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.

Last reviewed 29 November 2023

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've received a migration notice letter telling you to claim Universal Credit, read our guide Universal Credit Migration Notice to find out about your next steps and how to claim. 


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 Help to Claim phone service:  

  • England: 0800 144 8 444 
  • Scotland: 0800 023 2581 
  • Wales: 08000 241 220 

Relay UK - if you can't hear or speak on the phone, you can type what you want to say:

  • Relay UK (England): 18001 then 0800 144 8 444
  • Relay UK (Wales): 18001 then 08000 241 220 


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.

Was this page helpful?

Tell us the problem


Thank you

Thank you for your feedback. If you would like to tell us more, please visit our contact us page.

Check benefit entitlement

Find out what means-tested benefits you might be entitled to, including tax credits.

Use the Benefits Calculator

Grants Search

Search our database of grant-giving organisations.

Search for grants

Find an adviser

Search for advice and support services near you.

Find an adviser