Money in an emergency

Date last updated: 12 January 2022

Money in an emergency

Payday loans aren’t the only option if you need money urgently. You might be able to get a budgeting loan, hardship payment, short term benefit advance or even a grant.

Find out about all these options, plus links to debt advice and money-saving tips from Gingerbread members below.

Gingerbread's Advice Service Manager, Anna, talks about how to get urgent financial help.

Get help in an emergency

In a crisis it may be tempting to take out a short term loan, but you can end up paying back double what you borrowed. There are other places you can turn for help:

• Short term benefit advance
• Hardship payments (if you claim Universal Credit, Jobseekers Allowance, or Employment Support Allowance and have received a sanction)
• Food banks (three days’ emergency food)

Get help with rent and bills

If you receive housing benefit or Universal Credit with a housing element, but you’re still struggling to pay rent, you can apply for a discretionary housing payment. You will need to contact your local council.

If you need help paying your utility bills you can contact Turn2Us, for help finding a grant.

Get help with one-off costs

If you need help to cover longer term costs such as a new fridge, furniture, removal costs or clothing, you may be able to apply for a budgeting advance or budgeting loan.

Budgeting Advances

If you’ve been claiming Universal Credit for 6 months or more, you can apply for a budgeting advance of up to £812. Be aware that you will have to pay the money back by having it taken out of future Universal Credit payments.

If you need the advance to help you start a new job or stay in work, then you don’t need to have been claiming for 6 months.

Budgeting Loans

If you claim Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance, or Employment and Support Allowance you can apply for a budgeting loan. Budgeting loans are interest-free so you only pay back what you borrow.

You can also contact Turn2Us to see if there are any grants available to help you cover costs.

Debt management, budgeting and money saving tips

If you are struggling with debt, take a look at our pages on dealing with debt and making ends meet.

Help paying rent

If you are already receiving housing benefits, but you’re still struggling to pay or facing rent arrears, you can apply for a discretionary housing payment.

Find out more about DHP

Managing debt

If you are struggling with debt, there is help available. Find out how to deal with existing debt, and how to manage money to make it last, using our factsheets below.

Dealing with debt Making ends meet

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