Good morning,

One of the most common questions I’m asked when doing our training sessions is – how will claimants exist with no money between their last payment of legacy benefits until Universal Credit’s first payment kicks in 5/6 weeks later?

The answer lies in what are known as Advance Payments, which are effectively loans given to tenants, who are likely to qualify for Universal Credit, which then have to be repaid from future UC payments, usually during the first 6 months. Not the ideal start, being put into debt or more debt, when you’re reliant on state benefits, but for some claimants it’s, most probably, the only way of avoiding destitution in those few weeks before that first Universal Credit.

Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) has just issued an excellent briefing note which explains when and how claimants can access such funds and the method and rate of repayment. I have reproduced the key parts of their note which you can find here.

CPAG is also responsible for publishing some of the best social security advice textbooks. Its Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits handbook 2015/16 has just been published. An excellent buy for Welfare Rights and Money Advice Officers!

If you require any further information of this or any other welfare reform topic please contact or phone me on 07733 080 389.

Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year. 2016 looks as if it could prove interesting & challenging for tenants and landlords alike!

Bill Irvine

UC Advice & Advocacy Ltd