Other help with Money

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Hardship payments

A hardship payment is a reduced amount of benefit payable if you have no other way of covering essentials such as food, heating or medical supplies. You might be able to get one if your benefit has been stopped because you’ve been sanctioned, or you’re being investigated for fraud, or have applied for a benefit and are waiting for a decision.

Who can get a hardship payment?

You need to be claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), or Universal Credit. You’ll also have to show that you, your partner, or child would have to go without essentials if you don’t get the money.

When will I get a hardship payment?

If you or your family are considered vulnerable (e.g. you’re pregnant, sick or looking after children) you should be able to get a hardship payment in place of your next benefit payment. Otherwise you’ll have to wait for two weeks.

How do I apply?

Talk to your JSA advisor and ask for the JSA 10 ‘Jobseeker’s allowance hardship application’ form  or call the DWP contact centre . You can either complete the form at the Jobcentre or with an advisor over the phone, but we strongly advise speaking to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) first, as getting hardship payments can be tricky and they’ll help you.

Do I have to pay back a hardship payment?

Not if you’re on JSA or ESA. But you will have to pay it back if you’re on Universal Credit.

Short-term benefits advances

Short-term benefits advances are available if you’re waiting for a benefit claim to be processed, haven’t been paid your benefit on the due date, or are waiting for your benefit to go up because of a change of circumstances.

Am I eligible for a short-term benefits advance?

Short-term benefits advances can be claimed against any benefit. You’ll need to be able to show that without the payment you, your partner, or children will have to go without essentials such as food, heating or medicine.

How do I apply?

Talk to someone at your local Jobcentre Plus, or call the DWP contact centre.

Do I have to pay back a short-term benefits advance?

You’ll normally have to pay the advance back in three months.

Budgeting loans

Budgeting loans help you with one-off payments, like rent in advance or removal costs for a new home, maternity or funeral expenses and furniture. They can also help with travel and clothing costs for a new job. There’s a full list of things they can pay for here. Budgeting advances are similar, but for those on Universal Credit.

Am I eligible for a budgeting loan?

You’ll need to have been claiming income-based JSA, income-based ESA, or Income Support for at least 26 weeks.

How much can I borrow?

The minimum is £100, but you can get up to:

£348 if you’re single
£464 if you’re part of a couple
£812 if you have children

The most you can owe at any one time is £1500.

How do I apply?

Download the SF500 budgeting loan form from the GOV.UK website, and post it or take in to your local Jobcentre Plus.

When do I have to pay back a budgeting loan/advance?

They normally have to be paid back within two years. Budgeting advances normally have to be paid within one year.
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