How do I claim Universal Credit?

You may feel like you’re on another planet when it comes to understanding Universal Credit – we’ll bring you back down to Earth.

If you are on existing welfare benefits, you don’t need to do anything until the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) contacts you. That is, unless you have a change in your circumstances, which you will need to let them know about.

If you want to apply for Universal Credit click here. Before you start the process, we advise you to read our information and advice on how to prepare for an application. There are a number of things you need to do.

Let us know: If you have already been moved on to Universal Credit or you have been provided with a date when you will be, it is really important to let us know immediately, don’t delay as it could affect your rent payment.

Pay a bit extra: It is most likely that your Universal Credit is paid directly to you on a monthly basis. If you have not yet been moved over to Universal Credit, it is worth considering paying a little extra rent into your account each time. That way, if you experience any delay receiving your first payment (it can take up to six weeks to come through) then you are more likely to avoid any problems covering your rent.

Get ready: You will need to be ready to receive your payments. The Universal Credit service is a full digital service so you will need to communicate with them online. You will also be asked to attend a face-face-interview at your local JobCentre.

Here are some of the key things you will be asked to do online. If you need further support with these, click on the links to find out more:

  • Make your claim and communicate with the DWP online. You will need access to a computer and the internet.
  • Set up a bank or building society account (to receive your Universal Credit payment).
  • Register for the Universal Credit service with your email address. You will also receive message/updates from the DWP by email.
  • Verify who you are with proof of address and identification online, using a driving license, passport and/or debit/credit card. Alternatively, you can take three forms of proof of identity to your interview at your local JobCentre.

When you make your application, you will also need to provide details about:

  • Who lives in your household including their Date of Birth.
  • How much rent you pay.
  • Your income, for example providing pay slips.
  • Any savings and investments, like shares or a property that you rent out.
  • How much you pay for childcare if you’re applying for help with childcare costs.