To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how exceptional circumstances is defined when determining whether a universal credit claimant in receipt of a budgetary advance is eligible for the three month discretionary period after the first universal credit payment before repayments of the advance begin.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claimants of (a) legacy benefits, (b) personal independence payments and (c) universal credit in the Garston and Halewood constituency have been given a budgetary advance to cover a delay in payment of their benefit in the last 12 months.
The purpose of a Budgeting Advance is to help pay for emergency household costs, or for help getting a job or staying in work. It is not an advance of benefit; therefore no Budgeting Advances have been paid in the last 12 months to cover delays in the payment of benefits.
A Budgeting Advance is available to claimants where they have been in receipt of Universal Credit, or a combination of a legacy benefit and Universal Credit, for at least 6 months or for a lesser period of time if it relates to either them, or their partner, obtaining or retaining employment.
The calculation of the amount of a Budgeting Advance available to a claimant will vary depending upon whether they are single, part of a couple and/or responsible for a child or qualifying young person. It will also be reduced pound for pound by any savings they may have over £1000 and eligibility can be affected depending upon the amount of earnings received in the previous six month period. A Budgeting Advance is repayable over 12 months, which can be extended by up to 6 months in exceptional circumstances.
Exceptional circumstances would be an unforeseen expense that occurs after an advance is agreed, and continued recovery for the initial agreed repayment period would cause the claimant and their household genuine hardship.