What other help can I get if I am on Universal Credit?

There might be other financial help or budgeting support available to you if you are on Universal Credit (UC).

Help in a crisis

Budgeting advance
If you have been receiving UC for 6 months or more you can apply for a budgeting advance to help pay for emergency household costs (for example buying a new cooker or for help getting a job or staying in work). A budgeting advance is a loan which you will repay through your regular UC payments.

The minimum amount you can apply for is £100. The maximum amount you can get is:
• £348 if you’re single
• £464 if you have a partner but no children
• £812 if you or your partner claim Child Benefit.

A budgeting advance is different to an advance payment of your UC, which is a payment to help you whilst you are waiting for your first payment of UC, or waiting for an increase in UC following a change in your circumstances.

For more information on advances, see Gov.uk

Discretionary Assistance Fund (DAF)
In Wales, you may be able to get help from the Discretionary Assistance Fund (DAF).

The DAF provides urgent grants to people as a last resort, and can include awards for certain electrical white goods, such as fridges and cookers, in addition to household items such as beds, bedding, curtains and kitchen items. Grants do not need to be paid back. In an emergency or disaster, small cash payments may be available. For more information on the DAF see our advice on cash in a crisis.

Food banks
Food banks provide food parcels to people in need. They are often run by church or community groups.

Some food banks offer a hot meal and advice. If you live in a rural area and cannot afford to travel to collect your box, some food banks offer a free delivery service.

Contact the Trussell Trust to find your nearest food bank and see what they offer in your area.

Energy bills
If you are waiting for a UC payment and run out of gas or electricity contact your energy supplier and ask for an emergency top up. You will have to pay any top up back though your meter.

Hardship payments
If your UC has stopped because of a sanction, you might be able to apply for hardship payments to help you pay for essential things like food and heating. You will normally have to pay back any hardship payment through your regular UC payments.

Ring the free UC helpline on 0800 328 9344 to ask for a hardship payment.

For more ideas about what to do in a crisis, click here.

Other financial help

If you are on UC you might also be able to get help with:

Council tax
You might qualify for a reduction in the amount of council tax you have to pay.

Childcare
If you are expecting your first child, or you already have a child or children under 16 years and you are having a multiple birth, you might be able to claim a Sure Start Maternity Grant.

If you receive UC you could qualify for free school meals for your child or children. Contact your school or local council to apply.

If you have a child under 4 or are at least 10 weeks pregnant you can apply for Healthy Start vouchers to get fruit, vegetables and milk – including formula milk – for free.

Housing costs
You can apply for help with payment of your rent as part of your UC claim. This is known as the ‘housing costs’ element of your claim.

If the help you get to pay your housing costs doesn’t cover all your rent you may be able to get a discretionary housing payment.

Health costs
You can have health costs such as prescriptions, eye tests and dental treatments paid for if you are on a low income. Take proof you claim UC when you get your treatment. You can print out statements from your UC account or ask for proof from the UC helpline.

Heating costs
In some areas you can get a cold weather payment towards your energy bills if you have:
• health problems
• a disability
• a dependent child under 5.

If you’re eligible, you’ll automatically get £25 in your account when the temperature drops below freezing for 7 days in a row between November and March.

Contact the UC helpline on 0800 328 5644 if you don’t get it.

Legal bills
You can get help with legal costs through legal aid.

You could get free advice or representation in court if you’re at risk of homelessness or eviction.

Find out about other sources of financial help at Gov.uk

Help with budgeting

Personal Budgeting Support
If you need help with your money when you are claiming UC, you should ask for personal budgeting support. Your work coach should refer you to Citizens Advice for help.

The Money Advice Service can provide more information on UC. You could also use their budget planner and debt test tool to help you organise your money and get things under control.

UC helpline
For help with your claim ring the UC freephone helplines:

Universal Credit helpline: 0800 328 5644
Universal Credit housing line: 0800 328 384
Welsh language line: 0800 328 1744
Text phone: 0800 328 1344
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm (closed on bank holidays).

UC info
For more information on UC, including some common myths, use this tool:

Universal Credit key facts

• One single payment to cover living costs and rent
• Paid monthly
• Claim online
• Paid into your bank account

Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline
0345 075 5005

Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an adviser
email us

We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 0345 075 5005.

This page was last updated on: April 23, 2019

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.