Repaying your short-term benefit advance

Short-term benefit advances (STBAs) are small loans of future entitlement to certain benefits, which you must normally repay by deductions from your future benefit.1 

Deductions start from your second full benefit payment2 and the maximum repayment period is 12 weeks (or 24 weeks if 'exceptional circumstances' apply).

If you don't have ongoing benefit, DWP will pass debt recovery to their Debt Management team (see below).

Decision Makers have discretion to decide the rate at which you can afford to repay (that is, they must decide the rate according to your individual circumstances). See these examples.

Appealing against the STBA recovery rate

The DWP decision on the rate of recovery is the only STBA decision against which you have a right of appeal. You can also ask DWP to revise a decision about recovery. See www.cpag.org.uk/stba/challenging-decisions for more information.

Rescheduling STBA repayments

If DWP is making deductions from your ongoing benefit and you can no longer afford them, you can ask for the repayments to be rescheduled. See www.cpag.org.uk/stba/rescheduling-repayment for details. (This differs from the above-mentioned right of appeal against the recovery rate in that it is something you can only ask for after you have started making repayments from ongoing benefit.)

Other ways the DWP may recover your STBA

After you have been awarded an advance payment DWP may find that it cannot recover the debt from your ongoing benefit. DWP Debt Management Team will most likely then take 'off-benefit action' to recover the outstanding STBA, which could include legal action and other methods of recovery. This could happen for example where:

  1. You get your STBA before your benefit claim is decided and DWP then decide that you are not entitled after all.
  2. Your benefit entitlement ends before you have paid off your STBA. 

Other DWP debts

See Overpayments and other debts to the DWP at www.cpag.org.uk/stba/affordability.