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Call the Social Fund on 0843 178 4097 to learn how to apply for a Budgeting Loan.
Crisis Loans are no longer available from the government, but there are still plenty of options for emergency financial support. If you have been on certain benefits for six months, then you could apply for a Budgeting Loan. You will have to pay it back, but the loan can help with immediate living costs. Read this new guide to find out how to get a Budgeting Loan.
What is a Budgeting Loan?
A Budgeting Loan is a small interest-free loan from the government. You can use the loan to help you pay for necessary and sudden expenses like:
- household furniture or appliances
- clothes or shoes
- advance rent
- moving house costs
- home maintenance, home improvements, or security
- travelling costs (within the UK)
- costs due to getting a new job
- maternity costs
- funeral costs
- repaying loans
The amount that you can borrow with a Budgeting Loan will depend on your circumstances. It will depend on whether you are able to pay back the loan, how much you have in savings, and if you are already paying back an existing loan. The minimum amount for the Budgeting Loan is £100. The maximum is £348 if you are single, £464 if you have a partner, or £812 if either of you claims Child Benefit. See if you are eligible below.
Check Eligibility for a Budgeting Loan
To be eligible to get a Budgeting Loan, you must have been receiving at least one of the following benefits for the last six months consecutively:
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Pension Credit
Any time claiming Universal Credit will count towards the six months. However, if you currently claim Universal Credit, then you cannot get a Budgeting Loan. You will have to try to get a Budgeting Advance instead. If you are involved in industrial action (such as a strike) or you already owe more than £1500 in loans to the government then you cannot get a Budgeting Loan either. If you think that you are eligible, you can apply.
How to Apply for a Budgeting Loan
There are several ways you can apply for a Budgeting Loan. The fastest method is to apply online. You can check your eligibility by answering the questions and proceed to fill out an application. Alternatively, you can fill out a paper form. You can download and print it off yourself, or ask for one at your nearest Jobcentre. You can also call the Social Fund helpline on 0843 178 4097 and they will post a form to you within five working days. Complete the form and return it by post or by handing it in at the Jobcentre. They will send you a letter within 20 – 25 working days to offer you a loan or deny your application. To accept a loan, you need to sign page 4 and then return it to the address on the acceptance letter. You should receive the loan money within twelve working days.
How to Apply for a Budgeting Advance
If you have been receiving Universal Credit for the last six months, then you can apply for a Budgeting Advance instead. These are generally to help with household or work-related costs. For example, to fix or replace a broken appliance, or to pay for transport or clothing that will help you to get or maintain a job. Like the Budgeting Loan, the smallest amount you can get is £100. If you are single, you could get up to £348. You could get up to £464 if you are part of a couple. If you have children, then you could get a Budgeting Advance of up to £812. The amount that you will be eligible for depends on whether you have savings of over £1,000 and can pay the loan back. You cannot get another Budgeting Advance if you have not paid off a previous loan. You also must not have earned more than £2,600 over the last six months (or £3,600 altogether for couples). To apply for a Budgeting Advance, contact your Jobcentre work coach.
How to Pay Back a Budgeting Loan
Budgeting Loans and Advances are interest-free, so you will only ever have to pay back the exact amount that you borrow. You will have to repay the loan within 104 weeks (2 years). They will take repayments automatically by deducting them from your ongoing benefit payments. The repayment amounts will depend on how much you are receiving in benefits and how much you can afford to repay out of that amount. You must contact the Social Fund and arrange another way to repay the loan before the end of the two years if you stop receiving benefit payments.