Waiting for benefits or wages can leave you short of money to pay your rent, food and utility bills. Find out about help available to get you through a cash crisis.
Budgeting loans and budgeting advances
If you have been claiming certain benefits, you can apply for an interest-free loan from your Jobcentre Plus office. This can be used to pay for essential items such as:
- a cooker, fridge and washing machine
- furniture such as a beds or a sofa
- the costs of moving into a new home
- clothes for a job interview or so you can start work
There are two types of loan, depending on which benefits you are claiming:
- social fund budgeting loans if you claim income support, jobseeker's allowance, employment and support allowance or pension credit
- budgeting advances – if you claim universal credit
There are several different types of Social Fund payments. For some, you can claim them as long as you meet the criteria. You have to be receiving certain benefits to qualify.
Social Fund payments include:
Local Welfare Assistance
If you are on a low income or in receipt of certain benefits, help in an emergency may be available through Local Welfare Assistance which is administered by local authorities. Find out more details here Home essentials in a crisis.
Food banks provide emergency boxes of food and offer support for people in a crisis and are often run by church or community groups. There are over 300 food banks across the UK. You will usually have to have a voucher to use a food bank which you can then exchange at the food bank for three days' worth of food. You can get food bank vouchers from our Tenancy Support Advisors.
Many charitable funds do provide help in an emergency or crisis. What is defined as an emergency will vary, but might include:
- Homelessness because of fire, flood or family breakdown
- Repair or replacement of household goods, such as a washing machine, if the person who needs it would be at risk without it
- Vital living costs that can't be paid because of a sudden bereavement, illness or job loss.
The assistance available depends on the charity's eligibility rules and what emergency help they give.
If you need emergency help, please use the Turn2us Grants Search to find charitable funds that you could apply for.
There may be times when you need to borrow money.
With so many lending companies wanting to ‘help’ it can be confusing to find a loan right for you. Before you sign up for a credit card, bank loan or store card, or add to an existing card or loan it makes sense to think about whether you really need to borrow money. Visit the Money Advice Service to follow their recommendations.