Ask CPAG Online - What are short-term benefit advances?

This section covers what are short-term benefit advances (STBAs). It also looks at what benefits can be paid as an STBA.

STBAs are repayable advance payments of benefit. An STBA can be paid to you in certain circumstances where you are in ‘financial need’. The intention is to provide you with a small advance payment of benefit, which you must repay, to provide financial support for a limited period.

The law only contains some basic rules about the circumstances in which you can be paid an STBA. Much of the detail is contained in official guidance. For more information on when you can be paid an STBA, see When can you get a short-term benefit advance?

STBA’s are payments of benefit that it is considered you will be entitled to, but are like a loan in that you must repay the STBA back (you do not have to pay interest). For more information on repaying an STBA, see How do you repay a short-term benefit advance?

What benefits can be paid as an STBA?

Most benefits paid by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) can be paid as an STBA, if you satisfy the criteria. These benefits include:

  • Jobseeker’s allowance (income-based)
  • Employment and support allowance (income-related)
  • Income support
  • Pension credit
  • Non-means tested benefits such as carer’s allowance, contribution-based JSA and contributory ESA

You can also get an advance of universal credit, but these are dealt with slightly differently: see Ask CPAG Online – universal credit advances

For how to apply for an STBA, see How do you apply for a short-term benefit advance?

However, not all benefits can be paid as an STBA. You cannot get an STBA of the following:

  • Housing benefit (however ‘payments on account’ may be available – see Chapter 4(7) of the CPAG Handbook)
  • Attendance allowance
  • Disability living allowance
  • Personal independence payment
  • Child benefit and guardian’s allowance (however ‘interim payments’ may be available – see Chapter 50(4) of the  CPAG Handbook)
  • Tax credits
  • Statutory sick pay, statutory maternity pay, statutory adoption pay, statutory paternity pay, statutory shared parental pay.