How you can get £812 in January if you’re struggling for cash

By Ryan O'Neill

January can be a hard month for a number of reasons.

After the expense that comes with Christmas and New Year festivities many people can find the first month of the year a tight squeeze financially.

After the thrill of indulging and celebrating with family and friends it can also be mentally difficult to settle back into a normal routine.

Read more: Universal credit isolation payment: All the rules on claiming £750 extra support

Thankfully for anyone struggling to make ends meet there is a way you can get a little extra money in January.

Known as a budgeting advance this payment can be used to go toward emergency household costs if you're claiming universal credit.

Here's what you need to know about the budgeting advance including how much you can get and how to apply.

What is a budgeting advance?

A budgeting advance is a payment universal credit claimants can get to help with emergency household costs such as replacing a broken cooker, getting a job, or staying in work or funeral costs.

Budgeting advances need to be repaid through your regular universal credit payments and these will be lower until you pay it back. If you stop getting universal credi, you’ll have to repay the money in another way.

To get a budgeting advance all of the following must apply:

  • you’ve been getting universal credit, employment and support allowance, income support, jobseeker’s allowance or state pension credit for six months or more unless you need the money to help you start a new job or stay in work
  • you’ve earned less than £2,600 (£3,600 together for couples) in the past six months
  • you’ve paid off any previous budgeting advance loans

How much can I get?

The smallest amount you can borrow is £100 and the most is £812 if you have children.

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.

You’ll need to repay your budgeting advance through your future universal credit repayments but you won’t pay interest on top.

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 – either 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 Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) can contact your employer to recover what you owe.

How do I apply?

To apply for a budgeting advance you can update your journal in your universal credit account contact your nearest Jobcentre Plus (find your nearest Jobcentre Plus here ) or call the universal credit helpline on 0800 328 5644 between 8am and 6pm from Monday to Friday.

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