New and existing Universal Credit applicants can apply for a DWP loan of up to £800

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More than 5.6 million people are currently applying for Universal Credit, a benefit issued by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), designed to help people who are unemployed or on low income with the costs of daily living.

However, many new and existing applicants may not be aware that when applying for Universal Credit, the first payment can take up to five weeks and for those in immediate need of financial assistance, it is now possible to apply online. for advance payment.

It is important to know that this advance must be repaid as a deduction from their regular Universal Credit payment, but applicants now have 24 months to repay the loan, instead of the previous 12.

To apply for a Universal Credit advance, you can:

  • talk to your Jobcentre Plus work coach

  • apply via your online account

  • call the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644

If a Universal Credit applicant does not report a change in circumstances, they could have their payment stopped or reduced – this is called a penalty.

And if a person receives a sanction, they may be able to apply for hardship compensation if they cannot afford rent, heating, food or hygiene needs.

The GOV.UK website says: “If you don’t have enough to live on while you wait for your first payment, you can apply for an early payment after making a claim.

“You can also apply for hardship compensation if you cannot pay rent, heating, food or hygiene needs because you have received a sanction.

“You have to pay it back through your Universal Credit payments – they will be lower until you pay it back.”

People in financial difficulty who are struggling to pay their rent can also apply for an alternative payment method (APA).

This measure could see the rent being paid directly to a landlord, the benefit being paid more than once a month or the payment being split between the person and their spouse.

There is also a budget advance that can help cover some costs. These include:

The GOV.UK website explains that people who get a budget advance will repay it through their regular Universal Credit payments.

This means that their Universal Credit payments will be lower until they have paid it back, and if they stop getting Universal Credit, they will have to repay the money another way.

How much can I borrow?

The smallest amount you can borrow is £100. You can go up to:

What an eligible person gets depends on whether they have savings of over £1,000 and can repay the loan.

Eligibility

To obtain a budget advance, all of the following conditions must apply:

  • You have been on Universal Credit, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance or State Pension Credit since six months or more, unless you need money to help you start a new job or stay at work
  • You have earned less than £2,600 (£3,600 combined for couples) in the past six months

  • You have repaid previous Budgeting Advance loans



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To find out more about advance payments or hardship and budget loans, visit the GOV.UK website here.

Support is also available through hardship funds in all 32 Scottish councils – find yours here.

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