Universal Credit and you

This document gives an introduction to Universal Credit for people who are claiming it.



This guide explains:

  • your responsibilities while claiming Universal Credit
  • sanctions you could face if you do not meet your responsibilities
  • how, when and where Universal Credit is paid
  • how you can be better off in work
  • help to become self-employed
  • help with childcare costs
  • help with housing costs
Published 27 February 2017
Last updated 20 October 2020 + show all updates
  1. Updated table at 1.4 'Easements' to explain someone caring for a severely disabled person or people for 35 hours or more a week has no requirement to do any work-related activity.

  2. Updated English and Welsh 'Universal Credit and you' guides with new rates effective from 6 April 2020.

  3. New HTML version of 'Universal Credit and you' document published.

  4. Updated section 9 and 9.1 to reflect changes to higher level sanction length from 1,095 days (about 3 years) to 182 days (26 weeks).

  5. Updated section 6.1 on applying for an advance. You can now apply for an advance through your online account, by asking your Jobcentre Plus work coach or by calling the Universal Credit helpline. You will now need to verify your identity at a jobcentre first.

  6. Attachments updated to include information about easements (reducing or removing work-related requirements).

  7. Added information about 'Help to Claim'.

  8. Removed references to claiming Universal Credit by telephone.

  9. Removed references to Universal Credit telephone numbers.

  10. Removed references to Universal Credit full service and live service.

  11. Added Welsh 'Universal Credit and You' PDF.

  12. Updated guidance to reflect that new claims to Universal Credit can now be made by households with more than 2 children.

  13. Alternative payment arrangements information updated.

  14. Updated to show that Universal Credit is now available everywhere in Great Britain.

  15. Universal Credit live service telephone helpline opening hours changed to 9am to 4pm.

  16. Help to Save scheme information added and reporting changes content updated.

  17. Attachments updated to support the April budget changes.

  18. Removed references to waiting days - this is because the wait for payment has been reduced from 6 to 5 weeks.

  19. Universal Credit content updated with new information about advance payments.

  20. Revised due to the ongoing roll out of Universal Credit full service, this means live service areas stopped taking new claims from 1 January 2018.

  21. Revised Universal Credit helpline telephone numbers and information about hardship payments.

  22. First published.