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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.

If you need help, you can usually call the universal credit helpline on 0800 328 5644 (Textphone: 0800 328 1344). However, during the coronavirus outbreak this will be very difficult to get through to. Consequently, during the outbreak the DWP is asking claimants to avoid using the line where possible and conduct all dealings with them online.  

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. During the coronavirus outbreak, if you cannot verify your identity online (using the the government's Verify system, or the Government Gateway account if you already have one of these) the DWP will phone you to help verify your identity. Then 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:

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 contribuations that you have paid.  You may be told you can't. Get help if this happens.