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Claiming Universal Credit During Coronavirus

An overview of the Universal Credit application process relating to coronavirus

Universal Credit is the main means-tested benefit in the UK. A means-tested benefit is a benefit that compares your needs with your income and savings. 

Universal Credit isn't right for everyone. Before you claim, you should use a benefit calculator to check all your options

Universal Credit is claimed online. You won't need to go to any appointments at the jobcentre or have any face to face contact with anybody to make or manage your claim. 

In preparation for making your claim, it would be a good idea to have your bank details handy. If you're working, you'll also need your payslips. It will be helpful to have letters about any other benefits you're getting. 

You will need an email address to make your claim. If you don't have an email address, you can set one up for free on lots of different services.

There are three stages to making a Universal Credit claim:

1) Set up your account

  • Choose username
  • Select password
  • Select security questions
  • Enter full name
  • Declare if you live with a partner. 

If you live with a partner, you will be given the opportunity either to enter or to request a 'linking code'. This code will allow the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to recognise you as a couple and handle your claims properly. If you live with a partner, only one of you should request a linking code. Make sure you communicate with your partner to make sure you don't both request linking codes.

2) Complete your claim details:

  • Give information about your nationality
  • Give information about who lives with you
  • Give information about your housing
  • Give information about your income and savings
  • Give information about caring responsibilities
  • Give information about disabilities or health conditions

You can complete this step in any order you like.

If you realise you've made a mistake, don't worry. At the end of the form you are given the opportunity to go back and check everything. 

3) Verify your identity

You will be asked to click on a link to take you to external identification providers. 

If you aren't able to use the external providers, you can go back into your account and tell the DWP that you haven't been able to verify your identity online.

Your claim doesn't start until you've done all of these steps.

4) Manage your claim and payments

Once you have set up your claim, you will have access to an online journal. This is the main way you and the DWP will communicate about your claim. 

You might be called by someone from the DWP to check the details of your claim. They will usually give you an note in your journal to tell you when to expect a call.

Once you have access to your online journal, you can use it to request an advance. An advance is a loan which you pay back over the next 12 months. 

Once you start your claim, you will receive your first payment 1 month + 6 days after you first claim. For example, someone who claims on 10 March will get their first payment 16 April. 

If you are due a payment in 2 days time and haven't had a statement on your journal yet, you should call the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644.

Updated 23 June 2020