Extra Financial Support

The Finance Support Service provides support to anyone living in Northern Ireland that needs short-term financial help.

All claimants have the right to ask for a review from the Finance Support Service. If you are unhappy with the review outcome, you can ask the Discretionary Support Commissioner, who is independent from the Department, to look at your case.

Universities and colleges in Northern Ireland may be able to provide extra financial support to students in genuine financial hardship through their Support Funds.

Cold Weather Payment

A Cold Weather Payment is extra money payable to those on certain qualifying benefits for each week there is very cold weather recorded in the area they live. The Cold Weather Payment scheme runs from 1 November to 31 March. Each Cold Weather Payment is £25 and should be paid automatically with the relevant benefit. It will not impact on entitlement to other benefits.

More information about Cold Weather Payment, as well as a postcode checker, can be accessed at nidirect:

Discretionary Support

Discretionary Support provides financial assistance to people in an extreme, exceptional or crisis situation to address an immediate, short-term need. Applications can be made online or by phone. Although the scheme allows decision makers to use their judgement, taking account of the personal circumstances of the claimant, specific restrictions do still apply. An award from Discretionary Support can be made either as an interest free loan or non-repayable grant.

More information about the different types of Discretionary Support can be accessed at nidirect:

Short-term Benefit Advance

People on certain benefits can request an advance if there is an urgent financial need. The person will need to demonstrate that there will be a serious impact on the health, safety or wellbeing of themselves or their family if that need is not addressed. Advances must be repaid within 12 weeks.

More information about benefit advances can be accessed at nidirect:

Social Fund Budgeting Loan

A Budgeting Loan is an interest-free, repayable loan from the Social Fund to help with certain important costs encountered by people on a low income. It is possible to borrow between £100 and £1,500 and an agreement will be made at the application stage about how the loan is to be repaid.

More information about Budgeting Loans, as well as a claim form, can be accessed at nidirect: