Ask CPAG Online - How do you repay a short-term benefit advance?

You will only be awarded an STBA is the DWP are satisfied that you can afford to repay it, i.e. you satisfy the ‘affordability’ criteria – see When can you get a short term benefit advance?

This section looks at how you repay the STBA.

The DWP recover the STBA from you by making deductions from your benefit once it is in payment. Under official guidance, the repayment period is normally a maximum of 12 weeks, starting from your second full benefit payment. In practice, the DWP may not always take the maximum 12 weeks to recover the STBA


Don has been awarded an STBA of JSA of £31.00.

Don repays this by deductions from his future payments of JSA, with the deductions set at £3.10 a week for 10 weeks.

Do you need to adjust your repayments?

If you are repaying an STBA but find that you can no longer afford the repayments, you can ask the DWP to adjust the repayments – the DWP call this ‘rescheduling’ the repayments.

However, official guidance (paragraphs 175-176) says that rescheduling should be done only as an exception, for example in the following circumstances:

  • you have had a change in your circumstances (such as becoming single) which has reduced the personal allowance in your benefit;
  • you have received a benefit sanction;
  • you have experienced ‘an unforeseen and unavoidable’ event reducing your ability to repay, for example your child has been taken into hospital and you need to meet exta travel costs.

This is not a complete list.

You can ask the DWP to reconsider the decision about deductions from your benefit to recover the STBA. Try to do this during the conversation in which the decision maker tells you about your STBA decision. If you remain unhappy you have the right of appeal. For more, see How do you challenge a decision about a short-term benefit advance?