Universal Credit new claim advances provide access to a payment for those in financial need, which can be accessed on the same day, until their first payment is due. Claimants can access up to 100% of the total expected monthly award, for which they can pay back over a period of up to 12 months. From October 2021, this maximum repayment period will be extended from 12 to 16 months.
The Department ensures claimants are made aware of their maximum advance entitlement and informed that their Universal Credit award will be adjusted over the relevant recovery period to take into account the advance of benefit they received.
There were 1,046,000 claims made to Universal Credit during January to December 2018 which went into payment. Of these claims, 598,000 (57%) received an advance by end of February 2019 and 449,000 (43%) did not receive an advance. Those who did not receive an advance will include instances of advance payments being refused. However, to identify and collate the total number of applications refused for (a) new claim and (b) benefit transfer in the last 12 months would incur disproportionate cost to the Department.