Universal Credit claimants have access to four types of advances:
Click on the appropriate button below for further information
Budgeting Advances provide valuable access to interest free payments for oneoff items. They are designed to help claimants with irregular expenses, for
• obtaining or retaining employment such as work clothes, tools, travelling
expenses and childcare costs
• buying essential household items such as furniture, cot, pram, appliances,
clothing and footwear
• help with rent in advance or removal expenses to secure new
• improvement, maintenance, and security of their home
• Funeral expenses
They are not intended to help pay for unexpectedly high household bills, for
example an electricity or gas bill.
Budgeting Advances are discretionary payments and there is no right of appeal.
If the claimant is not satisfied with the decision, they can ask for it to be looked at
Benefit Transfer Advance
Current Social Security benefits and Tax Credits are paid weekly, fortnightly, or four-weekly in arrears.
This means that when a claimant moves from an existing benefit and claims
Universal Credit, there is likely to be a gap between the final payment of the Legacy
benefit and the first monthly payment of Universal Credit. To manage this transition,
a claimant migrating from the Legacy benefit will be offered a Benefit Transfer
Claimants can receive a Benefit Transfer Advance if they have been in receipt of an
existing Legacy benefit within 1 calendar month of making a new claim for Universal
Qualifying benefits include:
• Jobseeker’s Allowance (income based)
• Employment and Support Allowance (income-related)
• Income Support
• Housing Benefit
• Tax Credits
If a claimant has received a Benefit Transfer Advance and another person joins their claim, the person joining the couple claim will not be eligible for a Benefit Transfer Advance
Change of Circumstances Advance
A claimant can request an Advance when they report a change of circumstances
which results in a significant increase in their Universal Credit entitlement. To be
eligible for a Change of Circumstances Advance, a claimant must (due to financial
need) be unable to manage until their next scheduled payment of Universal Credit
A claimant may be entitled to more than one Change of Circumstances Advance in
the same assessment period if each Advance relates to a different change. It is also
possible for a New Claim Advance and Change of Circumstances Advance to be
paid in the same assessment period.
A change of circumstances to any of the following could have the effect of increasing
the Universal Credit award amounts:
• child or children
• disabled child
• health condition
• loss of earnings (see ‘Claimant is no longer working’ below)
• claimants recently released from prison who were eligible to be paid housing
costs from Universal Credit whilst in prison
New Claim Advance
The purpose of a New Claim Advance is to support claimants who can’t manage until they receive their first payment of Universal Credit. Claimants must be made aware
that advances are available to them if they are in financial need.
If a claimant has transferred to Universal Credit from a qualifying benefit within 1 calendar month, they must be offered a Benefit Transfer Advance not a New Claim Advance.
To establish if the claimant and their partner (if they have one) have a financial need and require an Advance, they must be asked if they have enough money to live on until the first payment of Universal Credit is due. This might be money from savings, earnings, redundancy payments or support from the claimant or partner’s parents, family or friends. If the answer is no, an Advance must be offered.
A claimant is not required to have signed their Claimant Commitment before they can get an Advance, but they must:
• be unable to manage until their next payment of Universal Credit (financial need)
• have likely entitlement to Universal Credit (their ID must have been verified and there must be no doubt that the Habitual Residence Test will be satisfied)
• have the ability and agree to repay the advance
For joint claims, both claimants must satisfy these conditions but the claimant making the Advance request has to confirm only that their partner knows and agrees to the Advance request.