Budgeting Loans

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?

A Budgeting Loan can be used for a wide range of expenses. These are:

  • furniture or household equipment
  • clothing or footwear
  • advance rent or removal expenses for a new home
  • travelling expenses
  • things to help you look for or start work
  • improving, maintaining or securing your home
  • maternity or funeral expenses
  • repaying hire purchase or other debts you have

Who qualifies for a Budgeting Loan?

If you’re not yet getting Universal Credit you can apply for a Budgeting Loan.

You must:

  • 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).

Find your local Jobcentre Plus on the GOV.UK website

If you’re in Northern Ireland find contact details for your local Social Security or Jobs and Benefits Office

Before applying, you may want to speak to your local Citizens Advice Bureau or Shelter adviser.

Find your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau

Find a Shelter adviser in England or Wales on the Shelter Advice Directory for England website

Find a Shelter adviser in Scotland

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 may be able to claim a Budgeting Advance.

Find out more about Budgeting Advances on the Citizens Advice website.

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.

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.

Read more in Support while waiting for benefit payment

Find your local Jobcentre Plus on the GOV.UK website

If you’re in Northern Ireland find contact details for your local Social Security or Jobs and Benefits Office