Universal credit: How to claim

The firm intention is that Universal Credit is an online benefit both for claiming and managing the claim and for information exchanges between the claimant and their DWP workcoach/claim administrator. This may cause difficulties for many claimants who don’t have access to or struggle to use the internet or have limited access to broadband.

Claims in 'live service’ areas
Claims in ‘full service’ areas
After the claim has been submitted
Changes in circumstances
Support for claimants

Currently, claims are made primarily on-line. There are security questions and IT security mechanisms built in to the process, although claimants should ensure their own computer equipment is adequately protected and take standard security precautions, such as logging out of their UC account each time they have accessed it.

Claimants should read through the guidance before starting their on-line claim and try to have all the information to hand, to prevent being timed-out or leaving gaps or mistakes in their claim. Once the on-line claim form has been completed, a summary screen will show the claimant the information they have submitted and confirm the details. If the screen shows a figure of how much universal credit may be payable, this should be used as a guide only and not an indication that the claim has been successful.

Claims in 'live service' areas

Since 1 January 2018, no brand new UC claims have been accepted in 'live service' areas as the 'live service' system begins to be closed down and all new claims for UC can only be made in full service areas. Some existing and previous live service claimants will be able to continue their claims - see our live service guidance for more information.

Claims in ‘full service’ areas

Claims in the full services areas are to be made electronically, via a link on the GOV.UK website. Once the claim has been accepted, the claim is then also maintained and changes updated electronically. Additionally, DWP workcoaches can notify the claimant that they have sent a message or update to their universal credit account, via SMS text to aide communications.

You can sign in to your account via GOV.UK

After the claim has been submitted

After completing the claim online, the option will be given to submit the claim. The date of claim will be the date of submission.

Once DWP receive a claim, they will contact the claimant (usually by telephone) to arrange a face to face interview. DWP will advise what information and evidence the claimant should take to the interview. If a claim is made as a couple, both members of the couple will both get appointments from the Jobcentre to go in and meet their work coaches.

Before the interview claimants will be asked to confirm their identity and provide documents that support their claim. They will also be asked to sign a copy of the claim details.

At the interview the work coach will discuss the job search and draw up a claimant commitment. The claimant will be given a copy of the claimant commitment to take away. If they do not accept the claimant commitment, the claim will be closed.

Advice should be given about the support that is available. Budgeting advice and support can also be given and the claimant will be reminded about their responsibilities and what will happen if they fail to meet their responsibilities.

After the interview, providing all the conditions of entitlement are met, DWP will process the claim and inform the claimant of the decision on their award via their online account.

Changes in circumstances

DWP urge claimants to report all changes in circumstances that may affect their UC award.

Support for claimants

Claimants can get help with their online claim by calling the UC helpline:

Phone: 0345 600 0723 (Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm)

Textphone: 0345 600 0743

(NB - claimants can use the above numbers with telephone pre-fix 0845 instead of 0345 if they prefer)

DWP have a separate website:

DWP has published a framework document that outlines the support framework for Local Authorities:

There is also a partner toolkit which includes basic guides about UC, from DWP:

Last reviewed/updated 21 May 2018