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How many budgeting loans can I have in a year?

How many budgeting loans can I have in a year?
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Budgeting loans can help you pay for the essentials your family needs. But how many budgeting loans can you have in a year? Let’s take a look.            

What is a budgeting loan? 

Essentially, a budgeting loan is a government-funded scheme that helps you cover certain essential living expenses. It can also help you spread the cost of more expensive items, so you don’t need to pay for everything at once. 

For example, a budgeting loan can help you pay for:

  • Essential home repairs and security (e.g. door locks)
  • White goods and other household items
  • Moving expenses
  • Funeral costs
  • Clothes and footwear
  • Items that help you find work, such as a suit
  • Essential travel costs (e.g. for a job)
  • A rent advance before you move into a new home  

If you take out credit to cover any of these costs, you can use a budgeting loan for repayments.

Am I eligible? 

Before finding out how many budgeting loans you can have in a year, you need to check your eligibility.

Why? Because not everyone can apply for a budgeting loan. They’re only available to people on low incomes who meet certain criteria. 

Essentially, you need to show you’ve been on one of the following benefits for the last six months:

  • Pension Credit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

If you’re on Universal Credit, you can sometimes get a “budgeting advance”. This works like a budgeting loan but you’ll get less Universal Credit until you’ve repaid the advance.  

You can’t get a budgeting loan if you:

  • Are currently part of a strike action 
  • Already owe more than £1500 towards outstanding budgeting loans

Finally, you need to apply for at least £100. Your application will be denied if you ask for a loan smaller than this.

How much can I apply for?

Unsurprisingly, there’s a cap on how much you can get in budgeting loans. 

  • Single people can access up to £348
  • Couples can access up to £464 
  • If you or your partner claims Child Benefit, you can access up to £812

Just to be clear, there’s no guarantee you’ll get the maximum amount. For example, if you’ve got savings, you might get less. You won’t be offered any more than you can afford to repay, either.  

So, how many budgeting loans can you apply for in a 12-month period? Let’s take a look.

How many budgeting loans can I have in a year?

The short answer? There’s no set limit for how many budgeting loans you can apply for in one year. It’s assessed on a case-by-case basis.

That being said, you won’t be able to get another budgeting loan if you already have too many outstanding. So what counts as “too many”? Well, it depends on your personal circumstances.

  • You’ll only get budgeting loans up to the maximum amount you’re entitled to.
    • In other words, if you’re a single person with one budgeting loan of £348, you can’t get another loan until you’ve paid some of it off. 
    • A couple with one budgeting loan of £232 could get a second loan of up to £232. 
    • Someone claiming Child Benefit can get multiple smaller loans up to a total of £812.

And remember, you won’t be able to access more budgeting loans unless the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) thinks you can handle the repayments. 

If you need multiple budgeting loans, it’s probably a sign that you need more help with your personal finances. It might be a good idea to contact Citizens Advice for free debt advice.

Where do I apply for a budgeting loan?

You can apply for a budgeting loan online, or you can fill out an SF500 form and send it to the DWP.

The DWP should issue a decision within 3-4 weeks. If you’re offered a budgeting loan and accept it, you should get the money within three weeks.

What if I can’t pay back my budgeting loan?

If you can’t make your budgeting loan repayments, you should contact the DWP immediately. They’ll advise you what to do next. 

Can I get a crisis loan instead?

No. Crisis loans aren’t available anymore.

If you can’t get a budgeting loan, you should check with your local Job Centre or contact Citizens Advice to see what else you can apply for. 

Takeaway

The bottom line? There’s no set limit to how many budgeting loans you can have in a year. You can either have one budgeting loan up to your maximum entitlement amount, or multiple smaller amounts up to the same maximum total. All that matters is you don’t exceed your entitlement, whether you’re single or in a relationship. 

If you’re worried about your personal finances or you can’t repay your budgeting loans, it’s always best to get debt advice sooner rather than later.

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