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Universal Credit Advance

You can request an Advance Payment of Universal Credit to help you get through the five week wait for your first payment of Universal Credit.

1. What is a Universal Credit Advance?

When you first make a claim for Universal Credit, you will have to wait around five weeks for your first payment.

If you are going to struggle for money during this wait, you can ask for an Advance Payment of Universal Credit. 

The Advance Payment is a loan which you have to pay back from your Universal Credit payments a bit at a time. You don’t pay any interest on a Universal Credit Advance Payment.

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

Updated: January 2020

2. How much Universal Credit Advance will I get?

You can get up to 100% of your estimated entitlement to Universal Credit.  However, you will have to pay the amount back through deductions from future payments of Universal Credit and you might not be allowed to borrow an amount that would take more than a year for you to pay back.

You will normally receive the advance within five days of requesting it, but if the DWP agree your situation is urgent payment can be made quicker (even on the same day in some cases).

How do I repay a Universal Credit Advance?

Repayments are made by making deductions directly from your monthly Universal Credit award lasting a period of up to 12 months.

You can ask for the repayments of the advance to be delayed for up to 3 months if you cannot afford it. This is only allowed in exceptional circumstances. 

Updated: January 2020

3. How do I claim a Universal Credit Advance?

You can request an advance payment by:

  • Speaking to your work coach
  • Universal Credit online journal if you have an online account
  • Calling the Universal Credit Helpline:

           Telephone 0800 328 5644
           Textphone 0800 328 1344

           Monday to Friday, 8 am to 6 pm

When requesting an advance, you will be asked to provide your bank details so the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) can arrange a payment if an advance is agreed.

If you are claiming an advance on a new claim for Universal Credit, you can only claim it if you are in your first Assessment Period and are more than two days before the end of the Assessment Period.

You will usually be told the same day if you can receive the advance payment.

When can I claim a Universal Credit Advance

You claim a Universal Credit Advance when:

  • You first claim Universal Credit
  • You are waiting for your first payment of Universal Credit
  • You have just reported a change of circumstance to the DWP, which increases your entitlement but you are waiting for the increase to be paid.
    • If you are asking for an advance because of a change of circumstances, you might have to show you are in 'financial need', which means you can't afford the things you need to keep you and your family safe and healthy.

Updated: January 2020



4. How do I challenge a Universal Credit Advance decision

If you are refused a Universal Credit Advance or you disagree with the amount, you can ask the DWP to reconsider their decision.  However, if you are still not happy with their decision after they have reconsidered it there is no right of appeal against:

  • A refusal to offer a Universal Credit Advance Benefit Advance, or
  • The amount of a Universal Credit Advance

Reviewed: January 2020