2. How to claim
Setting up an online account
You will need to open an online account before you make your claim. This short video will show you what you need to do to set up an online Universal Credit account.
Before you start, you will need:
- your email address
- your telephone number
When you set up your online account you will need to create a user name and password. Remember to keep your user name, password and personal data safe, and don’t share them with anyone. Sharing this information could put you at risk of identity fraud.
You will also need to choose two security questions. We use this to confirm it is you when you log into your account or call us. Once set, you will not be able to change your security questions or answers.
We will also send a code to your email address to confirm it is correct. You should not use a temporary email address, as this may create issues when accessing your account.
If you provide a mobile phone number, we will send you a code in a text message to confirm it is you. You can still create an account without a mobile phone number.
If you have a partner, you will both need to create your own account. Find out more about claiming as a couple
When you have set up your account you can begin your Universal Credit application.
Making an online claim
This video will show you how to make an online claim using your Universal Credit account. Completing an online claim takes about 20 minutes for a single person.
You will complete your application by answering the questions in the to-do list in your account.
You will have 30 days from when you create your account to submit your application, but we advise you to do it as soon as possible. If you don’t submit your application within 30 days you will need to create an online account again.
Your application will only be officially submitted once you confirm the answers you have provided are correct and press the submit button.
Claiming if you’re in a couple
If you are claiming as a couple you will each make your own claims, and these will be joined together at the end to make them a joint claim. The system will show you how to do this – watch this video to find out how it works.
Completing an online claim takes around an hour if you are claiming as a couple.
Confirming your identity
Once you have applied for Universal Credit you will need to provide information so that the Department for Work and Pensions know that you are who you say you are, and it’s not someone else pretending to be you.
You will need to have confirmed your identity before you can receive your first Universal Credit payment.
Most people can confirm their identity online. This is the simplest and most secure way to do it. You will be given the option of doing this in your ‘To-do’ list once you have submitted your Universal Credit application.
There are 2 options for confirming your identity online. Which one is right for you will depend on what information you are using to confirm your identity. The system will ask you which of the following documents you have:
- National Insurance number
- Your last payslip
- A valid UK passport
- Your last P60
- A valid non-UK passport
- A valid driving licence with your photo on
- Information on your tax credits
Depending on your answers, you will be directed to GOV.UK Verify or Government Gateway.
GOV.UK Verify uses companies such as the Post Office or Barclays to confirm your identity to the Department for Work and Pensions. Once you’ve signed up to GOV.UK Verify you can use it to access a variety of government services.
Watch this video to see how the GOV.UK Verify process works.
With Government Gateway you can securely confirm your identity by providing some more information that only you would know, for example from your passport or payslips. You can use Government Gateway even if you don’t have any of the documents listed above.
If you’re a new customer and are having a problem verifying your identity online do not worry – your application has been submitted. Your jobcentre will know you have applied online; they will call you if they need to confirm any information with you in order to progress your application. If you have not been able to verify your identity online the jobcentre will call you to book an appointment to verify your identity. During the coronavirus outbreak, these appointments will take place over the phone.
Our phone systems mean calls from us may display as 0800 numbers, or an unknown number. If you get a call from an unknown number following our message in your account please pick up, as it’s likely to be DWP. We will of course ensure that you know the call is genuine.
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.
In return for receiving Universal Credit you will need to do certain things. If you are able to prepare or look for work, this will include attending appointments with your work coach.
At the moment these could be by phone or safely in our Jobcentres and we’re starting to offer video calls too.
No matter how your appointment is due to be held, it’s important that you attend. If you are asked to attend an appointment but don’t attend and don’t have a good reason why, your Universal Credit payments will be affected.
If there is a good reason why you can’t attend, let us know as soon as possible.
You will be required to wear a face covering when entering a jobcentre, unless you are in an exempt category. Do not visit a jobcentre if you have any symptoms of coronavirus. Please also follow the latest government guidance on meeting with others safely and lockdown restrictions.
You do not need to come to the jobcentre unless we ask you to do so. If you need to contact us, the quickest way to do this is online or by phone. If you do need to visit a jobcentre, they are open and one of our colleagues will be able to assist you.