Advance benefit payments | Getting hlp with urgent expenses | ϲֱ쿪

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How to get help with urgent or one-off expenses

If you have an unexpected bill or emergency cost that you can't pay, there may be help available. You might be able to get your benefit paid in advance or you could apply for help from your local council or a charity.


Can I get my benefit paid in advance?

There are a couple of ways you could get an advanced benefit payment:

  • You might be able to get an advance payment of your benefit called a Budgeting Loan (or Budgeting Advance if you receive Universal Credit).
  • If you’re waiting for a decision on your benefit claim, you might be able to get a short-term advance.

Budgeting Loans

Budgeting Loans can help you pay for essential things such as furniture, clothing and removal costs.

The minimum loan is £100. The maximum amount you can borrow is:

  • £348 if you’re single
  • £464 if you’re a couple
  • £812 if you have children

To be eligible for a Budgeting Loan, you or your partner must be receiving one of the following benefits:

There may be different options for how you pay your loan, but you’ll need to repay it within 104 weeks. What you owe is usually taken out of your benefit payments until the loan is paid off.

There are a couple of different ways that you can apply for a Budgeting Loan. You can:

  •  using their online portal
  • and filling it out either on-screen or printing it out and filling it out with a pen.

Budgeting Advances (if you're receiving Universal Credit)

Budgeting Advances can help to pay for a range of different expenses, such as one-off items, home repairs, moving costs or clothes.

The minimum advance payment is £100. The maximum amount is:

  • £348 if you’re single with no children
  • £464 if you’re a couple with no children
  • £812 if you have children

A Budgeting Advance is a loan. You’ll usually need to repay it within 12 months. Repayments will be taken from your Universal Credit payments until it's paid back. You’ll be told how much your payments will be reduced by.

There are a couple of different ways that you can apply for a Budgeting Advance. You can: 

  •  – you'll need the username and password you set up when you applied for Universal Credit
  • on 0800 328 5644 (lines are open Monday to Friday, 8am-6pm)
  • speak to your Jobcentre Plus work coach.

Short-term advances

If you’re waiting for a decision on your benefit claim, you might be able to get a short-term advance to tide you over while you’re waiting for your first benefit payment.

You can apply for an advance if you’ve recently applied for:

A short-term advance is a loan. Repayments will be taken from your benefit payments until it's completely paid back – you’ll be told how much your payments will be reduced by.

To apply for a short-term advance, contact the organisation responsible for the benefit you’re claiming.

Advances at the start of your claim (if you're receiving Universal Credit)

You usually have to wait at least 5 weeks before you receive your first Universal Credit payment. If you're finding it hard to manage, you can get an advance to help with living costs and your rent.

There are a few ways you can apply for an advance. You can: 

  • call the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644 (lines are open Monday to Friday, 8am-6pm)
  • speak to your Jobcentre Plus workcoach.

These advances are loans – repayments are usually taken from your Universal Credit payments over 24 months.

Are you entitled to extra money?

Do you know what benefits you are entitled to? Our Benefits Calculator can help you, quickly and easily, to find out what you could be claiming.


Can I get financial help from my local council?

Your local council might be able to help if you’re in a financial crisis.

Schemes vary from one area to another. For example, some local councils may not offer a cash grant but provide goods, services or vouchers instead.

Get in touch with your local council to find out about the financial support schemes that they offer and to check if you qualify.

Find your local council

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Can I get financial help from other charities?

Charities and benevolent funds might be able to help you if you’re unable to get support elsewhere.

If you ask for help from a charity or benevolent fund, you may need to provide them with proof that you weren’t able to get a loan or advance payment of your benefit or financial support from your local council.

Grants from charities can range from small amounts for food vouchers to large amounts for buying domestic goods, such as a washing machine or cooker. Others may provide help towards the cost of a wheelchair or housing adaptations.

There are many charities and trusts in the UK. Some may only support particular groups, while others will consider helping anyone. Each charity will have their own eligibility criteria and application process.


Can I get help to pay funeral expenses?

If you're responsible for arranging the funeral and you're on a low income, you may be eligible for a Funeral Expenses Payment. This covers the cost of a simple burial or cremation, including up to £1,000 for other expenses, such as funeral director’s fees and the coffin. The eligibility criteria for Funeral Expenses Payments can be complicated, but there's more information on the government website.

If you get any money from the estate of the person who's died, then your Funeral Expenses Payment will usually be deducted from this.

There are a couple of ways that you can apply for a Funeral Expenses Payment. You can:

  •  and apply by post
  • call the Bereavement Service helpline on 0800 731 0469 to make a claim.

You have to apply within 6 months of the funeral for your claim to be considered.

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Last updated: Oct 05 2023

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