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Universal Credit advance payments and other help

If you’re waiting for your first Universal Credit payment and have little or no money to get by on, you can apply for an advance. As well as these advance payments, you might be able to get other financial help too.

How advance payments of Universal Credit work

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If you’re waiting for your first Universal Credit payment and have little or no money, you can request an advance payment. You have to repay the advance from your future Universal Credit payments within 24 months.

You can ask for up to a full month’s payment in advance.

You don’t have to ask for it all in one go. You can ask for a part payment to start with, then put in another request if you find you need more money before you first Universal Credit payment has arrived.

You can usually only claim an advance payment on your first Universal Credit payment.

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Claiming an advance while waiting for a Universal Credit increase

If your circumstances have changed and your next payment is due to increase, but you haven’t received it yet, you can also ask for an advance.

How to apply for an advance payment

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You can request an advance from your work coach, through your online account, or by calling the Universal Credit Helpline. Since the start of the coronavirus crisis, the phone lines have been very busy, so online is probably the best option.

You’ll be asked to explain why you need the advance, to provide your bank details and have your identity checked.

You should get a decision the same day, and the advance should be paid into your bank in three working days. If you can’t wait three days, it’s possible to get a same day payment.

Repaying your Universal Credit advance payment

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You can make your repayments over a maximum of 24 months. And they can be up to 25% of your Universal Credit basic allowance.

If you’ve applied through your online account, you’ll be shown the repayment amounts for different repayment periods.

If you’ve applied through your work coach or a helpline adviser, they’ll explain how much you’ll have to repay each month.

The first repayment is deducted from your first payment.

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If your advance payment is refused

Your advance might be refused if you (or both of you, if you’re claiming as a couple):

  • have not yet had your ID checked
  • have enough money to last until your next payment
  • live with parents, relatives or friends
  • have any final earnings, redundancy payments or accessible savings.

You can ask for the decision to be reconsidered by the Department for Work and Pension (DWP), but you don’t have a right to appeal.

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Universal Credit scams

People who claim Universal Credit are being targeted by scammers offering low-cost loans or grants from the government.

You might be called by someone claiming to work for Jobcentre Plus, or contacted through social media ads. Many of the scammers have convincing websites, with government logos and testimonials.

They might ask for your ID and bank details, offer to make a claim for Universal Credit and apply for an advance payment on your behalf, taking some of this money as their fee.

However the full amount of advance payments need to be repaid out of future Universal Credit payments. So you’ll end up paying back the whole amount borrowed.

It’s important not be tempted by these offers if you’re already claiming any of the benefits that are being replaced by Universal Credit. These include tax credits and Housing Benefit. This is because your old benefits will stop and the money you get on Universal Credit might be less than you’re getting now.

If you’re simply offered a government loan and asked to give your ID and bank details, the scammer might be trying to make a Universal Credit application without your knowledge. Don’t give out these details – as you might not be entitled to Universal Credit and this could be seen as benefit fraud.

If you’re waiting for your first Universal Credit payment and need help applying for an advance payment, the Citizens Advice Help to Claim Service or your work coach will help you get the payment you need for free.

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Help to Claim

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Worried about your rent, mortgage or other bills?

If your income has been affected by coronavirus and you’re worried about keeping up with your rent, mortgage or other bills, help is available.

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Other sources of help

Help with housing costs

You might be able to apply for a short-term Discretionary Housing Payment from your council.

Find your local council at GOV.UK

Find out more about Discretionary Housing Payments at Turn2us

How to find your local welfare scheme

If you need help with heating, fuel or food bills or have an emergency expense, your local welfare scheme might be able to help.

In England, this scheme is run by your local council. Find your local council at GOV.UK

In Scotland, find out more about the Scottish Welfare Fund

In Wales, find out more about the Discretionary Assistance Fund

In Northern Ireland, find out more about extra financial support at nidirect 

Get help with budgeting

If you need help with personal budgeting, ask at the Jobcentre. They’ll be able to tell you where face-to-face support is available.

Get free debt advice

If you’re struggling to pay off existing debts, it’s important to get advice from a debt advice charity straight away.

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MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

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Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

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