When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Other emergency financial help

Finance Support is usually the best place to ask for money in a financial emergency. But, there are other types of help available if that is not an option. 

Universal Credit advance

There are 3 types of advance payments you can get from Universal Credit. These are:

  • a first payment advance if you are waiting for your first payment of Universal Credit;
  • a change of circumstances advance if you have reported a chance in circumstances that will increase the amount of Universal Credit you get each money (e.g. the birth of a child);
  • a budgeting advance if you have been getting benefits for at leat 6 months and need help to manage while you wait for your next payment of Universal Credit. 

An advance payment is a loan. You pay it back by deductions from your future payments of Universal Credit. You usually need to pay back your advance within one year. 

Use your Universal Credit journal to ask for an advance payment. 

Universal Credit contingency fund payment

You can get a grant to help if you need money while you wait for your first payment of Universal Credit. You do not have to pay this money back. Many people do not know about this grant payment and miss out on it. 

Apply by contacting Finance Support. Make sure you explain that you want the Universal Credit Contingency Fund payment, and that you are struggling financially while you wait for your first payment of Universal Credit. 

Other benefit advances

You can get an advance payment on certain benefits when you make a new claim. This advance usually has to be paid back within 12 weeks. Talk to an advice agency to see if you can get an advance and to find out how to apply. 

You cannot get an advance on Housing Benefit, Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment.

Budgeting loan

A budgeting loan can help you to buy essential items. It can also be used to cover rent in advance if you have to more to a privately rented property.  The loan has to be repaid within 104 weeks and you won't have to pay any interest on what you borrowed.

You will only get a budgeting loan if you or your partner receives pension credit or has been getting one of the following benefits for at least 26 weeks

  • Income Support
  • Income based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • income related Employment & Support Allowance.

Contact your local Jobs & Benefits office to find out how to apply.

Discretionary Housing Payment

A discretionary housing payment can help if you get Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, but still need more help to pay your full rent. You apply to the Housing Executive and our advisers can help you to apply. 

Emergency help with COVID-19

You might be able to get some money if you need financial help and

  • you have tested positive for COVID-19, or
  • you have been told to self-isolate because you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. 

You apply to Finance Support for this grant. 

Help from charities and benevolent funds

Some charities and organisations have funds to help people who need money in an emergency. These can also sometimes provide appliances or furniture to help. Often, you will need an organisation to apply on your behalf. Talk to a local advice agency who can check if any groups can help you out.

There is a grant checker on the Turn2Us website with details of some of the bigger grant making organisations. 

Apps and websites like Olio, Freegle and Freecycle often include listings of good quality produce, toys and furniture that other people want to give away free of charge.