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When To Start Your Universal Credit Claim - When Should I Start My Universal Credit Claim?

Read our guide to when to start your Universal Credit claim

When Should I Start My Universal Credit Claim?

Universal Credit is based around Assessment Periods. An Assessment Period (AP) is a rolling period of one month which starts each month from the day on which you made your claim.

So, if you claim Universal Credit on 5th January, your first AP will be from the 5th January to 4th February. Your second AP will be from 5th February to 4th March, and so on.

Your income for the month is assessed based on how much money came in during that assessment period, even if the money you got wasn’t earned in that assessment period. This can affect the calculation of your Universal Credit.

For example, Peter’s AP runs from 21st to 20th each month. He is usually paid on the 19th of each month, but his February wages were paid a few days late, on the 22nd instead of the 19th. He got his March wages through on the 19th as usual. For his assessment period running from 21st February to 20th March, Peter got two month’s pay, so his income was assessed as being too high to get any Universal Credit.

To avoid this, you could make sure your claim starts at least four days away from your usual payday. This means if you are paid a few days early or late it won’t affect your Universal Credit claim. 

If you have just finished a job and are now looking to claim Universal Credit, you might be expecting a final paycheck from your old employer. Depending on how much this is and how long you expect to wait for it, it might be worth delaying your claim for Universal Credit until you get your last paycheck. It would be a good idea to speak to an adviser for detailed advice on this.

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