way.
How much you can borrow
What you get will depend on how much you need - you’ll agree the amount with your work coach.
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
To get a Budgeting Advance, all of the following must apply:
- you’ve 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 stay in work
- you’ve earned less than £2,600 (£3,600 together for couples) in the past 6 months
- you’ve paid off any previous Budgeting Advance loans
How to apply
To apply, you can do any of the following:
- update your journal in your Universal Credit account
- contact your nearest jobcentre
- call the Universal Credit helpline
Universal Credit helpline
Telephone: 0800 328 5644
Textphone: 0800 328 1344
Relay UK (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 328 5644
British Sign Language (BSL) video relay service if you’re on a computer - find out how to use the service on mobile or tablet
Welsh language: 0800 328 1744
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Find out about call charges
Other benefits you can claim
Use a benefits calculator to find out what other benefits you could get, for example Personal Independence Payment if you’re disabled.
If you’re eligible, you could get New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) or New Style Employment Support Allowance (ESA) at the same time or instead of Universal Credit.
New Style JSA or ESA are different to Universal Credit. They:
- do not take your savings, your partner’s savings or their income into account
- are usually paid more regularly
- give you different National Insurance credits which count towards your State Pension and help you qualify for other benefits
Other financial support you might get
If you receive Universal Credit you may be able to get other payments too.
You might be able to get different support in Scotland.
Help with housing costs and bills
You might be able to get:
- a cheaper ‘social tariff’ for broadband or mobile phone services
- a Cold Weather Payment
- Disabled Facilities Grants
- Discretionary Housing Payments if your Universal Credit payment is not enough to pay your rent
- Energy Company Obligation (ECO)
- a reduction in your Council Tax
- WaterSure to cap your bills if you have a water meter
You can get advice on reducing your energy bills from:
- Energy Saving Trust - in England and Wales
- Home Energy Scotland - in Scotland
- Bryson Energy - in Northern Ireland
Help if you’re pregnant or have a child
You might be able to get free:
- early education for 2 year olds in England
- early learning and childcare for 2 year olds in Scotland
- childcare for 2 and 3 year olds in Wales
You might also be able to get:
- free school meals
- Healthy Start vouchers (in England, Wales and Northern Ireland) if you’re pregnant or have a child under 4 years old
- Best Start Foods and a Best Start Grant (in Scotland) if you’re pregnant or have a child under 4 years old
- Scottish Child Payment (in Scotland) if you have a child under 6 years old
- a Sure Start Maternity Grant in England, Wales and Northern Ireland
- child maintenance if you do not live with your child’s other parent (this will not affect your Universal Credit payments)
Help with legal costs
You might be able to get:
Help with other costs
You might be able to get:
- help with health costs, including prescriptions and dental treatment
- a Funeral Expenses Payment
- help with building up savings through Help to Save
- a discount on the Royal Mail redirection service if you’re moving house
You might also be able to get a Jobcentre Plus Travel Card for discounts on:
- rail travel
- Stagecoach buses
- Transport for London (TfL) buses, tubes and other public transport in London
Advice on money and debt
You can get help and advice from:
- your Jobcentre Plus work coach
- Citizens Advice
- Help for Households for support with the rising cost of living
- Money Advice Trust
- the Money Manager tool
- Money Helper to find a free debt adviser
- National Debtline
- Shelter for help with housing and homelessness
You can also get help from the Breathing Space (Debt Respite Scheme), but you will need to find a debt adviser first to be able to apply.