Universal Credit new claim advances provide access to a payment for those in financial need, which can be accessed urgently, until their first regular Universal Credit payment is due. Claimants can access up to 100% of the total expected monthly award, which they can pay back over a period of up to 12 months. We have announced that from October 2021, the repayment period for these advances will be extended further, to 16 months.
The Department has delivered a number of improvements to support claimants during their first assessment period, such as removing waiting days and paying those claimants moving from Housing Benefit onto Universal Credit a two week ‘transitional housing payment’. We are also introducing a two-week run on for eligible claimants of Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance from July 2020.
Claims may be backdated, by up to one calendar month, in limited circumstances for vulnerable claimants who may be delayed in claiming Universal Credit through no fault of their own. Claims may also be backdated in specific circumstances when a couple separates to ensure that there is no gap in entitlement between the couple claim and the new claim made by a single claimant.