Universal Credit payments usually start 5 weeks after your claim is approved. Through this article, we aim to discuss if a Universal Credit claimant can get an advance payment on their claim, the amount that they can expect to receive and what are the payback terms. In addition to this, readers will also gain information regarding the process of claiming Universal Credit, its eligibility criteria and circumstances that affect your claim.
Can I Get Advance Payment For Universal Credit?
Yes, you can get advance payment for Universal Credit if:
- you have been given confirmation of your eligibility for Universal Credit and this will be your first payment; or
- you have recently experienced a change in circumstances due to which you are expecting an increase in your Universal Credit payments
This usually happens when claimants are unable to afford their living expenses during the 5 week period that it takes for the first Universal Credit payment to be received by them.
You can apply for an advance on your UC payments in either of the following ways:
- speaking to your Jobcentre Plus work coach
- applying through your online UC account
- calling the Universal Credit helpline
When you place your request to the DWP, they will ask you for the following:
- your identification details
- reasons for requesting an advance payment
- your bank account details for the payment to be transferred
You will be told the same day by the DWP whether or not your request for advance payment has been accepted.
Claimants must remember that the advance payment that they receive for Universal Credit is an interest-free loan. They will be required to pay it back within 24 months of receiving the payment through monthly deductions from their UC claim. This payback period will be shortened to 6 months if the advance payment is due to an increase in your previous UC claim as a result of a change in your circumstances.
However, if claimants believe that they will not be able to adhere to the repayment schedule, they must inform the DWP and request for smaller instalments spread over a wider span of schedule.
The DWP can refuse your request for advance payment on the following grounds:
- your identity cannot be confirmed or has not been checked at the Jobcentre
- you have sufficient funds to last until your payment of Universal Credit
- you live with parents, relatives or friends who can provide funds
- you have final earnings or redundancy payments
- you have accessible savings
What Is A PSN Number For Universal Credit?
A PSN number or a Personal Security Number is a 16 digit individual and confidential number assigned to claimants of Universal Credit after their first interview with their work coach. This is part of the Universal Credit claims process.
If you are about to make a claim for Universal Credit; either due to recent eligibility for the state benefit or if you are transferring from other benefits to Universal Credit, you will be required to apply online through the GOV.UK web portal. You will have to create an online account using a unique user identification and password. For this, you will need a phone number and an email address. If you are making a joint claim with a partner, you should keep UC account information to yourself.
If your relationship status falls under any of the following categories, you will be required to make a joint claim with your partner:
- civil partnership
- living together as a couple
Once your online account is created, you must keep these details safe as you will need them to receive and send updates regarding your Universal Credit claim. The DWP will ask you at this time whether you prefer to receive updates via text message, email or phone call.
You will still need a PSN number if you are unable to access the internet to create your Universal Credit account. In such cases, you may seek the help of a family member or inform the DWP of your situation. Reasons for lack of access to the internet can be anything from not being confident about using a smartphone to weak sight, a disability or that someone is unable to read or write.
Why Am I Having Problems With Universal Credit Identity Verification?
Sometimes new customers have problems with identity verification with Universal Credit due to one (or more) of the following reasons:
- they don’t know how to use a computer
- they don’t have access to a computer and/or free internet
- they don’t have an email address
- they don’t have a bank account
- they don’t have a mobile number
- they need support in completing their UC application
If you use Government Gateway, you will be able to secure your identity by creating a specific user id and password by providing documented information about yourself.
Yet, there may be times when there is no specific reason why you are having problems with your identity verification; however, chances are that you are a new customer and the process is taking time due to the system being shifted online in post-pandemic (covid-19) times.
When you apply for Universal Credit through their online portal your job centre is automatically notified of your online application. This means that even if you don’t receive an identity verification, you can expect to receive a call from the jobcentre to confirm your details. However, if you think that a reasonable time has passed between your application and the response time from your job centre, you can call on their toll-free number or email them to seek feedback.
Who Is Eligible For Universal Credit?
To qualify for Universal Credit, claimants must be able to fulfil the below eligibility criteria:
- aged between 18 (in some cases it may be 16 or 17) and state pension age
- unemployed or on low income
- between the claimant and their partner, total savings are less than £6,000
- experiencing high costs for childcare
- suffering from a disability or health condition
- caring for someone else
The amount of Universal Credit that an individual receives depends on their personal circumstances and income (if any). For instance, someone who is single and younger than 25 years of age will be eligible for Universal Credit amounting to around £257 per month. Meanwhile, this amount will rise to around £509 for someone who is living with a partner and either one of them or both of them are above the age of 25.
Which Change In Circumstances Affect Universal Credit?
Certain changes in your circumstances can bear an impact on the benefits you receive including Universal Credit. Therefore, it is advisable if you face any of the following situations, you must inform the relevant authorities:
- a new mobile number, postal or email address
- a change in your bank details
- change of residence due to moving in with a partner
- having a child
- changes to your health condition
- being unable to work due to an illness
- starting to care for a child or disabled person
- finding or finishing a job
- changes to your earnings, savings, investments
- changes to rental payments
- changes to your immigration status (in case you’re not a British citizen)
What Counts As Income For Universal Credit?
During your benefits calculation by the DWP, not only is your job-related income(s) taken into account, but the authorities will also consider unearned incomes. These are incomes that individuals receive without having to work.
Unearned incomes that affect your Universal Credit payments include the following:
- Jobseeker’s Allowance (new style)
- Employment and Support Allowance (new style)
- Pension Income
- Carer’s Allowance
- State benefits that aren’t replaced by Universal Credit
For every £1 earned through any of the above means, £1 will be reduced from your Universal Credit payments.
However, the following unearned incomes do not count towards Universal Credit calculations:
- Child Benefit
- Child Maintenance Payments
- Disability Living Allowance
- Personal Independence Payment
- Income From Borders And Lodgers
What Do They Ask You In A Universal Credit Phone Appointment?
In addition to your personal identification details, you can be asked about any of the following areas of your life during a phone appointment with regards to the Universal Credit claim:
- your identification details from your passport or driving license
- your postcode
- your NI number
- your bank account, building society or credit union account number
- your monthly rental payments
- your landlord’s address
- details of your savings and capital investments
- details of your income and benefits
- details of any child care payments made by you
- child benefit reference numbers (if any)
Through this discussion, we can conclude that advance payment on your Universal Credit claim is possible whether it is your first time claiming the benefit or there is an increase in your UC payments due to a change in circumstances. However, you will be required to share your identification details as well as reasons for requesting an advance payment.
FAQs: Can I Get Advance Payment For Universal Credit?
Can I get a Universal Credit advance if I already have one?
If you are facing financial hardship, you can ask for a second advance on your Universal Credit claim. This is more common in cases where the claimant has not taken a full month’s payment as their first advance and still has some amount remaining.
What can you get an advance for on Universal Credit?
You can get an advance for basic living expenses like food and clothing, repairs to your home and household equipment, maternity, travel and funeral expenses.
Can I get a hardship payment?
Yes, you can get a hardship payment if your application for advance payment is refused or you are unable to meet your living expenses as you wait for your benefits claim to be approved.
What is a hardship payment on Universal Credit?
If you have faced a benefits sanction due to any reason, you will not receive benefits payments or reduced payments for some time. During this period, you can be provided with a basic amount to pay for food and living expenses. This is a hardship payment.
What can I get free on Universal Credit?
If you are on Universal Credit, you can claim free prescriptions, dental treatment, eye tests, discounted glasses, free school transport and meals, as well as discounted childcare costs.