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As of 1/4/2013, Alignments to Benefit have been replaced by Short Term Benefit Advances (STBA?s) and can be applied for whilst waiting for a claim to be processed, however a search of the GOV.UK site bring up virtually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?

  • I made a claim for benifits. I explained I had no money and was asked to go to bexley civic office to get a stba went they didn’t have a clue what I was on about they sent me to erith town hall for the advance. I wen to erith town hall where I was asked to fill out an application online. Done that. Was told via Internet that I would be contacted shortly by email or phone. Guess what!! No call or email ever came through. It has been a month these are supposed to be issued via text. When you call them regarding the payment the best answer I get is I don’t know. This system is disastrous for people who are in a crisis. I totally understand some people might try it on but it seems to me they have made it so difficult that most people won’t bother or will not end up getting the advance

    • Hey Guy,

      The system is very poor! not only do the DWP seem to want to hide STBA’s from those that need one- it would appear that they are not telling the staff about them either!. i would suggest that you call the STBA number and ask for one again. the process is supposed to go like this:

      1) you call and ask for a stba
      2) a STBA application is taken over the phone
      3) the application is emailed to the benefit delivery centre
      4) the email is processed and decided (around 48 hours)
      5) you are called with the woutcome

      The outcome should be either benefit payment or a stba- given that you have waited a month already you have passed your first payment due date.

  • I called 0845 6088545, using the JSA menu option as that’s the benefit I’m waiting for. The lady on the phone took some details. The process was far less interrogative than the old Crisis Loans application process, and she didn’t make me feel like a criminal as previous calls to Crisis Loans have! She told me the Benefit Centre will contact me before 1pm tomorrow, although she was unsure as to whether that call would be to take more info, or if it would be to announce a decision. Finger’s crossed!

  • Hi there, I used the number Mark provided and managed to get the same result. Basically once I asked about getting a “STBA” I was taken through the same process as an old crisis loan & was told I’d get a call back to let me know the out come from the decision makers. Still not had that call yet but had a phone call earlier basically asking about account details of the account my money would be paid into, Man that made that call didn’t go as far to say it was confirmed but he implied it strongly and told me i’d get another call either tonight or tomorrow Am. Fingers crossed & also a thanks to the person who made this site @ also to Mark for the number provided!


  • Just made a new JSA claim. Rang STBA at 11.45 this morning. Asked for ?60. Received phone call at 2.30 this afternoon telling me I can have a STBA of ?14 which will be paid into my account before 5.00. Was also told that I could ring back again on Friday after I sign again to apply for another. Regardless of the amount received, excellent service.

  • This is so ridiculous. I applied for JSA+LHA+Council Tax on 23 May. JobCentre say they texted me an interview date, but I didn’t get it. Therefore they cancelled my application. FINALLY, I had an interview today and will be making a backdating claim.

    I tried to claim a STBA on the basis that I had no money for food, the DWP’s administrative error, my outstanding gas bill, and mental health problems and aspergers. I’ve been told I probably won’t qualify, but they will call me back.

    I’ve had no money since 28th May, and I’ve exhausted what little my former employer has given me (they are refusing to pay pay in lieu of notice even though i’m entitled to two weeks), and I’ve asked for all I can from family and friends. Nobody even cares, there’s no help available. Somehow I have to be able to survive two weeks for my JSA claim to process, on the money that I don’t have!

    • Hey mike,

      from what you have said, I would find it difficult to understand why you would not qualify. Please update me on how you get on when/if they call you back and I will look into other help that may be available in the meantime.

      • Thanks. I had a call back just now and the next I hear from them will be their decision.

        My other option is my Local Assistance Scheme, but their website said no:

        The responses you have provided indicate that you are unlikely to qualify for a grant from XXXX’s Local Assistance Scheme. Based on your responses, we have provided other sources of help which may be able to meet your current requirements.
        You have indicated that
        Your family is experiencing exceptional pressure
        You need help paying fuel costs
        Your benefits have been delayed
        You are applying for short-term living expenses
        You or a member of your family have a serious chronic illness or mental health issue You or your partner in receipt of means tested benefits
        You receive council tax support
        You receive housing benefit or universal credit for rent

        It’s hard to know what to do ๐Ÿ™

        • Also, with regards to the STBA, it was only because of my gas and electricity bill they agreed to process my claim. Apparently having no money for food isn’t an emergency. I was made to feel like a criminal when applying. Every question they asked seem to have an accusatory tone.

          • It sounds like the decision maker was taking the old crisis loan DM stance- ‘no emergency here’. We have seen training material that suggests that the DM’s adopt an inquisitorial role, however it appears that actually getting a Short Term Benefit Advance is 50% process /50% decision makers attitude unfortunately.

            If your gas/elect are on prepaid meters and you are in danger of running out, then a STBA should be awarded as long as you have no other resorces/ways to get money to top them up.

          • When they call you with the decision and assuming they say no- be prepared to ask for clarification on the decision, and possibly ask for a reconsideration.

            DONT come accross as being argumentative, but ask ‘why’ you have been turned down ( in a general sense) then ask what legislation/guidance has been used to determine the decision outcome.


            BUT, you can ask for a reconsideration if you believe the decision maker has not considered the correct information. If you do this, another decision maker should look at the decision based on the correct information.

            If you believe the correct process wasn’t followed when the decision was made then it may be possible to challenge the decision through the courts by a process called judicial review. You will need to seek specialist advice if you feel this is the case- but expect to have been paid benefit, had children and seen the first manned landing on Mars before you get any money.

      • Hi again, they’ve agreed to send me just over ?30 today. It won’t last long, but it’s better than nothing. They say they only award up until the day I first sign on, which will be Monday. It didn’t seem to matter that the job centre said it will be weeks before I receive my first JSA payment. I thought the point was to tide me over until I actually got it? I’ll be paying it back at just over ?5/week for 6 weeks.

    • hello mike if you are in dire need you can fequest for crisses support from yor local council they hep with money through th voucher system if you are on key meters for gas and electricity also send outthe dwp dont like the financial officer fro shopping from tescos check out you local member of pariment they got me my claim sorted in a very short time and back money from may of this year up till octoberthe DWP dont like the financial officer from yor mps office getting involved but it works

  • My situation is as follows made a new claim last month had no money since the 30th may my last payment benefit was stopped due to missing a capability for work assessment though i know for a fact i did not recieve the letter for the appointment honestly had no idea was told that was not there fault and to take it up with the post office the ironic thing is i was mailed a letter for an assessment not long after my claim was stopped but it was for a woman who i do not know so i imagine my appointment was sent to someone else anyway i applied for a STBA last week and was refused have no idea why and as many here i didnt even know they existed as two weeks ago i was told they gave me the number for my local council to apply for a crisis grant and they only gave me ?34 which obviously didnt exactly last long thing is now even though i made the new claim was meant to be a rapid reclaim and sent away sick note with it got a call this morning telling me that the decision maker has decided i have to wait until i have an assessment before i can get anything and he has no idea how long that could take it is unbelievable and like another gentleman who posted i have loaned as much as i can from family and friends they are stuck from money themselves i really do not know what to do i was wondering though the fact they have put my claim on hold until i get an assessment will i still be entitled to a STBA as i really do not know what to do im agrophobic severly paranoid and depressed most of the time which doesnt help and this situation is really draining me hope to get a reply thank you for all the help and comments its quite clear there is a lot of us on the same boat but hooray !! the MP’s got an 11% rise today ๐Ÿ™

    • Hi Ryan,

      I totally understand what you are saying ( I have seen a lot of people in a similar situation).
      In theory, as your claim is not suspended/sanctioned/disallowed and is simply help in an admin process you should be entitled to a short term benefit advance, however we are yet to test this in practice, I will speak with collegues and get back to you.

      But I feel that making the STBA application is the way to go. Be sure to explain that you have exhausted all other possibilities

      • Thanks very much for the reply appreciate it and i definitely be explaining all to them and will also reply tomorrow with how i get on

  • Hi Any Help much Appreciated! … I am having to go through an appeal for a Atos Wca Home Visit Which i have had to call on my Local MP who is urgently Assisting me and has put in Alot of work for me on my Behalf as i have explained in a written letter to jobcentreplus/Dwp stating due to Clinical Depression / Severe Anxiety I am not able to make a Wca at a Assement site. There reply back was my IB is stopping on 25th july 2013 due to unsatisfactory reasons so now i am having to get my GP To Write me a letter stating why i need a Home Visit backing up Medical notes Evidence . This is in Process .. but can i get any Benefits as i am not seeking work so JB i cant see a claim for where does this leave me can i ask for a loan not sure where to go money is so tight !

  • just seeing how many times you can claim for stba as had a stba of ?40 but that just covers gas and electric meter and very little food which will not last and still have 15 days until first payment

  • Having had problems with ESA for over 3 months because they couldn’t do their own job properly so i moved on to jsa and didn’t receive any payments for 9-10 weeks after finding this website and finding out about a STBA I am hopefully going to get some help. If it was not for this website I wouldn’t of known about a STBA. Hopefully it will be a good outcome for once.

  • ive been sanctioned and no body can seem to tell me why i have i signed on on 24/9/13 and recieved a letter on the 25/9/13 stating i had been sanctioned from the 11/9/13 but when i signed on no one told me i had the sanction in place and that i wouldnt be getting paid i have applied for hardship payment but how long does that take and why didnt my advisor tell me i had the sanction in place i have 7p to my name till 8/8/13 and i have meental conditions aswell as on high pain medication for a up coming operation i feel very scared that i wont be able to cope till 8/8/13 for money and am worried about my mental state whats the best thing i could do ?

  • I’m currently claiming JSA but have a sanction so am only receiving less then half of the regular JSA. I received my payment on Monday but my bank ate all the money put in due to the type of account it is(?25 a month for certain benefits) and bank charges. I’ve got prepayment meters for my gas and electric and down to the last bit of emergency credit on both. As for food well let’s just say the cupboards are bare. I’ve phoned about a STBA but was told I didn’t qualify for one so they said I should go to my local council. When I got there I was told the same thing after telling them of my circumstances. In a pretty desperate situation at the moment so is there anywhere else I can go for help in this matter? All replys would be gratefully received. Thanks. Del.

  • Hi all. I’ve been sanctioned for 4 months and currently have no money and running out of food fast, (my partner brought all the food) would i be eligibile for any thing as otherwise i cannot afford food or any thing. Tia xx

  • Hi there, I had heard about these budgeting advances through contacting the welsh assembly to see if there was any help that I could get as I had lost my benefit money. The lady on the phone said that the best thing to do was to ring the number that you still ring for the social fund and then to tell them that you want to apply for something called a budgeting advance. I did this however, the person on the phone insisted that budgeting advances didn’t exist and that all they could do was to send me out a form for a budgeting loan which was of no help to me as I needed immedeate help and the application proccess for a budgeting loan is 3-4 weeks! I don’t know if the person was lying to me or wether she actually didn’t know that I could apply for a budgeting advance because she was unaware that it existed!

  • Hi Budgetingadvance,

    If you have no income at all due to appealing after an adverse WCA from atos are you therefore entitled to Income Support which for most people would ?71.70 per week, plus premiums if you are registered disabled?
    Many thanks.

  • I am making a rapid reclaim tomorrow I’m currently homeless living here there and every where I have a post address will I be able to get a STBA

  • hi all.i am in a joint claim with my partner and found out today that my half of benefits got sanctioned and my partners aint.what can i do to get more money as were only getting paid half of what we normally told that i can apply for hardship but will only get ?30 a week.what can i do.thanks

  • First,thanks for the info on this page. Quick question- what is the telephone number for short term benefit (payday) advances (not budgeting advance. I have rang 5 different numbers today after being given them by staff at the call centres.I am eligible for one and I’ve had no trouble getting information on them but the number/s have changed. My local benefit office is oldham. Thank u

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