Ask CPAG Online - How much can you be paid?

This section looks at how much your universal credit advance will be.

There are no rules in the law about how much an advance should be. Official guidance sets out two main limits:

  • until January 2018, the maximum advance was 50 per cent of your estimated UC entitlement or, for an advance following a change of circumstances, 50 per cent of the expected increase in your UC entitlement; however in the Autumn 2017 Budget the government said that from January 2018 ‘those who need it’ with an underlying entitlement to UC will be able to get up to 100 per of their estimated UC entitlement;
  • the award should not normally breach a ‘repayment cap’ of 40 per cent of your UC standard allowance, multiplied by a recovery period of, before January 2018 a maximum 6 months (12 months in ‘benefit transfer’ cases ), and from January 2018, 12 months.

Note that these amounts are maximums. The DWP may award you an advance of less than 50 per cent or 100 per cent of your estimated entitlement, and can recover at less than 40 per cent of your UC standard allowance or over a shorter period.


The guidance says that,

‘If the claimant requests an amount up to the repayment cap, the agent offers this amount and informs them of the monthly amount to be recovered. If the claimant accepts the agent informs them of the recovery period and checks if they wish to continue.’


Julie is 30 years old and single. She has just lost her job and claims UC. Her rent is £282.18 per month, all of which is eligible housing costs for UC.

Standard allowance           £317.82

Housing element               £282.18

Estimated monthly UC       £600.00

Maximum advance             £300.00 (i.e. 50% of £600) OR £600 (i.e. 100%)

Repayment cap                 £127.128 (i.e. 40% of £317.82) x 6 months = £762.768 OR

                                          £127.128 (i.e. 40% of £317.82) x 12 months = £1525.53

Julie could therefore be awarded the maximum advance. However this is not mandatory, and the DWP could (for example if requested) both award less and recover over a shorter period.