How do I claim universal credit?

Updated on 3 November 2019

Tax credits and benefits

This page 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 a ‘frontier worker’. Frontier workers are people who are ‘in Great Britain’ (under Section 4(1)(c) Welfare Reform Act 2012) or ‘in Northern Ireland’ (under Article 9(1)(c) of Welfare Reform (Northern Ireland) Order 2015) but do not reside in either GB or NI. Crown servants or members of HM Forces who are posted overseas (as defined under the UC Regulations 2013) are not frontier workers; 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.

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

If you reached your state pension credit qualifying age, you will not have any entitlement to UC as there is an upper age limit although you may be able to claim pension credit, depending on your circumstances. If you have a partner who is under state pension credit qualifying age, you can currently choose whether to claim UC or pension credit, 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. For full details, including how backdating works, see GOV.UK, 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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