Budgeting advances under universal credit – Shelter England

A budgeting advance is an interest free loan from the DWP. It has to be paid back.

You must claim universal credit to get a budgeting advance.

What is a budgeting advance for?

A budgeting advance can help you pay for things like:

  • household items such as cookers, fridges or beds

  • rent in advance or removal costs

  • repairs or security improvements to your home

If you're struggling with rent or food during the 5 week wait for your first universal credit payment, you can ask for a universal credit advance instead.

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

Who can get a budgeting advance

You need to be claiming universal credit when you apply.

You or your partner must have claimed one of these benefits for the last 6 months:

  • universal credit

  • jobseeker's allowance (income-based)

  • employment and support allowance (income-related)

  • income support

  • pension credit

You can apply earlier than 6 months if you need a budgeting advance to pay for something that will help you get or keep a job. Speak to your Jobcentre Plus adviser or work coach first. There may be other options.

Over the last 6 months you must have earned in total less than:

  • £2600 if you're single

  • £3600 if you're part of a couple

How to get a budgeting advance

You can apply by:

  • speaking to your Jobcentre Plus work coach

  • calling universal credit helpline on 0800 328 5644

You usually get a same day decision.

The amount you can borrow

The maximum amount you can get is:

  • £348 if you're single without dependent children

  • £464 if you're part of a couple without dependent children

  • £812 if you have dependent children

If you have more than £1000 in savings you will not get the maximum advance.

The minimum budgeting advance is £100.

Repaying a budgeting advance 

You repay a budgeting advance through deductions from your monthly universal credit payments.

You must usually repay it within a year. You may be able to repay it over 18 months if you are struggling to pay for food or other basics.

Jobcentre Plus should confirm in writing how much you have to pay each month.

You have to repay a budgeting advance before you can apply for another one.

If your application is refused

The DWP can refuse your application if you cannot afford to pay the money back. You can ask for your application to be looked at again if it's refused.

Other sources of financial help

You can apply for a discretionary housing payment if you need help with rent payments, rent in advance or a tenancy deposit.

Find out about other help if you're on universal credit.