Additional help if you are claiming Universal Credit
Cost of Living Guide
There are additional support schemes available to people who are claiming Universal Credit.
If you are waiting for your first Universal Credit payment and you do not have enough money to live on, you can apply for an advance payment.
You can also request an advance payment if your Universal Credit payments are due to increase because of a change in circumstances but there will be a waiting period before the increased payment begins.
You can be paid as much as 100% of your Universal Credit payment in advance.
You will have to repay the advance payment.
Repayments are taken from your monthly Universal Credit award and you usually have up to 24 months to pay back the full amount.
If you stop receiving Universal Credit for any reason, you will still have to repay the advance payment. To do this, payments might be taken from other benefits, your wages or recovered through a debt collection agency.
For more information on Universal Credit Advance Payments, visit:
You might be able to claim a Budgeting Advance if you are already receiving Universal Credit and you need financial help with emergency household costs or getting or staying in employment.
Budgeting Advances can be used for many things, including meeting the cost of work clothes and equipment, childcare costs, buying essential household items or help with rent.
To be eligible for a Budgeting Advance, you must have earned less than £2,600 (£3,600 jointly for couples) in the last six months and you must have paid off any previous Budgeting Advances.
Budgeting Advances are paid as a loan and can be between £100 and £348 if you are single, up to £464 if you are part of a couple or up to £812 if you have children.
You usually have up to 12 months to repay a Budgeting Advance.
For more information on Universal Credit Budgeting Advances, visit:
You might be able to claim a short-term living expenses grant if you are in financial difficulty while waiting for your first full Universal Credit payment.
This grant does not have to be repaid.
To be eligible, you must be in an extreme/exceptional situation or a crisis which puts you or your immediate family’s health, safety or well-being at significant risk.
Another condition of eligibility is that your total household, net annual income is not more than £22,230.
For further information on the Universal Credit Contingency Fund and how to apply, visit:
You can apply for a rate rebate if you are receiving Universal Credit and you own your own home or you are a tenant living in social housing or private rented housing.
You should claim a rate rebate within three months of claiming Universal Credit. If you claim within this time, Land and Property Services can backdate your rate rebate to the date on which you claimed Universal Credit.
Application for a rate rebate is online and you will need to have an email address to apply.
The amount of rebate you receive depends on the amount of your rates bill, whether anyone else contributes towards the bill and your income.
For further information on claiming a rate rebate, visit:
To start an online application, see: