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Tuesday, 2 October 2023

Budgeting Loans

If you're on a low income and need help with certain important costs, you may be able to get an interest-free Budgeting Loan from the Social Fund that you pay back.

Who is eligible?

You may be able to get a Budgeting Loan if you or your partner have been claiming or getting payment of one of the following benefits for at least 26 weeks:

  • Income Support
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Pension Credit

and you need help to pay for any of the following:

  • furniture or household equipment
  • clothing or footwear
  • advance rent or removal expenses for a new home
  • travelling expenses
  • things to help you look for or start work
  • improving, maintaining or securing your home
  • maternity or funeral expenses
  • repaying hire purchase or other debts you took out to pay for any of the above

How much do you get?

The smallest amount that can be borrowed for a single Budgeting Loan is £100. The most Jobcentre Plus can pay you for any one time will depend upon whether you are:

  • single
  • a couple
  • single or a couple with children

and whether you:

  • already owe money to the Social Fund
  • are able to pay the loan back
  • have any savings over £1,000 (or £2,000 if you or your partner are over 60)

The total amount of all Social Fund debt that can be borrowed by way of a Crisis Loan or Budgeting Loan cannot be more than £1,500.

How it's paid

Jobcentre Plus will normally pay your loan into an account.

Your loan can be paid into the following types of account:

  • a basic bank account
  • a current account
  • a Post Office® card account
  • a building society account
  • a credit union account

How do you repay it?

Your repayments, which are worked out at the time your loan is agreed, are usually automatically taken out of your benefit. If you're not getting benefits, another method will be agreed.

You normally have to repay a Budgeting Loan within 104 weeks.

The repayments are interest-free which means you only pay back what you borrowed and no more.

Effect on other benefits

A Budgeting Loan award does not count as income and will not affect other benefit you're getting.

How to apply

You can contact Jobcentre Plus, or your pension centre and ask them to send you claim form SF500.

Download a form to print off and complete

Or you can download the claim form, below, from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) website. The form comes with notes to help you fill it in and tell you where to send it.

If you're unhappy with the decision on your application

If you're unhappy with a Budgeting Loan decision, you have the right to ask for a review. You must write to Jobcentre Plus within 28 days of the decision. You need to explain why you think the decision was wrong and ask for it to be reviewed.

If, after that review, you still think the decision was wrong, you can ask for a further review by a Social Fund Inspector. The Inspectors are independent from the Department for Work and Pensions. The review process is quick and simple, and should take no longer than 12 days.

You can download the leaflet and claim form, 'How to ask for an independent review' from the Independent Review Service website.

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