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Last updated:
01/04/2020

How to apply for a Universal Credit advance payment

If you are struggling for money while waiting for your first Universal Credit payment, you can apply for a Universal Credit advance payment. Find out how to apply for a Universal Credit advance payment.

You can apply for a Universal Credit advance payment if you're struggling financially, for example, you can't afford the rent, bills or food, while you wait five weeks for your first Universal Credit payment.

You may be awarded a maximum of 100% of your estimated first Universal Credit payment as an advance.

The Universal Credit advance payment is an interest-free loan. You will need to pay back your advance monthly from your future Universal Credit payments.

How to apply for Universal Credit advance payment

You can apply for a Universal Credit advance payment either via your online account, calling the Universal Credit helpline or through your Jobcentre Plus work coach.

You can apply for a Universal Credit advance payment:

  • Before you receive your first Universal Credit payment
  • If you receive Universal Credit and are entitled to more but have not yet received the increased amount.

You need to verify your identity to get an advance. You do this at your first Universal Credit interview. So if you haven’t had an interview yet, you will need to apply for your advance in person at the Jobcentre.

When you apply for a Universal Credit advance payment you will need too:

  • Explain why you need an advance.
  • Verify your identity.
  • Provide bank account details.

You will usually be informed of your outcome the same day.

Applying for a Universal Credit advance online

Log into your Universal Credit account and select the 'apply for an advance' section.

Once you have applied online, if you are successful, you will be shown the amount you have received on the screen.

If you are part of a couple, you will need to confirm your partner agrees to the Universal Credit advance.

Applying for a Universal Credit advance through a work coach or the helpline

If you apply for a Universal Credit advance in person with your work coach or over the phone through the Universal Credit helpline, you and your partner (if you are making a joint claim) will need to do the following:

  • Explain why you need an advance.
  • Provide bank account details for the payment.
  • Have had your identity checked at the Jobcentre.

When will I get paid my Universal Credit advance payment?

Once the DWP has agreed to a Universal Credit advance payment, you should receive the amount into your chosen bank account within three working days.

If you need the advance before then, explain this to the DWP as they can pay you on the same day if you have no money to live on until then.

How much will I have to repay each month?

If you apply for a Universal Credit advance online, the breakdown of your repayments over the different periods will be highlighted.

If you apply for a Universal Credit advance with your work coach or over the phone through the Universal Credit helpline, the adviser will inform you:

  • The Universal Credit advance you are entitled to.
  • The monthly repayment amount.
  • When the first payment is due.

Universal Credit advance repayment structure

Deductions will start from your first Universal Credit payment, and you must pay the advance back within 12 months. The advance is interest-free, so you will only repay what you have borrowed.

The DWP will automatically take repayments from your Universal Credit payment until you've paid the advance back. They will tell you how much the repayments will be and how long it will take for you to pay the advance back.

Example of the Universal Credit advance repayment

Let's say your first estimated Universal Credit payment is £221.53 and you received an advance of £221.53.

You have chosen to pay back your advance over 12 months, which works out at £18.46 per month. You will then receive £203.07 as your Universal Credit payment (£221.53-£18.46).

What to do if your Universal Credit advance claim was unsuccessful

If your Universal Credit advance claim was unsuccessful, you could ask the DWP to look at the decision again, but you can't appeal the decision.

It will help if you can provide new evidence or show how your circumstances have changed since you last applied for a Universal Credit advance.

You may be refused a Universal Credit advance for the following reasons:

  • You have not had your identity checked at the Jobcentre.
  • You have enough money to last until your first Universal Credit payment.
  • You live with your parents, relatives or friends.
  • You have any final earnings or redundancy payments due.
  • You can access a savings account.

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