Making a claim

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.

See the list of information you might need when applying

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.

Government Gateway is the service used for confirming your identity online. 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

You will then be directed to Government Gateway.

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.

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.

Face coverings are no longer a legal requirement in England, Scotland and Wales, however, government guidelines do advise continuation of wearing one to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

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.