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Short Term Benefit Advance

A Short-Term Benefit Advance is paid as a loan, which has to be paid back out of your future benefit payments.

1. What is a Short Term Benefit Advance?

A Short Term Benefit Advance 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 must have been awarded the benefit or the decision maker considers that it is likely that you are entitled to the benefit)
     

  • 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 payment.

A short-term advance is paid as a loan, which has to be paid back out of your future benefit payments.


Applies to: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

Age rules: You must be aged 16 or over

Type of benefit: Means tested

Taxable: No

Administered by: Department for Work and Pensions
 

2. Can I get a Short Term Benefit Advance?

Short Term Benefit Advances are available to people claiming any of these benefits:

You may also get an advance of Universal Credit which is called a Universal Credit Advance.

You cannot get a Short Term Benefit Advance 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 Short Term Benefit Advance 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 health.

If you request a Short Term Benefit Advance after making a new benefit 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.

 

Updated February 2018

3. How much Short Term Benefit Advance will I get?

The maximum amount of Short Term Benefit Advance 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 Short Term Benefit Advances, then these may be taken into account.

The amount you receive will be repaid by making deductions from 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 circumstances.

Benefit Cap

A Short Term Benefit Advance is treated in the same way as a payment of the benefit you have made a claim for so it may be included in the Benefit Cap  which limits the total amount in some benefits that working-age people can receive. See our Benefit Cap information guide for more details.

How will I be paid a Short Term Benefit Advance?

A Short Term Benefit Advance will be paid directly into your Bank, Building Society or Post Office account or by Simple Payment if you are unable to open or manage one of these or a similar account. It is a loan which you have to back out of your future benefit payments.

Short Term Benefit Advance and other benefits

A Short Term Benefit Advance is treated in the same way as a payment of the benefit you have made a claim for.
 

4. How do I claim a Short Term Benefit Advance?

You will need to declare your need for a Short Term Benefit Advance to the relevant contact centre or an adviser in your local Jobcentre. They will then send a Short Term Benefit Advance request to the benefit centre to be decided.

In England, Scotland and Wales

For Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance and Jobseeker's Allowance, you can ask for a Short Term Benefit Advance at your Jobcentre of phone Jobcentre Plus:

  • Telephone: 0800 169 0310
  • Textphone: 0800 169 0314
  • Welsh language line: 0800 328 1744

For Carer's Allowance, phone the helpline:

  • Telephone: 0800 731 0297
  • Textphone: 0800 731 0317
  • Welsh language line: 0800 731 0297 

For Pension Credit or State Pension, phone the Pension Service:

  • Telephone: 0800 731 0469
  • Textphone: 0800 731 0464
  • Welsh language line: 0800 731 0453

For Universal Credit, you can ask for a Short Term Advance using your journal or phone the Universal Credit helpline:

Telephone: 0800 328 5644
Textphone: 0800 328 1344

Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm (closed bank holidays)

Welsh language line: 0800 328 1744 (Textphone: 0800 328 1344)

In Northern Ireland

For Carer's Allowance, Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance, Jobseeker's Allowance, Pension Credit or State Pension, contact the Finance Support Service:

  • Telephone: 0800 587 2750
  • Textphone: 0800 587 2751

What documents will I need to claim a Short Term Benefit Advance?

Details of the benefit you are currently claiming (for example Jobseeker's Allowance).

When will my Short Term Benefit Advance claim begin?

The Department for Work and Pensions, Jobcentre Plus or Pensions Service will tell you when you will be paid. It is usually paid the same day the Short-term Benefit Advance request is made or the next working day. It will be paid into your bank or post office account

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.

If you are eligible you will usually get the Short Term Benefit Advance the next working day after making a claim.

Updated: March 2019

5. How do I challenge a Short Term Benefit Advance decision?

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.

There is no right of appeal against:

  • The amount of a Short Term Benefit Advance

  • A refusal to offer a Short Term Benefit Advance.

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. You can use our Find an Adviser tool to locate an adviser in your area.