How do I claim universal credit?

Updated on 12 April 2023

Tax credits and benefits

This page explains how to claim universal credit and where to go for more help.

Illustration of a long line of people

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 is now fully 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).

If you are single and have reached your state pension credit qualifying age or are part of a couple and you have both reached your state pension credit qualifying age, you will not be able to claim UC as there is an upper age limit although you may be able to claim pension credit, depending on your circumstances.

Most mixed age couples, where one person has reached state pension credit age but the other has not, will only be able to claim UC. This is because most mixed age couples can no longer claim pension credit. However there is one exception to this for mixed age couples who were in receipt of pension age housing benefit on 14 May 2019 (and have continued to receive it).

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

If you are currently receiving tax credits or any of the other bvenefits that UC is replacing, you should get advice before making a claim for UC. As soon as a claim for UC is made, your tax credit claim (and any other benefits that UC is replacing) will usually terminate even if you are not entitled to UC. HMRC state that it is no longer possible to make a brand new tax credit claim. The only exception to this is for certain people who are granted refugee status.

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.

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

In exceptional cases, DWP will allow you to claim by telephone or face to face.

If you cannot claim online, 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.

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
  • Relay UK (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 328 5644
  • Opening hours: Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm

DWP also offer British Sign Language video relay service to contact them about universal credit.

Citizens Advice have a ‘Help to Claim’ service

More information

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

Tax guides

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