Universal credit applicants can apply for an emergency Christmas loan online.
Despite this, many new and existing applicants may be aware that it can take up to five weeks for the first payment to be made after you make a request.
Christmas can be an expensive time of year, so for those in immediate need of financial assistance, it is now possible to request an advance payment online.
Read more: Get the latest news on universal credit
This deposit must be refunded as a deduction from their regular payment of Universal Credit, however, the Daily recording reports.
That being said, applicants now have 24 months to repay the loan, instead of the previous 12 months.
To request a Universal Credit advance you can:
Talk to your Jobcentre Plus work coach
Apply through your online account
Call the Universal credit helpline on 0800 328 5644
If a universal credit applicant does not report a change in their circumstances, they could have their payment stopped or reduced – this is called a penalty.
And if a person receives a sanction, they can apply for hardship if they cannot pay for rent, heating, food or hygiene needs.
The gov.uk website states, âIf you don’t have enough to live on while you wait for your first payment, you can request a down payment after making a claim.
âYou can also apply for hardship if you cannot afford rent, heat, food, or hygiene needs because you have been sanctioned.
“You have to pay it back through your Universal Credit payments – they’ll be lower until you pay it off.”
People in financial difficulty who are struggling to pay their rent can also apply for an Alternative Payment Arrangement (APA).
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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 a budget advance which can help with certain costs. These include:
- Emergency household expenses such as replacing a broken stove
- Get a job or stay at work
- Funeral expenses
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 pay it off, 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 Â£ 100. You can get up to:
- Â£ 348 if you are single
- Â£ 464 if you are a couple
- Â£ 812 if you have children
What an eligible person gets depends on their savings of over Â£ 1,000 and their ability to repay the loan.
To obtain a budget advance, all of the following 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 Â£ 2,600 (Â£ 3,600 together for couples) in the past six months
You have repaid all previous budget advance loans
To learn more about advances or prepayments and loan budgeting, visit gov.uk website here.
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