Universal Credit was first introduced by the Government in 2010, but was met with ongoing problems as the Government tried to roll the new system out. The Conservative credit system is a major reform to simplify the benefits system, but some have reported losing money and waiting excessively long periods before they receive their payments.
So how can you claim?
Applying for Universal Credit is a six-step process – scroll down for a summary of the steps.
The easiest way to apply is online, on the Government website here.
If you’re struggling to use the digital services, you can contact the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644.
The six-step process:
1. Check if you’re eligible for Universal Credit
You may be eligible if:
- You’re on a low income or out of work
- You’re 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you’re 16 to 17)
- You’re under State Pension age (or your partner is)
- You and your partner have £16,000 or less in savings between you
- You live in the UK
- You’re studying full-time without support
2. Create an account and make a claim
You need an online account to claim Universal Credit.
Your claim must be submitted within 28 days of creating your account.
If you live with your partner, they’ll also need to set up an account and your accounts will be linked.
Once you’ve made a claim, you’ll be told to arrange an interview with Jobcentre Plus within 10 working days.
3. Attend your Jobcentre Plus interview
At your interview, you might have to make an agreement called a ‘Claimant Commitment’ with your work coach.
What you need to do depends on your situation. You might need to do activities such as:
- Write a CV
- Look and apply for jobs
- Go on training courses
You might also need to do things like:
- Pay your own rent and other housing costs
- Report any changes in your circumstances
Your responsibilities might change if you have children.
- Energy bills could be reduced through this government scheme
4. Apply for an advance on your first payment
If you need help with bills or other costs while you wait for your first payment, you can apply to get an advance.
To do this, you’ll need to:
- Explain why you need an advance
- Verify your identity (you do this at your first Jobcentre Plus interview)
- Provide bank account details for the advance
5. Get your first payment
You’ll get your first payment five weeks after you claim.
Your account will be updated to tell you how much it will be.
6. Follow the terms of your agreement and report any change of circumstance
You are legally required to keep to the Claimant Commitment you agreed at your interview.
If you do not, your payments could stop.
You must also update your account if your circumstances change to get the right payment.
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