Universal Credit advance is available for new claimants

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People can apply for an advance by speaking to a Jobcentre Plus work coach, through the online account or using the Universal Credit helpline. Those who choose to apply online can do so via the ‘apply for an advance’ section of their account.

Once they have put in their details, the amount the person can claim in advance will be shown on the screen .

This option is only available to claimants within their first assessment period who have had an interview at the Jobcentre.

A person who has already passed their first assessment period will need to call the helpline to register their application.

Claimants who apply through their work coach or the helpline will need to explain why they need the advance.

They will also need to verify their identity at the Job centre and provide bank account details for where the money should be paid.

Claimants should then soon get a response as the decision about their application will usually be made the same day.

A person can get up to 100 percent of their Universal Credit payment paid in advance, but they will have to repay the funds.

The repayment can be arranged as either a deduction from future payments or by other means.

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People who are no longer on Universal Credit can pay back an advance from their income or from another benefit that they are receiving.

Those who apply online will be shown on screen the repayment amounts, which depend on what repayment period they choose.

For people who apply by phone, the helpline adviser will assess if they can afford to repay the advance.

If the adviser agrees to the advance, they will inform the person over the phone how much they can be paid.

They will also provide details of the monthly repayment amounts and when the first repayment will be due.

Deductions are taken from the monthly Universal Credit payment, with the first deduction applying to the first payment.

Claimants who have requested the advance ahead of a new claim will usually pay back the advance within 24 months if they apply on or after April 12, 2021, or within 12 months if they applied before April 12, 2021.

People can also apply for an advance if they are already being paid Universal Credit and a change in circumstances means that they are to be paid a larger amount.

Those who apply for an advance as their circumstances have changed will usually have six months to pay back the money.

Repayments can be delayed if a person cannot currently afford them, for three months if the advance is for a new claim and by one month if it is because a person’s situation has changed.

Advances must still be repaid even if a person stops receiving Universal Credit.

Individuals may be refused an advance if their identity has not been checked or if they have savings they can access.

People can request that the decision is reconsidered but there is no right to appeal.

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