Budgeting advances are extra amounts of UC that are intended to help you with expenses - e.g., buying essential furniture or household equipment, or expenses related to maternity or getting and keeping a job.
Budgeting advances must be repaid, usually by deductions from future payments of your UC and usually over 12 months, although this can be extended by up to six months.
They are discretionary.
If you are refused a budgeting advance, you do not have a right to appeal against this decision.
If you are awarded a budgeting advance, the DWP must send you notice in writing that you will have it deducted from subsequent payments of your UC and that, if it is not deducted, you must otherwise repay it.
To get a budgeting advance:
- you must apply for one; and
- you (or your partner if you are a couple) must be getting UC and (unless the expense is ‘necessarily related’ to employment) have been getting UC or income support (IS), income-based jobseeker’s allowance (JSA), income-related employment and support allowance (ESA) or pension credit (PC) for a continuous period of at least six months when the claim is made; and
- if you are not a member of a couple, your earnings from work must not exceed £2,600 in the period covered by the previous six complete monthly assessment periods. If you are a member of a couple, your joint earnings from work must not exceed £3,600 in this period.
- there must be no outstanding budgeting advance (i.e., which has not yet been recovered) paid to you (or your partner) and the DWP is satisfied that the budgeting advance can reasonably be expected to be recovered, taking into account all your debts and other liabilities Note: if you are self-employed, your actual earned income is taken into account, not any assumed minimum income under the ‘minimum income floor’.
The minimum amount of a budgeting advance is £100. The maximum payable is:
- if you are single and not responsible for a child, £348
- if you are in a couple and not responsible for a child, £464
- if you are responsible for a child and either single or in a couple, £812
If your capital (or your joint capital if you are a couple) is over £1,000, the budgeting advance is reduced by the amount the capital exceeds £1,000.
How to apply
To apply for a budgeting advance, you should call the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644 (Monday to Friday 8.00am to 6.00pm).