Asking for advance payments of Universal Credit

When you first claim Universal Credit there will be a wait of at least five weeks before you receive your first payment.

What can you do when you need money before this date? Read the information below to find out how to get an advance payment, and find other sources of help.

What to do if you need money before your payment date

In the Universal Credit system there is a month between each payment you receive. When you first claim Universal Credit this means there can be a long gap between making your claim and receiving your first payment. If you need money before then, you can request an advance payment of your Universal Credit.

The advance payment is repayable and it usually has to be paid back over the 12 months after you receive it. The repayments are interest free and will be deducted from your Universal Credit automatically each month before it is paid into your bank account, starting with your first payment.

Be aware that this means your monthly payments will be lower each month until the advance payment is repaid.

Applying for an advance payment

You can ask for your first payment amount to be paid as soon as possible. You can do this as soon as you make your claim for Universal Credit.

You apply for an advance in any of the following ways:

  1. Apply online
  2. Call the Universal Credit helpline
  3. Speak to your work coach

Apply online

You can apply for an advance payment online through your Universal Credit account. You can only do this if you are within your first Universal Credit assessment period

To apply, log in to your account and click the ‘apply for an advance’ section. This will tell you the maximum amount you are entitled to for your advance payment.

Call the Universal Credit helpline

You can call the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644. The line is open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm. This call is free.

You should be prepared to explain why you need an advance and to provide bank account details for the account you want the payment to go into.

Speak to your work coach

If you have a Jobcentre Plus work coach, you can talk to them about an advance payment.

You should be prepared to explain why you need an advance and to provide bank account details for the account you want the payment to go into.

If you’re already getting Universal Credit payments and need emergency money

You can apply for a budgeting advance if you need to pay for emergency household costs. This includes things like:

  • help getting a job, or help to stay in a job
  • help to pay for household items such as a cooker

As a single parent you can borrow up to £812. The minimum amount you can borrow is £100.

You’ll be assessed to see whether you can pay the loan back, and if you have any savings the amount you can borrow will be reduced.

You will repay the budgeting advance from your monthly Universal Credit payments, starting from your next payment. It has to be repaid within 12 months. If you need the money for a household item you must have been claiming Universal Credit(or other benefits, including Income Support, Income Based Job Seekers Allowance, Income Related Employment and Support Allowance or Pension Credit) for 6 months or longer in order to qualify.

Read more about budgeting advances here.

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