Millions of People in the UK are Applying for Budgeting Advance to Cope With the ‘Corona Challenge’
By Space Coast Daily // April 27, 2020
The recent coronavirus pandemic has changed many things and many of our thinkings. All of a sudden, everything has become motionless and still.
There are roads but no vehicles. There are industries but no one present for work. This epidemic has almost stopped the natural mode of cash flow.
Those who are lucky enough, using their savings. And those who have a little bit or no savings, facing a huge level of hardship to deal with the current situation.
In this critical context, budgeting advance is highly effective to alleviate the sufferings of UK citizens. It can help those who are really needy to manage some extra cash. And it is happening in actual too.
The DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) has received almost a million applications for universal credit and budgeting advance benefits in the second half of March.
That was the exact time when the pandemic was about to break in the UK. Citizens were suggested to stay in their houses, work from home, and maintain social distancing.
DWP officials generally expect 1,00,000 budgeting advance claims in a fortnight period. But this amount is 10 times higher than the natural. This made DWP officers work restlessly from the last month so that maximum people get its benefit as early as possible.
And for this matter, a concise discussion on budgeting advance and its effectiveness to cope with the ‘Corona challenge’ is vastly needed.
What is budgeting advance?
In a very simple term, budgeting advance is a government-provided loan for UK citizens that you can apply for in case of any emergency. And the most beneficial part of it is that it is totally interest-free. So, you repay the exact amount you borrowed, no extra payment needed.
You can also get it along with your universal credit application process to pay any particular expenditure.
There is no definite guideline on which bills you can pay through budgeting advance and which you cannot. Moreover, while claiming, you do not have to mention in detail for what reason you need budgeting advance.
But, while filling the form, you have to choose a category from the seven mentioned categories listed below:
1) Advance rent payment or pay for relocation costs for new accommodation.
2) Pay for household essentials and furniture.
3) To pay the travel-related bills within the UK.
4) Reconstruction, maintenance for the house, or home safety purpose.
5) The cost needed for a new job or re-applying for an existing job.
6) Pay for footwear or apparel.
7) To repay debts.
Budgeting advance rule changes due to coronavirus:
To maintain social distance and deal with an exceptionally high amount of applications, the DWP has announced certain changes in the claim process for universal credit and budgeting advance.
If you are a potential applicant, you can apply for your loan online. You don’t have to visit the jobcentre by a person or call them to start the application process.
They will get in touch with you after your application and there is no need to call them for progress related information. After a successful application, they will send a note in your online account and give a follow-up call from a private number.
Other significant changes are:
1) For recent universal credit applications, the process of a claim begins from the first day of the online submission of application.
2) Those who are new and facing issues with online identity verification, this will not affect the claim procedure. Your claim will be submitted and DWP will contact you in case of any further confirmation of identity.
3) If you do not know how to apply online at all, no problem. You can still apply for a loan through the phone.
4) People who are claiming for universal credit or budgeting advance due to coronavirus, do not require to submit any medical document as proof during application. You may have to submit medical documents later as per requirement, but you can surely start your claiming process without any submission of medical documents.
5) The standard weekly allowance amount for universal credit has been increased by £20. The local housing allowance amounts are also raised by 30% compared to market rates.
Those who are already getting benefits:
If you are already receiving universal credit and budgeting advance benefits, then you do not have to be present in the jobcentre appointments after 19th March 2020.
You will get all your benefits as it is, just all face to face communication requirements will be stopped. Moreover, you will get all your loan related information in your online account. So, there is no need to call DWP unless you face difficulty accessing your account.
While receiving universal credit benefits, if you think you are a Covid-19 positive suspect, you should immediately contact your work coach for further assistance.
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