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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)?


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

In most cases, you have to claim Universal Credit online.

For more information about making an online claim, read our guide on how to claim Universal Credit


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

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) also provides a British Sign Language (BSL) video translation service


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 Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) or Employment Support Allowance (ESA) 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.

For a practical guide to claim online, please read our guide on how to claim Universal Credit.

Reviewed: February  2022

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