Universal Credit: How to access hardship and advance payments in times of need | Personal Finance | Finance

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The payment is there to help struggling Britons who have been hit by a sanction or penalty for fraud. The money is given as a loan and has to be paid back to the DWP when the person’s sanction ends.

A person may get a sanction, which affects their payment, for failing in their responsibilities as a claimant.

Responsibilities can include meeting with their work coach, face to face at the Jobcentre or by video, or writing CVs and looking for jobs.

For a couple who are claiming Universal Credit, they will both be given a Claimant Commitment outlining their responsibilities, so it’s important to read through this document.

Recent guidance from the DWP said people who paid back their hardship payment and were refused by the department to have the repayment “waived” can apply for a refund.

This DWP review covers repayments over a seven-year period, from January 1, 2014, up to January 11, 2021.

For a claimant to get the refund, they will need to collect and provide evidence in their application.

This evidence must prove that they could not afford to repay the hardship payment at that time, and that repaying it had a significant effect on their or their family’s health or wellbeing.

People will be able to send in their applications from Monday, December 19, with applications not accepted prior to this date.

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Evidence can include documents such as bank statements, information about loans or letters from creditors.

Hard-up Britons in desperate need of support can also fast-track their first Universal Credit payment with an advance payment.

An individual can apply for an advance before they get their first payment or if they are already being paid Universal Credit and their payment is due to increase, but they have not yet been paid the increased amount.

People can put in a request for the advance through their online account or with their Jobcentre Plus work coach.

READ MORE: Struggling Britons on benefits could be able to get over £4,000 in support

The application must include details of why the person needs the advance, and they will need to verify their identity and provide the bank details for the advance.

Responses are usually very quick, with claimants able to find out on the same day if they are successful.

Claimants should note they may be refused an advance if they have not had their identity checked at the Jobcentre or if they have enough money to last until their payment of Universal Credit.

The advance can be paid back in stages, with the first repayment to come out of the claimant’s first Universal Credit payment.

READ MORE: Struggling Britons on benefits could be able to get over £4,000 in support

People can get up to the whole of their usual Universal Credit payment amount in the advance payment.

There are different timeframes that ordinarily apply for when a person must repay their advance.

These include:

  • 24 months – if the person applies for the advance on or after April 12, 2021, because they have made a new claim for Universal Credit
  • 12 months – if the person applies for the advance before April 12, 2021, because they made a new claim for Universal Credit
  • Six months – if they apply for the advance because of a change of circumstances.

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