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Universal Credit loan payment misinformation will leave families in debt, charity warns

  • 14/12/2021

 

National poverty charity, Turn2us, warns that a flood of stories suggesting people apply for a £1,000 Universal Credit emergency ‘Christmas loan’ could result in people facing financial insecurity or debt.

The loan in question, the Universal Credit Advance payment, is available to people who have just started claiming Universal Credit. It is to help those who will struggle to cover essential living costs and bills, such as rent, in the five weeks before their first payment. People who take out an Advance will have their Universal Credit allowance reduced to repay the loan over the following 24 months.

David Samson, Turn2us Welfare Benefits and Project Manager, said:

“We know the Christmas period is a time of financial stress and worry for many, and we are very concerned by the number of news articles suggesting people use Universal Credit Advances to cope with this.

“Advance payments are to absorb your essential living costs whilst waiting for your first payment and have to be repaid over the following 24 months. If you are struggling, we suggest you check the Turn2us Grants Search and Benefits Calculator to ensure you are receiving all the financial support you are eligible for.”

For those struggling financially at this time of year, Turn2us has the following advice:

 

  • Use the Turn2us Grants Search at www.grants-search.turn2us.org.uk to find out what help you may be eligible for. While most charitable funds do not provide specific grants to help meet the costs of Christmas, some may consider applications of this nature, depending on circumstances and background. 
  • The Turn2us Benefits Calculator at benefits-calculator-2.turn2us.org.uk allows you to check you are receiving all the benefits you are entitled to. While this is not directly focused towards Christmas support, they may help to relieve the financial burden experienced at Christmas.
  • Your local Citizens Advice Bureau should also be able to provide information, advice and signposting to services in your local area that may be able to help this Christmas.
  • The Salvation Army holds a Christmas present appeal every year, which provides gifts to children and young people. Contact your local Salvation Army to ask how they distribute gifts in your area.
  • Crisis provides support at Christmas by offering somewhere safe to spend Christmas, and Christmas meals and activities.

Turn2us is a national charity that offers practical information and support to people who are struggling financially. We work alongside those who have experienced not having enough money to live on to develop programmes and services that help people cope with life-changing events such as job loss, illness, or bereavement.  To find out more, visit: www.turn2us.org.uk