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Universal Credit (UC) - How do I claim Universal Credit (UC)?

Universal Credit is a means-tested benefit for people of working-age who are on a low income.

How do I claim Universal Credit (UC)?

If you are getting Severe Disability Premium or are entitled to get it you will not be able to claim Universal Credit. You can still make new claims for the benefits Universal Credit replaces. If you aren't sure which benefits to claim, use our calculator to check what you might be entitled to.


You can start a claim for Universal Credit on the Apply for Universal Credit page of the website

In most cases, you have to claim Universal Credit online and then attend an interview in person. 

If you don't have internet access, you might be able to use a computer at your local jobcentre or local council who can also offer face to face advice.


If you have a reason for not being able to apply online, you may be able to claim by phone instead.  You can claim by phone if, for example, you can't use a computer or you have problems reading or writing.

To start a claim by phone, call the Universal Credit helpline: 
Telephone: 0800 328 5644 
Welsh language: 0800 012 1888
Textphone: 0800 328 1344

Face to face interview

Once you have started your claim online or by phone, you will be asked to attend a face to face interview at your Jobcentre. 

At the face to face interview you must agree a claimant commitment. This will set out what you have to do in order to continue to receive Universal Credit. Joint claimants must both agree a claimant commitment in order to receive Universal Credit.

The start date of the claim is the date that the claim is submitted, as long as the claimant commitment is signed.

When a claim isn’t needed

Re-awards: If you leave Universal Credit due to your earnings increasing, or changes which reduce your award to nil, a re-award allows you to be able to return to Universal Credit within six months of your claim closing, without having to make a new claim. You will return to your previous assessment period (you won’t have to wait a month for payment) but it will still be considered a new award, not a continuation of your old award.

Rapid re-claims: If you return to Universal Credit but don't fit the re-award criteria you will need to make a claim but there will be a rapid re-claim process.


A claim for Universal Credit can be backdated for a maximum of one month if you or your partner could not have reasonably been expected to make a claim from an earlier date and one of the following circumstances apply to you: 

  • You were previously in receipt of Jobseekers Allowance or Employment Support Allowance and were not notified that your entitlement was going to end
  • You have a disability 
  • You were unwell and this prevented you from claiming earlier (you will need to provide medical evidence showing this) 
  •  You could not claim earlier due to a system failure or planned system maintenance, and have made a claim on the first day following this 
  • You had a joint claim for Universal Credit which stopped due to a breakdown in a relationship and you are now claiming as a single person
  • You made a joint claim for Universal Credit which was either stopped or turned down because your partner did not accept the claimant commitment and you have now ceased to be a couple and are now claiming as a single person 


Updated: February 2019

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