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Social fund

Budgeting Loans

You could get a Budgeting Loan to help pay for essential things like rent, furniture, clothes or hire purchase debts.

Budgeting Loans are interest-free so you only pay back what you borrow. You normally have to repay the loan within 104 weeks (two years).

You can apply for a loan if you’ve been getting income-related benefits for at least 26 weeks.

Who is eligible to apply?

To qualify for a Budgeting Loan, you or your partner must have been getting one of these benefits for at least 26 weeks:

What a loan can pay for

Budgeting Loans can pay for:

  • rent
  • furniture or household equipment
  • clothing or footwear
  • removal expenses when you move home
  • travelling expenses
  • things to help you look for, or start, work
  • improving, maintaining or securing your home
  • maternity or funeral expenses
  • repaying hire purchase or other debts you took out to pay for any of the above

How much can I borrow?

How much you can get depends on if you:

  • are single
  • have children
  • can pay the loan back
  • have any savings over £1,000 (or £2,000 if you or your partner are over 60)
  • already owe money to the Social Fund

You can’t owe the Social Fund more than £1,500 – this includes Budgeting Loans and any repayments of Crisis Loans. The smallest amount you can borrow is £100.

How you’re paid

Loans are usually paid directly into your bank account.

How to apply

Send or take claim form SF500 to your local Jobcentre Plus.
Download ‘SF500 – Budgeting Loan claim form – England, Wales or Scotland’ (PDF, 86kb)

If you’re unhappy with a decision

You can ask for a Budgeting Loan decision to be reviewed if you’re not happy with it. To do this, you must write to Jobcentre Plus within 28 days of the decision, explaining why you think it was wrong. If you still think the decision was wrong after the review, you can ask for a further, independent review by a Social Fund Inspector. This review should take no longer than 21 working days.


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Page last reviewed: 20/05/2013

Next review due: 20/05/2015

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