New digital service to be created following £1.5bn support package unveiled in the Budget
Credit: Kin Cheung/AP/Press Association Images
The £1.5bn support package for the rollout of Universal Credit will include provision for people to apply online for advances.
Beginning in “spring 2018”, claimants will be able to use a digital service to apply for an advance on their first Universal Credit payment. The government has advised new claimants that it “usually takes about six weeks” for the initial payment to be made.
While they wait, recipients that find themselves unable to pay rent or buy food or other necessities can apply for an advance payment. Advances can also be issued if a newly reported change in circumstances affects a claimant’s payment schedule.
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Currently, applications for an advance can only be made via the Universal Credit telephone helpline, or by talking directly to a designated “work coach”.
In the spring of next year, an online system for making applications will be made available, which the government said will make it “even easier for a claimant to access an advance if they need it”.
The development of this new service is among a raft of support and improvement measures provided for by a £1.5bn funding package unveiled by chancellor Philp Hammond in the recent Budget.
Last month the government claimed that 99% of new claims for Universal Credit are made online.