How to get a universal credit budgeting advance

Are you claiming universal credit and need to cover an unexpected expense? Find out how you can get an interest-free budgeting advance.

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A universal credit budgeting advance is an interest-free loan designed to help universal credit claimants pay for one-off or unforeseen expenses. Learn about how much you can borrow and compare your other options with our guide.

How does a budgeting advance loan work?

If you’re on universal credit or other benefits and need to cover a large upcoming expense, you can choose to receive some of your benefit upfront as a loan. The loan will then be repaid over the next 12 months through your regular universal credit payments, which means you’ll receive a lower monthly payment until the loan amount has been paid off.

How much can I borrow?

The minimum amount you can claim on a budgeting advance loan is £100. The maximum amount depends on your personal circumstances and how much money you have in savings.

  • For singles without dependent children, it’s £348
  • For couples without dependent children, it’s £464
  • For those with dependent children, it’s £812

However, if you have more than £1,000 in savings, the amount you can borrow will be the figure above less whatever savings you have above £1,000. For example, if you’re a single person without any dependent children and you have £1,100 in savings, the maximum you can borrow is reduced to £248 (£348 minus £100).

How to apply for a universal credit budgeting advance

You can apply for a universal credit budgeting advance online, by calling the universal credit helpline or by contacting your local Jobcentre Plus work coach.

You’ll need to prove that you have a valid need for the loan, and that you’ll be able to pay it back.

Am I eligible for a universal credit budgeting advance?

The loan isn’t only available for universal credit claimants. You may be eligible for the loan if you’ve claimed any of the following benefits in the last six months:

  • Universal credit
  • Jobseeker’s allowance (income-based)
  • Employment and support allowance (income-related)
  • Income support
  • Pension credit

You must have earned less than £2,600 in the past six months (or £3,600 if you’re part of a couple) in order to be eligible for a loan.

However, it’s likely that you’ll be refused a budgeting advance if it appears that you may be unable to pay it back.

If you’ve claimed a budgeting advance in the past, you must have paid it back before you can claim another one.

    If you’re struggling to meet essential expenses like rent or food while waiting for your first UC payment, you can ask for a universal credit advance instead. This is a different interest-free loan, although it’s also paid back via deductions from future UC payments.

    What can I use a universal credit budgeting advance for?

    A universal credit budgeting advance will only be approved if it’s being used for essential one-off expenses or charges, such as:

    • Essential household items such as cookers, fridges or beds
    • Unexpected bills or a fine
    • Rent in advance
    • Removal costs if moving home
    • One-off expenses required for your job, such as uniform or equipment
    • Home repairs or essential improvements

    You’ll be asked what you’re planning to spend the money on. If you’re trying to claim a budgeting advance for ongoing costs (like food, travel or childcare) or one-off luxury purchases (like a new TV or event tickets), your claim will be denied.

    How do I repay a universal credit budgeting advance?

    Repayments will be automatically deducted from future universal credit payments. These deductions will usually be spread across your next 12 universal credit payments and you can request that your payments not start for three months in exceptional circumstances.

    If you no longer receive universal credit, you’ll still need to pay off the budgeting advance loan amount.

    What are my other options?

    If you’re struggling to afford rent, you could explore whether you’re eligible for a discretionary housing payment. This is another benefit available to those who are claiming housing benefits.

    Benefit claimants are likely to have limited options when it comes to claiming loans. You may be eligible for a credit-builder credit card or a payday loan, but these have higher interest rates attached to them and could cause more problems than they solve. A payday loan should be your last resort for borrowing money. Only apply if you can afford to make the repayments on time.

    If you’re in extreme financial hardship, you may be eligible for financial assistance from your local council.

    If you’re really struggling for ideas to cover an unexpected expense, consider seeking debt advice from an independent body, such as the Money Advice Service.

    The bottom line

    A universal credit budgeting advance is a useful option that could get universal credit claimants out of a sticky financial situation. Although the loan is interest-free, remember that it will reduce your benefits for the next 12 months, so it should only be claimed if you can get by with a reduced benefit payment.

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    80 Responses

    1. Default Gravatar
      ChloeAugust 6, 2019

      Hi could you tell me how to apply for a budgeting advance online I cant seem to find it

    2. Default Gravatar
      nigelJuly 31, 2019

      i had a advance of 600 from universal credit to pay my rent and food while i got my first payment my fridge freezer and microwave has broke can i get a loan from universal credit even though ive only paid 150 of the advance back

      • Avatarfinder Customer Care
        BellaAugust 1, 2019Staff

        Hi Nigel,

        Thanks for your inquiry.

        You may be eligible to apply for a new budgeting loan if you already have repaid your previous loan. You should contact your Jobcentre Plus office for advice.

        I hope this helps.

        Kind regards,
        Bella

    3. Default Gravatar
      CarolJuly 10, 2019

      Can u pay a previous budgeting advance off early in order to apply for another?

      • Avatarfinder Customer Care
        fayemanuelJuly 10, 2019Staff

        Hi Carol,

        Thanks for contacting Finder.

        Yes you may. If you’ve claimed a budgeting advance in the past, you must have paid it back, before you can claim another one

        Hope this helps.

        Please feel free to contact us at any time if any other questions arise.

        Kind Regards,

        Faye

    4. Default Gravatar
      SaraJuly 4, 2019

      I am thinking of leaving my current job due to stress and deppression which is causing health problems. I am wondering what money I would get from universal credit.

      • Avatarfinder Customer Care
        fayemanuelJuly 5, 2019Staff

        Hi Sara,

        Thanks for contacting Finder.

        As the above article mentioned, the minimum amount you can claim is £100. The maximum amount depends on your personal circumstances and how much money you have in savings.

        – For singles without dependent children, it’s £348.
        – For couples without dependent children, it’s £464
        – For those with dependent children, it’s £812

        If you have more than £1,000 in savings, the amount you can borrow will be the figure above less whatever savings you have above £1,000. For example, if you’re a single person without any dependent children and you have £1,100 in savings, the maximum you can borrow is reduced to £248 (£348 minus £100).

        Please check the criteria above if you qualify for a universal credit budgeting advance. If so, you can apply for a budgeting advance through your local Jobcentre Plus, either by phone, online or in-branch.

        I hope this helps.

        Thank you and have a wonderful day!

        Cheers,
        Faye

    5. Default Gravatar
      StephenMay 28, 2019

      I want to make take out a loan am on universal credit

      • Avatarfinder Customer Care
        BellaMay 29, 2019Staff

        Hi Stephen,

        Thanks for your inquiry.

        You can apply for a budgeting advance through your local Jobcentre Plus, either by phone, online or in-branch.

        I hope this helps.

        Kind regards,
        Bella

    6. Default Gravatar
      MargaretMay 9, 2019

      Can you get a budgeting advance loan if you currently work?

      • Avatarfinder Customer Care
        JhezMay 9, 2019Staff

        Hello Margaret,

        Thank you for your comment.

        Please take note of the criteria to be eligible for a Budgeting Advance Loan below:

        You must:

        – have been getting Universal Credit for at least six months – unless you need the money to help you get a job or keep an existing job
        – have earned less than £2,600 if you’re single (£3,600 if you’re in a couple) in the past six months
        – not be paying off another Budgeting Advance.

        Hence, if you need the money to keep an existing job, you are eligible for the Budgeting Advance Loan together with the other criteria listed above.

        Regards,
        Jhezelyn

    7. Default Gravatar
      ChloeMay 5, 2019

      How do i claim online for a budgeting advance

      • Avatarfinder Customer Care
        nikkiangcoMay 7, 2019Staff

        Hi Chloe,

        Thanks for getting in touch!

        You can apply for a budgeting advance through your local Jobcentre Plus online by going to their website. Please note that a decision on your application is usually made on the same day as your claim, and you typically won’t have to wait longer than the next working day to receive your loan. If you get refused of an advance, you can’t appeal against your rejection, although you’re free to make a fresh application at any time.

        Hope this helps!

        Best,
        Nikki

    8. Default Gravatar
      JulieMay 5, 2019

      Need to apply for budgeting advance. Cooker has broken.

      • Avatarfinder Customer Care
        nikkiangcoMay 7, 2019Staff

        Hi Julie,

        Thanks for getting in touch with Finder. To apply for a budgeting advance through your local Jobcentre Plus either by phone, online or in-branch. You will most likely hear about your application on the same day as your claim, and you typically won’t have to wait longer than the next working day to receive your loan. If you get refused of an advance, you can’t appeal against your rejection, although you’re free to make a fresh application at any time.

        Hope this helps!

        Best,
        Nikki

    9. Default Gravatar
      SarahApril 30, 2019

      Can I get a budgeting advance I’m on universal credit and not enough money too live on plus not working due too health problems?

      • Avatarfinder Customer Care
        JeniMay 1, 2019Staff

        Hi Sarah,

        Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.

        Sorry to hear about your current situation. As per this page you’re looking at, you may be eligible for the credit budgeting advance if you’ve claimed universal credit benefits in the last six months. Please verify if you’re eligible for this with your local Jobcentre Plus, either by phone, online or in-branch. Once verified, you may also apply for budgeting advance through the said channels.

        I hope this helps.

        Thank you and have a wonderful day!

        Cheers,
        Jeni

    10. Default Gravatar
      HazelApril 29, 2019

      I’d like to know why I am receiving no universal credit. We cannot live on my partner as his wages didn’t cover outgoings. I have worked all my life and I feel wronged.

      • Avatarfinder Customer Care
        nikkiangcoApril 30, 2019Staff

        Hi Hazel,

        Thanks for getting in touch! As it says on our page, a universal credit budgeting advance will only be approved if it’s being used for essential one-off expenses or charges, such as:

        1. essential household items such as cookers, fridges or beds
        2. unexpected bills or a fine
        3. rent in advance
        4. removal costs if moving home
        5. one-off expenses required for your job, such as uniform or equipment
        6. home repairs or essential improvements

        You’ll be asked what you’re planning to spend the money on. If you’re trying to claim a budgeting advance for ongoing costs (like food, travel, childcare) or one-off luxury purchases (like a new TV or event tickets), your claim will be denied.

        Hope this helps!

        Best,
        Nikki

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