Ahead of Christmas, a little extra cash could be absolutely vital.
Universal Credit claimants could borrow up to and over £800 before the big day in December in the form of a budgeting advance, depending on their circumstances.
Struggling families may just need the emergency costs as money can be particularly tight around the festive period, as people are entitled to spend money of gifts, food and decorations.
It means that money for other things that may be because of an emergency might be lacking, and this is a useful resource for funds.
How much you can borrow depends entirely on your individual circumstances.
So how can you be eligible for the funds and how can you borrow them?
How much can I borrow?
People needing to claim for emergencies such as funeral costs or for house repair can claim over £800 if they have a family. Although, payments to people who are single are much lower.
Payments are tailored to a person's individual circumstances, but all claimants will receive somewhere between £342.72 and £594.04 as an absolute minimum.1
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It is possible to get a payment of:
- £342 if the claimant is single
- £464 if they're part of a couple
- £812 if they have children
To apply for a budgeting advance, Universal Credit claimants will need to contact their local Jobcentre Plus work coach for assistance.
Am I eligible for Universal Credit christmas claim?
To be eligible for the advance, people must:
- Have been receiving Universal Credit, employment and support allowance, income support, jobseeker’s allowance or state pension credit for six months or more. This is unless they need the money to help them start a new job or stay in work
- Have earned less than £2,600 (£3,600 together for couple) over the past six months
- Have paid off any previous budgeting advance loans
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People who are eligible for Universal Credit payments are either out of work or on a low income. They must also live in the UK and have less than £16,000 in savings.
The scheme is designed for people between the ages of 18 and their state pension age.
Does the debt need to be repaid?
Any extra claim for emergency circumstances on top of Universal Credit should be paid back. What will be awarded depends on if a person has savings of over £1,000 and if they can pay the loan back.
Funds come as a one-off, in-bulk payment. They are paid back through instalments.
The Liverpool Echo reports that payments will eventually need to be repaid through regular Universal Credit instalments.
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Debt will need to be paid even if the claimant stops claiming Universal Credit.
The hope is that they money will not be needed as the original Universal Credit payment should be enough to help cover bills and childcare costs.
Despite this, the scheme has faced repeated criticism for not providing families with enough.
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