1. Before you claim
Most people make their Universal Credit claim online. There is help available within the online claim form for people who need extra support.
Help with your application
If you need help with your application, ask straight away – the sooner you apply for Universal Credit, the sooner you get your first payment.
There are 2 ways to get help with your Universal Credit application:
Help to Claim
Help to Claim can support you in the early stages of your Universal Credit claim, from the online application, through to support with your application before your first full payment.
It’s a free, independent, confidential and impartial service provided by trained advisers from Citizens Advice. They can help with things like how to gather evidence for your application or how to prepare for your first appointment.
Get Help to Claim:
Universal Credit helpline
Contact the Universal Credit helpline if:
- you cannot use digital services at all, this might be due to disability or your circumstances
- you have a question about your claim and can’t access your online claim
You should apply for Universal Credit online. You do not need to call DWP to arrange an appointment and there is no need to attend a jobcentre unless we ask you to. However, jobcentre staff will still meet vulnerable customers including those fleeing domestic abuse.
There is no need to call DWP as we process your claim. If your claim was made online, we will call you if we need you to provide any further information.
We will know that you have applied and will contact you if we need any more information from you to process any payment you are due. We will put a note into your online account and follow up with a phone call – this may appear as a private number. Please check your online account and look out for calls from us.
If you’ve recently applied for Universal Credit, your claim starts the day you submit your application online. This date is not reliant on your identity being verified online or linked to the date of any further contact. However, your identity will need to be verified before you can receive your first Universal Credit payment.
Depending on your circumstances, you might need to take part in a telephone interview with a work coach. We will contact you if this is the case – you do not need to call us.
If you can’t attend your telephone interview please let us know as soon as possible using your online account so that it can be rearranged. If we ask you to attend a telephone interview, your Universal Credit claim won’t be able to proceed until that interview has taken place.
If you cannot use digital services at all, Universal Credit applications can still be made over the phone.
DWP will never text or email asking for personal information or bank details. Please note, there are scams preying on people, so do not share information if you’re not sure the call is from DWP. If you are in any doubt, please ask the caller to post a specific form of words into your journal so you can be sure it’s us.
What you’ll need
It’s a good idea to have the following information with you when you make your claim. You should make sure that it is up to date before you start.
Some of this information may not be needed to start your claim, but you will need to provide it before you can receive your first Universal Credit payment.
If you aren’t able to provide this information it may mean that your first payment is delayed.
You will be asked for:
- your email address
- your telephone number
- your postcode
- your National Insurance number
- proof of your nationality
- your housing details
- details about people who live with you – such as your partner, children you are responsible for, or lodgers
- Child Benefit reference numbers, if you receive Child Benefit
- employer details, if you or your partner are working
- details about any earnings or other income you or your partner have
- details of any savings, investments or other capital you or your partner have
- details of any other benefits you receive
- information about your health
- details of the account your payments will go into, such as a bank, building society or credit union account. This will need to be a current account, not a savings account, and should be in your name. If you don’t have one, the MoneyHelper website can help you choose the account that’s right for you.
If you currently receive tax credits from HMRC please be aware that if you submit a claim for Universal Credit your tax credit award will end immediately. If your tax credit award ends it cannot be re-opened and it will not be possible to make a new tax credit claim in the future, even if you are not eligible for Universal Credit.
This video will explain what you need to do to apply for Universal Credit, including checking your eligibility, setting up an account and making an online claim. There are more videos on the How to claim page that take you through parts of the online claim in more detail.