New and existing universal credit applicants can apply for an emergency Christmas loan online

More than 5.9 million people are currently claiming Universal Credit, a benefit provided by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) designed to help those who are unemployed or on low incomes meet the costs of daily living.

However, many new and existing applicants may not know that when you apply for Universal Credit, the first installment can take up to five weeks and for those in immediate need of financial assistance, it is now possible to request a deposit online.

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 request a Universal Credit advance you can:

  • talk to your Jobcentre Plus work coach

  • apply through your online account

  • call him Universal credit helpline on 0800 328 5644

If a Universal Credit Applicant does not report a change in his situation, he could have his payment interrupted or reduced – this is called a penalty.

And if a person receives a sanction, they may be able to apply for hardship if they cannot pay for rent, heat, 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 ask for a down payment after making a claim.

“You can also apply for hardship if you cannot afford rent, heat, food or hygiene needs because you have been sanctioned.

“You must repay it through your Universal credit payments – they will be lower until you pay them back. ”

People experiencing financial difficulties and having difficulty paying their rent can also apply for a Alternative Payment Arrangement (APA).

This could see the rent being paid directly to an owner, the benefit paid more than once a month, or the payment shared between the person and their partner.

There is also Budget advance which can help with some costs. These include:

the GOV.UK website explains that people who get a Budget advance will reimburse it through their Universal Credit Payments.

It means their Universal credit payments will be lower until they pay it back, and if they stop getting universal credit, they’ll have to pay the money back some other way.

How much can I borrow?

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

What an eligible person gets depends on their savings of over £ 1,000 and their ability to repay the loan.

Financial aid available in Scotland


To get a Budget advance, all of the following conditions must apply:

  • You have been receiving universal credit, employment and support allowance (ESA), income assistance, jobseeker’s allowance or state pension credit for six months or more, unless you need the money to help you start a new job or stay at work
  • You have earned less than £ 2,600 (£ 3,600 together for couples) in the past six months

  • You have repaid all previous budget advance loans

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To learn more about prepayments, provident payments, and loan budgeting, visit GOV.UK website here.

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

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