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How do I claim universal credit?

Universal credit

You can claim universal credit online. If you have a partner (including a same-sex partner), you must normally make a ‘joint claim’ for universal credit.

When you apply for universal credit online, you will set up an 'online account'. Once you have done this, a code will be sent to you which will enable you to make the online claim. When you do this, you will need to confirm your identity using the government's Verify system; you will need some proof of identity for this, eg your driving licence, passport or debit or credit card. 

Once your identity has been verified, you will need to complete a series of questions on a 'to do' list, relating to your general situation.

The online account

When you set up the online account, you will be asked to provide a useable e-mail address,  username, password and security questions (and answers). Keep a record of these in a safe place; you can then use them to access your online account at any time.

You can use the online account to:

The online journal

You can use the online journal to maintain your claim, including:

Keep a written copy or take a screenshot or photograph of any entry you make in your online journal in case it is deleted later. 

The interview

Once you have made the claim, you will be asked to take part in an interview.

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Whether or not you are eligible for universal credit, you can still claim 'new style' employment and support allowance (if your ability to work is limited by either ill health or disability) or 'new style' jobseeker's allowance (if you are seeking work) based on the national insurance contributions that you have paid.  You may be told you can't. Get help if this happens.