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Short-term benefit advance

A short-term benefit advance is a repayable advance of benefit which may be available, for instance, if you have applied for a benefit but a decision has not yet been made, or if you have qualified for a higher rate of benefit but that new rate is not in payment.

You may also hear these payments referred to as 'payments on account' or 'interim payments'.


Short-term benefit advances are made when:

  • you have made a new claim for benefit - and Jobcentre Plus cannot make a decision or make a payment right away
  • you have made a claim and your first payment is not due yet
  • you should get an increased amount of benefit after a change in your circumstances but the first payment of the higher amount is not due yet

It is also possible for a payment to be made when you have had one payment, but for a shorter period than would be normal, leaving you short of money.

You will be asked to repay the advance from future benefits. You should be advised about this when you apply for the payment.

What 'financial need' is

This is only accepted where there is a serious risk to the health and safety of you, your partner (if you have one) or children (if you have them) if a payment is not made.

Benefits you can get a short-term advance on

Most benefits are covered by this scheme but the following are not:

  • Housing Benefit (this has its own scheme - seek advice)
  • Tax Credits
  • Child Benefit and Guardian's Allowance (these have their own scheme - seek advice)
  • Social Fund Maternity and Funeral payments
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Statutory Sick Pay, Maternity, Paternity and Adoption Pay

You also cannot get a payment if your benefit application is subject to an appeal.

We also have information about advances of Universal Credit.

How to apply for a payment

There is no application form.

You can contact Jobcentre Plus by phone to request a payment:

  • ESA or JSA, tel: 0800 169 0310, textphone: 0800 169 0314
  • Carer's Allowance, tel: 0800 731 0297, textphone: 0800 731 0317
  • Pension Credit or State Pension, tel: 0800 731 0469, textphone: 0800 731 0464

It is also worth confirming the request in writing, explaining the reasons for your application and why you will be in 'financial need'.

How you'll be paid

By Direct Credit Transfer to your bank or building society account. Seek advice if you have problems opening an account.

If you're refused payment

Seek advice – there is no right of appeal on short-term benefit advances but an adviser may be able to help you to discuss the claim with Jobcentre Plus.

You will need legal advice if you wish to challenge a decision because you believe it has been made unreasonably or maliciously.

If you're told to apply to the Derbyshire Discretionary Fund or a food bank instead

If you've made a claim and you are in financial need then a short-term advance is what should be considered.

Help from the Derbyshire Discretionary Fund and referrals to food banks are not intended to be an alternative to short-term advances but they may help you in other circumstances.

If in doubt, seek advice.

Contact us

To get help: