If you’re in need of a loan, it’s worth seeing if you can apply for a Budgeting Loan rather than paying high interest charges for borrowing from payday or doorstep lenders. Alternatively, other help might be available from your local authority (or the Scottish and Welsh governments).
- What is a Budgeting Loan?
- Who qualifies for a Budgeting Loan?
- Applying for a Budgeting Loan
- Paying back a Budgeting Loan
- If you are claiming Universal Credit
- Other help you can get
- Waiting for your first benefit payment?
What is a Budgeting Loan?
A Budgeting Loan can be used for a wide range of expenses.
- Travelling expenses
- Clothing or footwear
- Maternity or funeral expenses
- Furniture or household equipment
- Things to help you look for, or start work
- Improving, maintaining or securing your home
- Repaying hire purchase or other you might have
- Advance rent or removal expenses for a new home
Who qualifies for a Budgeting Loan?
If you’re not yet getting Universal Credit you can apply for a Budgeting Loan.
- Be currently receiving either Pension Credit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Have been claiming for at least 26 weeks, either consecutively or with a break of no more than 28 days
Some things affect the amount of the loan, like having:
- Existing Social Fund loans
- Savings over £1,000 (or £2,000 if you’re over 61)
Applying for a Budgeting Loan
If you think you might qualify for a Budgeting Loan, you’ll need to complete an application form which you can get from your local Jobcentre Plus (or Jobs and Benefits Offices in Northern Ireland).
Before applying, you might want to speak to your local Citizens Advice Bureau or Shelter adviser.
Paying back a Budgeting Loan
Loan repayments are interest free and worked out at the time your loan is agreed. They are usually automatically taken out of your benefits.
If you’re not getting benefits, you will have to agree on another method to pay it back.
If you have a loan but can no longer afford the agreed repayments, tell the office that paid you.
If you are claiming Universal Credit
People claiming Universal Credit might be able to claim a Budgeting Advance.
Other help you can get
Local authorities in England and the devolved governments in Scotland and Wales can provide help and support in an emergency.
- If you live in England, see this interactive map on the Children’s Society website to find your local welfare assistance scheme.
- If you live in Scotland, find out more about the Scottish Welfare Fund on the Scottish Government website.
- If you live in Wales, the Welsh Government is introducing the Discretionary Assistance Fund – find out more on the Welsh Government website.
- If you live in Northern Ireland find out more about changes to the Social Fund on the nidirect website.
Waiting for your first benefit payment?
If you need money because you can’t wait until your first benefit payment or because you have had a significant change of circumstances then ask your Jobcentre Plus (or Jobs and Benefits Offices in Northern Ireland) about a short-term benefit advance.