To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the total number and proportion of universal credit claimants who have applied for advance payments is in each of the past five years; and what number and proportion of such applications have been approved.
Applications for a Universal Credit advance can be made in a number of ways: in person, by telephone and also online. To identify and collate the total number of applications made would incur disproportionate cost. Consequently, we do not hold the information requested.
Universal Credit claimants may be eligible for an advance payment, in order to provide extra financial support for those who need it most. The Department has increased the maximum advance a claimant may receive at the start of their claim to 100 per cent of their indicative award and has extended the repayment period to 12 months. From October 2021, this maximum repayment period will be extended further to 16 months.
Around 60% of eligible new claims to Universal Credit received an advance in January 2019. This shows that claimants are being made aware of advances and that our advance system is being utilised so people receive help when they need it.