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Budgeting Loan/Advance

A budgeting loan/advance is a loan to pay for certain essentials

1. What is a Budgeting Loan/Advance?

A Budgeting Loan is extra money on top of your benefits to help pay for certain essentials.You have to pay back a Budgeting Loan.

A Budgeting Advance is an extra amount of Universal Credit to help you pay for certain expenses.You have to pay back a Budgeting Advance.

A Budgeting Loan or Advance can help you to pay for:

  • Furniture and household equipment, clothing and footwear

  • Rent in advance and/or removal expenses to new accommodation

  • The costs of improvement, maintenance and security of your home

  • Essential travelling expenses and expenses due to you getting or starting a job

  • Maternity or funeral expenses.

Before you apply for a Budgeting Loan or Advance, check whether you can get these payments which you do not have to pay back:

Applies to: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

Age rules: No specific age rules

Taxable: No

Administered by: Department for Work and Pensions

2. Can I get a Budgeting Loan/Advance?

You can only get a Budgeting Loan if you are claiming one of these benefits on the day that you apply for a Budgeting Loan and on the day that a decision is made about your Budgeting Loan:

You can only get a Budgeting Advance if you are claiming Universal Credit on the day that you apply for a Budgeting Advance and on the day that a decision is made about your Budgeting Advance; plus your earnings are below the limit:

  • £2,600 total in the previous six months if you are single

  • £3,600 total in the previous six months if you are a couple.

Qualifying period

You must have been receiving one of these benefits above, or have been the partner of someone receiving one of these benefits, for at least 26 weeks, or six months.

In the case of Universal Credit, time spent on one of the other benefits mentioned above, immediately before moving to Universal Credit, will count towards the 26 weeks. The 26 week requirement does not apply if the expense for which a Budgeting Advance is required is necessary for getting or keeping employment - though you should ask your work coach about the Flexible Support Fund before getting an advance.

Savings Limit

You cannot get a full Budgeting Loan if you (or your partner) have more than £1,000 in savings. This amount is £2,000 if you (or your partner) are aged 63 or over.

For Budgeting Advances, you cannot get a full advance if you (or your partner) have more than £1,000 savings.

A decision is made on whether you can have a Budgeting Loan/Advance by looking at:

  • Your circumstances, and

  • Any existing Budgeting Loan/Advance you owe, and

  • Your savings, and

  • Your ability to pay back the Budgeting Loan/Advance.

You will not be eligible for a Budgeting Advance if you have an earlier Budgeting Loan or Budgeting Advance that has not been fully repaid.

3. How much Budgeting Loan/Advance will I get?

There are three rates of Budgeting Loan/Advance, depending on whether you are single, a couple without children or a one or two parent family with children. You can get up to the following maximum amounts:

  • £348 if you’re single

  • £464 if you’re part of a couple

  • £812 if you have children.

The minimum amount of Budgeting Loan/Advance that you can get is £100. You cannot get more than it is thought you can pay back.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) decides how much Budgeting Loan/Advance you can actually receive. There is no entitlement to receive the full amount.

You cannot get a second Budgeting Advance before you have fully paid off the first, so even if your first advance was for less than the maximum amount, you cannot 'top up' your advance to the full amount.

Repaying a Budgeting Loan/Advance

If you are given a Budgeting Loan/Advance, it has to be paid back but you do not have to pay interest on the loan.

A Budgeting Loan should normally be repaid within two years.

A Budgeting Advance should normally be repaid within one year, extendable to 18 months in exceptional circumstances.

Benefit Cap

A Budgeting Loan/Advance is not included in the Benefit Cap which limits the total amount in some benefits that working-age people can receive. See our Benefit Cap guide for more details.

How will I be paid a Budgeting/Loan Advance?

A Budgeting Loan/Advance will be paid directly into your Bank or Building Society account or through the Payment Exception Service if you are unable to open or manage one of these or a similar account.

Budgeting/Loan Advance and other benefits

A Budgeting Loan/Advance does not count as income and will not affect other benefits you get.

4. How do I claim a Budgeting Loan/Advance?

You do not have to say exactly what you need or why. However, you must say the category of the expenses for which you want a Budgeting Loan/Advance and the amount of money you need.

In England, Scotland or Wales

To claim a Budgeting Loan, you can download a claim form from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) website

In order to claim a Budgeting Advance, you will need to contact your local Jobcentre Plus to apply.

In Northern Ireland

To claim a budgeting loan, ask your local Social Security/Jobs and Benefits Office for a claim form

To claim a Budgeting Advance, ask your work coach or leave a message on your journal.

What documents will I need to claim a Budgeting Loan/Advance?

You have to give your national insurance number. You will need to also provide details of who else lives with you (partner and children if any) and details of savings and any current debt payments.

When will my Budgeting Loan/Advance claim begin?

Your application is treated as made on the day it is received by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). If your application was incomplete and you comply with a request for additional information, your application is treated as made on the day it was originally received.

Updated November 2021

5. How do I challenge a Budgeting Loan/Advance decision?

If you disagree with the decision made on your application, you can request a review by writing to Jobcentre Plus within 28 days of the decision. You will need to explain why you think the decision is wrong.

If you still think the decision is wrong after the review, you can ask the office of the Independent Case Examiner to review the decision. You may have to make a formal complaint before you can take your case to the Independent Case Examiner. 

You may want to get help from an adviser if challenging a decision. You can use our Find an Adviser tool to locate one in your area.

Further information on Challenges and complaints