How do I claim universal credit?

Updated on 22 February 2019

Tax credits and benefits

This section aims to help you claim universal credit and where to go for more help.

Who can claim?

Universal Credit (UC) has a number of conditions that must be met in order to establish entitlement. However, before considering the entitlement conditions of the benefit, this page considers who is eligible to submit a claim. 

Universal Credit Full Service is now available in all parts of the UK, this means that most people are eligible to submit a claim for UC (although that does not mean they will be entitled to UC). However, you will not be able to claim UC if you:

  • Are responsible for three or more children – unless you have claimed UC in the previous six months and are able to re-claim or you are a single person and were claiming UC with someone else as part of a couple and that claim ended in the last month (this is expected to be the case until 31 January 2019); or
  • Are entitled to, or have been in the past month, an award of an existing benefit that includes a severe disability premium. This premium is paid to people who qualify in income support, income related employment and support allowance, income-based jobseeker’s allowance and housing benefit. If your eligibility to the premium ended in the past month, you must have continued to satisfy the conditions for eligibility for the premium and not been invited to claim UC by DWP under managed migration.

If you fall into these two groups, you can continue to claim existing benefits such as tax credits instead of UC.

If you reached state pension credit qualifying age, you will not have any entitlement to UC as there is an upper age limit. Currently you can claim tax credits and/or pension credit as well as housing benefit. If you have a partner who is under state pension credit qualifying age, you can currently choose whether to claim UC or claim existing benefits such as tax credits, pension credit and housing benefit, although from 15 May 2019 you will no longer be able to make a new claim for pension credit and you will be expected to claim UC instead. If you are in this position you should get some advice from a welfare rights organisation such as Age UK before deciding which benefit to claim.

You can find out more about the basic and financial entitlement conditions for UC on our website for advisers.

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How do I claim?

You will usually need to claim UC online, using a computer.

To claim, you will need to use the GOV.UK website and follow the instructions.

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What if I do not have or cannot use a computer?

Claiming by computer may prove difficult for some, who either do not have or cannot access a computer for various reasons and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has confirmed there will be telephone support and the option of face to face support for people who have difficulties claiming on line.

If DWP agree, they may allow you to make your claim by phone. You should phone the UC helpline on 0800 328 5644 to get help with making your claim. 

If you do not have a computer, you may be able to use one in your local library or welfare group or your local Jobcentre Office may be able to help you.

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Is there a helpline?

Claimants can get help with their online claim by calling the UC helpline:

Phone: 0800 328 5644

Welsh language: 0800 328 1744

Textphone: 0800 328 1744

Opening hours – Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm

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More information

For more detailed information about claiming UC, please visit our website for advisers and the Government information on the following pages:

RevenueBenefits – Universal credit – Who can claim

GOV.UK – claiming universal credit online

GOV.UK – quick guide to claiming universal credit

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