Universal Credit - How to Claim - Getting your first payment
This guide will walk you though making a Universal Credit claim
- Last reviewed 11 July 2023
Steps to receiving your first payment
Once you have submitted your claim, you will be asked in your 'To-do' list to verify your identity using your Government Gateway account.
Not everyone can use the Government Gateway service and if it does not work for you, you will have the opportunity to verify your identity over the phone. To do this, you can select 'I don't have any of these'. The Job Centre can also call you to book an appointment to verify your identity.
You might need up to three appointment:1) to verify your identity to check your documents 2) a Habitual Residence Test interview 3) a claimant commitments meeting.
To book your appointment, you need to check your 'To-do' list. The jobcentre will let you know how your appointment will take place such as on the phone or in a jobcentre.
If there is a strong reason why you can’t attend your appointment, you need to call the Universal Credit helpline (0800 328 5644) and explain why you can't attend an appointment. You'll be asked for your national insurance number.
You'll be told what more information required and what documents you need to take with you. Make sure you make a note of this and bring it with you to your appointment.
If you have a claimant commitments meeting, you will need to agree a claimant commitment. Have a look at our information on work related requirements. If there is a reason it would be harder for you to get a job, such as care responsibilities or a health condition, you should be ready to talk to a work coach about this. You might want to go to the meeting with a list of any reasons you can think of why it would be hard for you to have a full-time job so you can make sure you talk about everything.
You will have a wait of around five weeks to your first payment. If you need help to get through this wait, you can claim an advance or Welfare Supplementary Payment (Northern Ireland) if you lose a benefit as a result of claiming Universal Credit, which is a loan you will have to pay back through deductions from your Universal Credit.
If you want to claim an advance, you can do so online. You can only claim an advance after you have verified your identity and had a face to face meeting at the jobcentre. If you need to have a habitual residence test you might not be able to get an advance until after the DWP decides you are habitually resident in the UK.
If you have been working in the UK you might be able to claim New Style ESA or JSA which are paid sooner than Universal Credit. If you are struggling while you wait for your first payment of Universal Credit, you should speak to an adviser.