Short-term Benefit Advances
From April 2013 Crisis Loan alignment payments
and interim payments were replaced by a new national
scheme of Short-term Advances (STBAs).
Applies to: England, Scotland, Wales, Northern
Age rules: You must be aged 16 or over
Type of benefit: Means tested
Administered by: Department for Work and
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Who does it help?
Short-term Benefit Advances (STBAs)
are available to people claiming any contributory
or means-tested benefit, including Universal Credit.
You cannot get a STBA without
having claimed a benefit first.
You must also be able to show
that you are in financial need. This means that if you
don't get a STBA there is a serious risk of damage to the
health and/or safety of you and/or your family. There is no set
list of situations this covers but as an example not being able to
pay for gas or electricity could be a risk to your
A STBA could help if:
- You have made a new claim for
a benefit but will be in financial need until you receive
your first payment
- You have had a change in
your circumstances that will increase the amount of benefit
you are entitled to
- It is not possible to pay your
benefit on the due date. This could, for example, be due
to a technical problem in processing your claim or
If you request a STBA after
making a new claim, the decision maker won't give you an advance
unless they believe that you are likely to be awarded the
benefit once the claim has been processed.
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How much does it pay?
The maximum amount of STBA available is based on:
- Your personal allowance as part of the benefit you
have claimed, and
- The number of days you have been due that benefit.
If you are already making repayments for previous Social Fund
loans or STBAs, then these may be taken into account.
The amount you receive will be taken out of your benefit
payments once they are set up.
You have to be able to repay the advance within three months,
though this may be extended to six months in exceptional
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How do I make a claim?
You can declare your need for a STBA to the Jobcentre Plus
contact centre or an adviser in your
local Jobcentre. They will then send an STBA request to
the benefit centre to be decided.
Phone Jobcentre Plus:
Telephone: 0800 055 6688
Textphone: 0800 023 4888
Welsh language line: 0800 012 1888
In Northern Ireland:
Telephone: 0800 085 6318
Textphone: 0800 328 3419
your local Jobcentre Plus office
You should receive a call the next working day after your
request is made.
If you do not have a telephone to receive a call back you
should provide an alternative contact method. This could be a
friend or family member's phone number. You can also ask to be
contacted through your local Jobcentre.
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Challenging a decision
There is no right of appeal against:
- The amount of an STBA
- A refusal to offer an STBA.
When you get the decision you can ask for a reconsideration if
you believe the decision maker has not considered the correct
information. If you do this, another decision maker should look at
the decision based on the correct information.
If you believe the correct process wasn't followed when the
decision was made then it may be possible to
challenge the decision through the courts by a process
called judicial review. You will need to seek specialist advice if
you feel this is the case.
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Last updated: 18 April 2013