How Universal Credit claimants can get £812 if struggling for cash this month

By Levi Winchester & Ben Reid

Claimants on Universal Credit feeling the pinch this January can apply for support of up to £812.

The support scheme - known as a budgeting advance - can be used to go toward emergency household costs.

After the hectic and expensive festive period, this scheme will be a welcome boost to many during the tough January period.

You may also be eligible for the payment if you need financial help getting a job or staying in work, or for funeral costs.

But there is a catch. As this is technically a loan, you will need to pay it back through your future Universal Credit payments.

You won't be required to pay any interest though, unlike on expensive payday loans and other forms of borrowing.

The Mirror has helped to explain how a Budgeting Advance works, who is eligible and how you can apply.

How much can I borrow through a Budgeting Advance?

The smallest amount you can get is £100 - with the largest being £812 if you have children.

The maximum amount varies depending on your individual circumstances, you can get up to:

  • £348 if you’re single

  • £464 if you’re part of a couple

  • £812 if you have children

How much you can get depends on whether you can pay the loan back and if you have any savings over £1,000.

The amount you can borrow is reduced by £1 for every £1 you have in savings over the £1,000 threshold.

Am I eligible for a Budgeting Advance?

You need to meet certain criteria to receive a Budgeting Advance - meaning not everyone on Universal Credit will be accepted for one.

To be eligible for the financial help, you must have been getting one of the following benefits for six months or more:

  • Universal Credit
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Income-related Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • State Pension Credit

These criteria won’t apply if you need the money to help you start a new job or keep an existing job.

You must also have earned less than £2,600 (£3,600 jointly for couples) in the past six months and have paid off any previous Budgeting Advances before you can be accepted for the payment.

How do I repay my Budgeting Advance?

You will need to repay your Budgeting Advance through your future Universal Credit payments - but as mentioned above, you won't be charged interest on the payment.

The first deduction is made on the day you get your next payment after being accepted for the loan and the full amount must be repaid within 12 months.

If you stop claiming Universal Credit, you’ll still need to repay your Budgeting Advance.

Payments will either need to come out from your wages, if you’re now in work, or from other benefits you may be getting.

If you don’t make payment arrangements, the DWP can contact your employer to recover what you owe.

The DWP can also contact a debt collection agency to collect any outstanding payments - so keep this in mind before applying for a loan.

How do I apply for a Budgeting Advance?

If you’re struggling and in need of a Budgeting Advance, you’ll need to apply through your Jobcentre Plus work coach.

They should explain how much you can borrow and how much you’ll need to repay each month.

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