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Universal Credit

Our step-by-step guide to applying for Universal Credit (UC)

If you're unemployed, have been made redundant, are off work due to sickness, or are in work on a low income (including if you're self-employed), you could be entitled to universal credit to help you meet your basic living costs. 

If you already claim benefits you’ll eventually be moved onto Universal Credit. You'll be moved on to universal credit if you have a change in circumstances, or as part of a process called 'managed migration', where the Government moves you over automatically.

You can also choose to move onto universal credit. Some people will find they are better off on universal credit than on their old benefits but there's no guarantee.

Using the benefit calculator lets you find out how much Universal Credit you may be entitled to.

Please note - The calculator will give you an estimate of what you can expect to receive. you may want to seek advice before applying as once you move onto Universal Credit, you can’t move back.

Create an account

You can create an account on the Universal Credit (UC) website, this takes around 5-10 minutes and once registered you have 28 days to make and submit the claim. The start date for your claim will be from the date the claim is submitted. To complete the process you'll need:

  • Email Address
  • Bank Account 
  • Access to your mobile phone 
  • Your partner's Universal Credit linking code (if you have a partner and they are claiming UC)

Make a claim

Completing the application takes around 30-45 minutes and you'll need:

  • Account log in information
  • Access to the mobile phone stored for your account 
  • A bank account

Everything you need to know

Details of your home

This can include details like:

  • Address
  • Landlord details (e.g. name, possibly their contact details)
  • Number of bedrooms
Housing Costs

You can get this information from your landlord or mortgage provider.

This can include details like:

  • How much rent you are charged and how often
  • How much service charges you are charged and how often
  • Mortgage payments
  • Ground rent

Please note- If you are charged weekly but pay monthly, please type in your weekly charge. If you have no charge then please type in £0.00.

Are you a shared owner? Enter your mortgage payments in this section and after you've made your claim, make sure you write a note in your journal telling them the amount of rent and service charges you are charged and how often.

Income Details

This can include details like:

  • Salaries from an employer or self-employment
  • Other benefits you and/or your partner receive
  • Any private pensions you are paid
  • Any other regular income

Please note- You do not need to include child benefit or child maintenance as income.

Details of any savings and assets

This includes any money you hold e.g. money held in

  • Current bank accounts
  • ISAs
  • Properties you own that you don’t live in
Details of caring responsibilities for a disabled person

This is only applicable if you are providing more than 35 hours care per week. You might need to include details of when you started caring for this person (this can be an approximate date).

Bank details

You'll need the bank account details where Universal Credit will be paid into.

Details of any health issues that affect your ability to work

This can include details like:

  • Dates of sickness
  • Medical issues
  • Doctor's contact details
  • Fit notes

Once you've submitted your claim, please make sure to report your fit note details on your UC account home page and to also do this for any further fit notes you receive. If you are receiving ESA with the Severe Disability Premium, you might be entitled to more money – so don’t forget to mention this.

Joint application

Please make sure your partner does all of this as well on their claim (if you are linking your claims).

Complete Application

Before you submit your application, you will have the opportunity to review your application at the end and change anything you like before hitting submit. You have up to a month after submitting your claim to correct any information should you need to.

Once completed you will now have access to a journal. If you are unsure about anything just add a note in your journal (top tip - use 'payments' or 'work coach' as your subject) and remember to check your journal regularly so you don’t miss any important messages or deadlines.

Verify Identity

Before your claim is considered, you will need to ‘verify’ your identity. This takes around 5-15 minutes. The UC system will automatically direct you to Gov UK Verify when you claim. To do this you'll need:

  • Valid Passport 
  • Driving Licence 
  • Debit or Credit card
  • Proof of address 
  • Benefit letter 

Don't worry if you can't do this, you can do it at the interview, but please make sure you sign back into your UC online account and click the ‘I can’t do this online’ in the 'To-do-list task.

Visit the Gov Universal Credit website

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Attend Interview

This might be in person or by phone. You can contact UC on 0800 324 5644 to arrange your interview.

If you haven't been able to verify your identity online, you might need to have an extra interview to verify your identity first.

Please note - You do not have to attend the interview alone.

When attending an interview, you will need the following:

  • National Insurance Number
  • Proof of address
  • Proof of rent e.g. tenancy agreement or rent statement
  • Proof of ID
  • Proof of nationality
  • CV
  • Proof of health issues (e.g fit notes, consultant letters)
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