Financial help with emergencies

image of silver and bronze coins

Universal Credit Advance

If you need help to pay your bills or cover other costs while you wait for your first Universal Credit payment, you can apply to get an advance.

The most you can get as an advance is the amount of your first estimated payment

How do I apply?

You can apply for an advance payment in your online account or through your Jobcentre Plus work coach. You’ll need to:

  • explain why you need an advance
  • verify your identity (you’ll do this when you apply online or on the phone with a work coach)
  • provide bank account details for the advance (talk to your work coach if you cannot open an account)

You’ll usually find out the same day if you can get an advance.

If you cannot apply online or through your work coach, you can contact the Universal Credit helpline:

Telephone: 0800 328 5644
Text phone: 0800 328 1344
Relay UK (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 328 5644
British Sign Language (BSL) video relay service 

Advances on other benefits

You can ask for an advance on other benefits you may receive such as Income Support, Employment Support Allowance (ESA), Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) Carer’s allowance, Pension Credit and State Pension.

How do I apply?

Call the right phone number for the benefit you’re claiming. You must tell the adviser about your circumstances and how much you think you need to borrow.

Income support, ESA or JSA - open Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm
Telephone: 0800 169 0310
Text phone: 0800 169 0314
Relay UK (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 169 0310

Carer’s Allowance - open Monday, 8.45am to 2pm and Tuesday to Friday, 10am to 2pm
Telephone: 0800 731 0297
Text phone: 0800 731 0317
Relay UK (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 731 0297

Pension Credit or State Pension - open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Telephone: 0800 731 0469
Text phone: 0800 731 0464
Relay UK (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 731 0469

If you cannot use the phone

You can ask to use the phone in your local Jobcentre Plus if you cannot afford to make a phone call. Ask a Jobcentre Plus adviser to assess you and apply on your behalf if you’re unable to speak on the phone.

Budgeting Loans

A Budgeting Loan can help pay for:

  • furniture or household items (for example, washing machines or other ‘white goods’)
  • clothes or footwear
  • rent in advance
  • costs linked to moving house
  • maintenance, improvements or security for your home
  • travelling costs within the UK
  • costs linked to getting a new job
  • maternity costs
  • funeral costs
  • repaying hire purchase loans
  • repaying loans taken for the above items

To receive a budgeting loan, you must have been getting one of these benefits for more than 6 months:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit

If you moved from Universal Credit to Pension Credit, any time spent claiming Universal Credit will count towards the 6 months.

How do I apply?

You can apply for a budgeting loan online or by downloading a printable form.

If you can't print a form, call the Social Fund Enquiry Line (open Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm)
Telephone: 0800 169 0140
Text phone: 0800 169 286
Relay UK (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 169 0140
British Sign Language (BSL) video relay service

Discretionary Housing Payments

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) are additional payments to help with rent or housing costs. DHPs can help with:

  • Rent shortfalls
  • Rent arrears
  • Rent deposit, bond or rent in advance
  • Other eligible housing costs

DHPs do not cover the cost of services charges included in your rent; these are usually things like fuel, water or food.

Who can apply?

DHPs are intended to give short-term help with rent for those who are experiencing severe financial hardship. The government limits the funding available for DHPs each year. When the money runs out no more payments can be made. This means we must carefully consider all applications, taking into account individual circumstances to make sure we provide support for those most in need.

You must be in receipt of either Housing Benefit or the Housing Element of Universal Credit to be eligible.

How do I apply?

Residents of Bradford District can apply online using this link

If you need help making an application, contact Bradford Council's customer service team:

Telephone: 01274 437722
Or you can visit a customer service centre (call to make an appointment)

Help with household costs

Bradford Council has been allocated funding from the government’s Household Support Fund to help residents who would otherwise struggle to buy food, keep their home warm, pay essential utility bills or meet other essential living costs. We have chosen to fund foodbanks and the voluntary and community sector. You can access this advice and support here:

Bradford East: Family Action

Bradford South: St Vincent’s De Paul (CHAS)

Bradford West and Airedale: Bradford and Airedale Citizens Advice Bureau and Law Centre

For those with long term and/or complex health conditions: Equality Together

You can also use our directory to search for these organisations in your area

Borrowing from a credit union

If you need to borrow money and can't get a budgeting loan, Bradford District Credit Union might be able to help, even if you aren't working at the moment.

Borrowing from a credit union can have a number of advantages over using a traditional financial institution or payday loan company. As you repay your loan, part of those repayments will go into a savings account meaning that you'll be building a safety net for the future.

Visit BDCU here to find out more