Keeping Hush?

We find it interesting that the DWP have not widely publicised the existence of additional help that people making new claims may be entitled to.

Before the recent welfare reforms came into effect on 1/4/13 that saw the end of Crisis Loans, customers who were waiting for a new claim to benefits to be processed and paid could apply to the Social fund for a payment to ease the wait.

The payments were called Alignments to benefit, and were used to forward a small loan against the benefit that may be due in the coming months.


You would think that a search of the GOV.UK site would bring a little more information? ……wrong


Not one result for the search “Aenefit Advance”



Help is STILL available

As of 1/4/2013, Alignments to Benefit have been replaced by Short Term Benefit Advances (STBA?s) and can be applied for whilst waiting for a claim to be processed, however a search of the GOV.UK site bring up virtually no information on the availability of these loans, how to apply, who may qualify and how much you may be able to get.

Whilst the Government website offers little help, it is possible to find clues in the recently issued legislation that help to decode the mystery.

What is a Short Term Benefit Advance?

It is an advance of ?benefit ( including Jobseekers and Employment and Support allowance, income support and pension credit) that can be awarded to a new customer who notifies the DWP that they have a financial need which may result in a serious risk of damage to the health and/or safety of them or their family.

Who is eligible for a STBA??

Although the Loan is discretionary, specific factors are looked at when deciding on eligibility.
You may be able to be awarded a Loan when:?

? It is the start of a new claim, or when a new award of benefit is past due.
? When declaring a change in your circumstances that will drastically increase an award, this can be done at the point of declaration, or after the declaration.
? When the first payment of benefit is not a full two weeks worth.
To make an application for a STBA ?Loan, you have to:??

? Have recently made a new claim ? or have an existing claim to any of the following benefits – Jobseeker?s Allowance, Employment Support Allowance, Income Support, Incapacity Benefit, Pension Credit, State Pension or Carers Allowance.

? Be likely to receive enough benefit for the STBA loan to be recovered from

? Be able to repay the loan from your benefits within 12 weeks ( this can be extended to 24 weeks, however this is in exceptional situations)

? Be able to show that if a loan is not made, that you or your family at serious risk or danger.

? Not be able to find alternative funding anywhere else.

Note that you must have a reasonable chance of receiving beneift and may have to show that you pass the habitual residence test (HRT) before and STBA is awarded

How much can the Loan be??

In general, as loans are made against benefits they are lower than your likely award to the benefit that you have applied for that would cover the same period.
It seems that you can be awarded either 60% of your benefit or 100%, however despite our searches we can not find any information on how these are calculated.
We presume that they are set at 60% so that you can afford to repay them and are not put into additional hardship through a reduced income.

How to apply for a Loan..

Unfortunately there is no form ( that we can find) for this, it seems that you have to call the DWP and declare that you have a financial need – and then, assuming that you meet the above eligibility criteria, you SHOULD be offered a Short Term Benefit Advance and details taken at that stage.

Information on how this is supposed to work is sparse, so please feel free to share your experiences below so that we can build up a detailed picture of how this is working in practice.

44 comments on “Keeping it Hush?

  • My jsa has been sanctioned for 3 months, on Tuesday I applied for hardship payments, the hardship payments have been awarded but, they are saying that I have to wait until my next signing date which is the 19th to receive any form of payment. I am a single mum and have a 14 year old to look after and now have nothing. Thing is I was due to sign on Monday but it was a bank holiday and it’s now Thursday my expected payday from jsa, I knew I wouldn’t be getting any money from jsa but thought I could have had an early payment from the hardship payments but, they have told me that I couldn’t, just worried about what I will do to get by. Any advice would be great thanks .

  • Can u get an advance if u have had to just found ur self in crisis I have had benefits for a while no raise on benifits just over spent last weeks money due to bills being cut off and now I need to get through at least 10 days no money electric

  • I made a claim yesterday for a STBA and they said that they will call me back today before 12pm but I have not had the phone call yet and its 2pm! What number do i have to call about it?

  • I need a free number to call and find out about my short term benefit advance? it’s been over 24 hours they haven’t called me back and i’m desperate, have no credit to call them and no petrol to drive to job centre for there help.. and canm’t find an email address please help.

    Many thanks

  • Made a call at 8.30 and was told I would be contacted by 6pm not a thing. I tried to call back at 5.45 and was on the queueing system until 6.05 when the call stopped as they were now closed. f’n joke

  • Just going to leave some info here for other people, so they have some insight into what may or can happen. Well my experiance is that i was claiming ESA assessment rate, but was found fit for work on the 7/09/16, but I only found out about my claim being closed on 20/09/16. so i applied for JSA and had my first interview for JSA today 22/09/16, my advisor put my application in for me on the computer for a short term advance. Got home, recieved a TEXT saying that £125 will be paid into my account today, and this is NOT a loan. This is my first JSA payment because i was not informed earlier, so they basically have giving me a goodwill payment i assume. just to keep thing’s simple. first time the jobcentre have been nice to me lol. ( i get £125 because i had a budgeting loan ) so happy days. )

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *