Universal credit applicants can apply for emergency loan online before Christmas


More than 5.9 million people are currently applying for Universal Credit, a benefit designed to help those who are unemployed or on low incomes meet the costs of daily living.

Now that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has removed the £ 20 weekly bonus element from the Universal Credit and the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) leave scheme and subsidy have ended , it is quite possible that more households will be affected by the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

This could lead to layoffs, unemployment, illness or reduced wages, forcing more people to apply for financial assistance through the DWP.

You may be able to get more financial support from the DWP or your local council

However, thousands of potential applicants may not be aware that when you apply for universal credit the first payment can take up to five weeks and for those in immediate need of financial assistance it is now possible to apply. a deposit.

It is important to know that this advance must be repaid as a deduction from their regular Universal Credit payment, but applicants now have 24 months to repay the loan, instead of the previous 12.

To request a Universal Credit advance you can:

  • talk to your Jobcentre Plus work coach

  • apply through your online account

  • call the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644

If a universal credit applicant does not report a change in their circumstances, they could have their payment stopped or reduced – this is called a penalty.

And if a person receives a sanction, they may be able to apply for hardship if they cannot afford rent, heat, food, or hygiene needs.

The GOV.UK website states, “If you don’t have enough to live on while you wait for your first payment, you can request a down payment after making a claim.

“You can also ask for a hardship payment if you can’t afford rent, heat, food, or hygiene needs because you’ve been sanctioned.

“You have to pay it back through your Universal Credit payments – they’ll be lower until you pay it off.”

People in financial difficulty who are struggling to pay their rent can also apply for an Alternative Payment Arrangement (APA).

This could see the rent being paid directly to a landlord, the benefit paid more than once a month, or the payment split between the person and their partner.

There is also a budget advance which can help cover some costs. These include:

The GOV.UK website explains that people who get a budget advance will pay it back through their regular Universal Credit payments.

This means that their universal credit payments will be lower until they pay it off, and if they stop getting universal credit, they’ll have to pay the money back some other way.

How much can I borrow?

The smallest amount you can borrow is £ 100. You can get up to:

What an eligible person gets depends on their savings of over £ 1,000 and their ability to repay the loan.

Financial aid available in Scotland


To obtain a budget advance, all of the following must apply:

  • You have been receiving universal credit, employment and support allowance (ESA), income assistance, 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 at work
  • You have earned less than £ 2,600 (£ 3,600 together for couples) in the past six months

  • You have repaid all previous budget advance loans

To learn more about advances or prepayments and loan budgeting, visit the GOV.UK website here.

Support is also available through hardship funds in all 32 Scottish councils – find yours here.

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