Universal Credit advance

A Universal Credit Advance (new claim) or (change of circumstances) is an interest free advance of benefit for claimants who can show a financial need, which will be recovered over a set period of time, usually up to 12 months. 

What is a Universal Credit advance?

A Universal Credit advance is a loan of future Universal Credit payments to help you cover living expenses while your claim is being processed, or during the first five week before a payment is made.

Who can get a Universal Credit advance?

To be eligible for a short-term advance you must:

  • have made a claim for Universal Credit and
  • show you are in financial need.

You can only get an advance if it seems likely that your claim will be successful.

How do Universal Credit advances work?

You have to apply for a short-term advance. The amount of advance you can get depends on the amount of Universal Credit you are likely to get and how long you expect to wait for payments to start.

You usually have to repay the full amount of the advance within 12 months. You can ask for your repayments to be delayed for up to three months if you can’t afford them. This is only allowed in exceptional circumstances.

Repayments are deducted in installments from your Universal Credit payments once you start receiving them. Jobcentre Plus must tell you in writing how much will be deducted from your payments.

You do not have to pay interest on a short-term advance.

How to claim a Universal Credit advance

You apply for a short-term advance of Universal Credit through Jobcentre Plus. You can apply at the same time as making your claim for Universal Credit or afterwards.

To have the most chance of success you must provide as much information as you can about your circumstances and financial need. For example, you could:

  • provide rent arrears letters from your landlord, if you are struggling with your rent payments
  • provide copies of your gas or electricity bills if you are behind with your payments
  • show proof if you pay your fuel bills using a prepayment meter
  • provide bank statements.

It helps if you can show what your monthly living expenses are. Working out a monthly budget is also useful and helps you prepare for managing the monthly payments of Universal Credit once they start.

You may want to get help with your application from an advice service.

You can ask for a Universal Credit advance:

  • as soon as you make your claim for Universal Credit
  • before you get your first payment, or
  • if you are already being paid Universal Credit and have told us of a change in your circumstances that means you will be paid more Universal Credit but have not yet been paid the increased amount.

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:

  • provide your bank details so the Universal Credit helpline adviser can arrange payment if the advance is agreed
  • have had your identity checked.

If you live in Slough which is a Universal Credit Full Service Area you make a claim via your online account and contact DWP via your online journal.

You can also telephone 0800 328 5644 / Textphone 0800 328 1344 - Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.

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

If you are refused a Universal Credit advance

You do not have the right to appeal if Jobcentre Plus decides you are not entitled to a short-term advance.
If your application for an advance of Universal Credit is rejected, you may be able to find other sources of financial help while you are waiting for your benefit payments to start. You may be able to claim a discretionary housing payment from the council - contact us on 01753 475111 or come to MyCouncil, Landmark Place, High Street, Slough, SL1 1JL.

We also offer Local Welfare Provision, please contact MyCouncil  for further information.

If you need a loan to pay for expensive items

You may be able to get a budgeting advance if you need extra money for a one-off expense or expensive essential items such as fridges and cookers.

Budgeting advances replace social fund budgeting loans for people claiming Universal Credit. They have longer repayment periods than those for short-term budgeting advances.

Read more about Budgeting Advances on our Universal Credit partner's website.