Crisis loans came to an end in March 2013. But if you've run out of money and can't afford to eat or pay your rent, there are still financial hardship payments available from job centres and local councils.
Crisis loans are changing
Crisis loans don't exist anymore. They'll be replaced by different types of financial help depending on your situation and whether you're on benefits or not.
Money from your local council
Local councils are now responsible for helping you if you've been hit by a disaster like a fire or flood and you're suddenly homeless or can't afford food or necessities.
The type of help varies council to council. Some will direct you to food banks and churches, some will give you a card loaded with cash that lets you buy food (but not cigarettes or alcohol), and some will give you a short-term loan. You don't have to be on benefits to get this help.
Money from the Government if you're on benefits
If you are on benefits there's other money available, depending on your situation. The job centre won't necessarily tell you about this, so arm yourself with knowledge.
1) Hardship payments
If your money from Jobseeker's Allowance or Universal Credit has been stopped for some reason - for example you've been sanctioned because you haven't applied for enough jobs - you might be able to get a hardship payment.
Apply by talking to your JSA advisor. We strongly advise speaking to the Citizen's Advice Bureau first - getting hardship payments can be tricky and they'll help you.
2) Short-term Advances
If you're waiting for a benefit claim to be processed and you need money right now you might be able to get a Short-term Advance from the Job Centre.
How do I apply?
Talk to the job centre.
Who gets a Short-term Advance?
They're available in all parts of the UK. You'll have to prove that you'll be in dire need if you don't get any money - for example you don't have any savings.
Do I have to pay back a Short-term Advance?
You'll have to pay the advance back in three months (six months in exceptional circumstances).
3) Budgeting Loans (soon changing to Budgeting Advances)
Budgeting Advances help you with big one-off payments like rent, clothes and furniture. You must have been claiming benefit for six months to get one. If you haven't been on benefit long, you can still claim a Budgeting Advance if the money would help you get a job i.e. with transport costs.
Who can get a budgeting advance?
People from all over the UK including Northern Ireland can get Budgeting Advances.
How do I apply?
Download the SF500 budgeting loan form from the GOV.UK website.
When do I have to pay back a budgeting advance?
They normally have to be paid back within 18 months.
How much can I borrow?
The minimum you can borrow is £100. The maximum number of loans you have at one time can't be more than £1500.
Help - my claim has been refused
If you get refused for financial hardship help, you can ask the job centre to review the decision. You have to do this in writing, stating the reasons why you want the decision to be looked at again. You then send this to your local job centre who will forward it to the reviewing team. Once they've considered your case a reviewing officer will contact you.
Find out more about appealing a decision about benefits.
If that review is unsuccessful, you can send a complaint to the Independent Case Examiner who deals with all complaints against job centres.
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