Those who apply for Universal Credit are in need of financial support from the Government. But what do you do if you are strapped for cash while you wait for your first payment? That’s where Universal Credit advances come in. Express.co.uk explains how to get a Universal Credit advance.
What is a Universal Credit advance?
It usually takes around five weeks to get your first Universal Credit payment after you have applied.
This is because there is a one month assessment period, and then you have to wait up to seven days for the payment to reach your account.
You will then be paid monthly on the same date, unless your payment date falls on a weekend or Bank Holiday.
This is a long time when you are struggling to pay your bills, so what do you do for cash in the meantime?
If you need help with your living costs while you wait for your first payment, you can apply for a Universal Credit advance.
Who can apply for a Universal Credit advance?
You can apply for an advance payment of your Universal Credit if you are in financial hardship while you wait for your first payment.
The Government gives the examples of not being able to pay rent or buy food as qualified “financial hardship”.
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How much can you get as a Universal Credit advance?
The most you can get as an advance is the amount of your first estimated payment.
The monthly standard allowance for those single and under 25 is £342.72.
For those single and 25 and over, the standard allowance per month is £409.89.
If you are in a couple and you are both under 25, the standard monthly allowance is £488.59 for you both.
If you are in a couple and either of you are 25 or over, the monthly standard allowance for you both is £594.04.
You may get more money on top of your standard allowance if you are eligible.
For example, if you have children, a disability or health concern you will get extra money.
The same applies for carers, and those who need help with housing costs.
If you apply for an advance, the maximum you will get is the amount you will normally be getting each month.
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How to apply for a Universal Credit advance
You can apply for an advance payment in your online account HERE, or through your Jobcentre Plus work coach.
You’ll need to:
• explain why you need an advance
• verify your identity (you’ll do this when you apply online or on the phone with a work coach)
• provide bank account details for the advance (talk to your work coach if you cannot open an account)
You’ll usually find out the same day if you can get an advance.
Do you have to pay back a Universal Credit advance?
Yes, you will need to pay back your Universal Credit advance a bit at a time from your future Universal Credit payments.
You start paying it back out of your first payment, and you can choose how many months you pay the advance back over.
However, you must pay it back within 12 months.
You do not pay interest on it – the total amount you pay back is the same.
If you no longer get Universal Credit, you will need to pay it back by other means, e.g. from your wages or other benefits.
If you are already receiving Universal Credit you may also be able to get a Budgeting Advance to help pay for emergency household costs, for example, buying a new cooker or for help getting a job or staying in work.
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