How you can get support whilst you wait for your benefits to be processed.

Making an application for state benefits can be a lengthy affair,  here are three options that those who are making an application to benefits have to get income whilst awaiting a decision on a recent claim to means tested benefits.

At some point many UK citizens will find themselves having to make an application for state benefits, whether that be Jobseekers Allowance due to recently giving up work or being made redundant, Employment Support allowance following the onset of illness or Pension Credit when reaching retirement age.

Although the Government are making headway in ensuring that the process is as efficient as possible, most people will find that they have to wait several weeks from the initial date of any new application until the first benefit payment is actually made.

In most cases people are making claims to income related benefits that are means tested, and as such don’t have an additional income or sufficient savings to tide them over whist their claim is assessed. The Government have realized that customers who are at the beginning of the claim process may need additional support and financial assistance to bridge the gap between they last payment that they may have got from work and the issuing of any benefits that are due.

Given that most state benefits are paid in arrears customers can expect to wait at least two weeks for any payment. During this period the Department for Work and Pensions who over see the state benefit system may be able to offer one of several types of emergency payment that can be issued in under 48 hours directly into the bank account of the customer.

The three types of payment that can be issues are , Crisis Loans for alignment to benefit,  Interim Payments or Benefit advances.

Crisis Loan for Alignments

These payments are issued following a telephone call to the Social Fund Section of the DWP and completing a 30-40 minute application over the phone that will result in an immediate decision and the possibility of payment within 2 hours.

Interim Payments

Interim Payments are similar to Crisis loan applications however the application is made via the Benefit Delivery Centre that is dealing with the customer’s application to benefit.

The interim payment decision is generally dealt with by the team that are looking at the original Benefit application. This is done with a view to actually processing the benefit application on the same day as the interim payment request is made. to avoid the customer getting into debt

Benefit Advance

Benefit Advances are very similar to Crisis Loan for Alignments in that the application is taken over the telephone and decided on the same day, however the customer is not notified of the decision at the end of the call because the request for a Short Term Benefit Advance is passed to the processing section who have to decide how likely it is that benefit will be awarded as Benefit advances are only issued to customers who will be awarded State benefits where at Crisis loan for Alignments can be awarded to anyone.

All three of the options offered by The Department of Work and pensions are short term, interest free loans that will be recovered based on a repayment plan agreed at the time of accepting the offer of a loan. The repayment period for  interim payments and Benefit Advances is 12 weeks and the amount loaned will be deducted from weekly benefit payments until the loan is satisfied. Crisis Loans for Alignment can be spread out over up to 52 weeks and will either be recovered directly from any benefits that are paid, alternatively if the customer was on Jobseekers Allowance and had closed the claim due to finding work any remaining balance could be repaid in installments or in full by contacting the Debt Management Centre  that would have been notified to the customer as dealing with the loan