Applying for Universal Credit

Gather everything you will need to apply

Applying for Universal Credit is done online.  To prepare you will need the following:

  • your bank, building society or credit union account details (call the Universal Credit helpline if you do not have one)
  • an email address
  • your National Insurance number
  • information about your housing, for example how much rent you pay
  • details of your income, for example payslips
  • details of savings and any investments, like shares or a property that you rent out
  • details of how much you pay for childcare if you’re applying for help with childcare costs

Your application will not be submitted unless this information is available. 

You also have to verify your identity online. You will need some proof of identity for this, for example your:   

  • driving license
  • passport
  • debit or credit card
  • you can also use your Verify account to do this

If you are making a joint claim, your partner will need to provide these details as well. You will need to submit both of your applications at the same time.

You will also need these details when you attend your Universal Credit interview so it is worth keeping the information together.

If you do not provide the right information when you apply it might affect when you get paid or how much you get.

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Set up an online account

If you are making a joint application you will both need to set up separate accounts.  When you set up your account you will be asked if you live with your partner.  If you say yes you will get a ‘linking code’ which your partner sets up their account can provide the code to join your accounts.

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Use your online account to start a claim

Now that you have an online Universal Credit Account you can start your application.

To help, view a video on how to apply.

It is best to start your application as soon as possible as it can take 5 weeks before you receive your first payment.

Please note:  you may find it easier completing your claim using a PC or tablet rather than a mobile phone.

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Arrange an interview at the Jobcentre within 7 days of starting your claim

Once you have completed your application you will be provided with a phone number to arrange an interview at your local jobcentre within 7 days.  If you do not arrange the interview in time, you may have to start your application online again.  You will need your national insurance number when you make the call.

At the interview you (and your partner) will be expected to sign a claimant commitment, setting out what you agree to do in order to receive the benefit.

This could range from searching for work full-time, to nothing, depending on your circumstances.

It is important you are clear to the ‘work coach’ about your abilities and responsibilities so you are not set unrealistic expectations

If you do not meet the expectations placed upon you, your Universal Credit could be reduced or stopped.

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Last Updated: 22 November 2018