Universal Credit: full service and live service

This guidance explains the Universal Credit full service and live service.

Universal Credit is being introduced in stages across Great Britain by postcode area.

Whether you can claim it and the way you manage your claim depends on where you live and your personal circumstances.

Full service

Universal Credit full service is available to all types of claimants in certain areas of Great Britain.

You will have an online Universal Credit account to manage your claim. You can use your account to report changes, send messages to your work coach and find support.

Eventually all Universal Credit claims will be on the full service and you will have a Universal Credit online account.

Live service

Since 1 January 2018 you cannot make a new claim to Universal Credit in live service areas. You may be able to claim other benefits instead.

If you are already getting Universal Credit in a live service area you will manage your claim by phone.

If your Universal Credit claim is paused because of increased earnings, you will return to Universal Credit live service if your earnings fall, as long as it is within 6 months.

Live service claims will eventually move to the full service. You will be notified when this will happen and what you need to do at that time.

Claiming Universal Credit

When you make your claim you’ll be asked for your postcode and then be directed to complete your claim online.

You will always have access to a work coach who can help you with things like:

  • finding work
  • increasing the hours you work
  • getting more prepared for when you are able to work by learning new work skills or life skills

Helping you to improve your income is central to the Universal Credit service.

Reporting changes

How you report changes affecting your Universal Credit claim, such as changing address or adding a child to your claim, will depend on which service you use.

Full service areas

Use your Universal Credit online account to report changes by answering the questions on screen. The online service will also explain how to report changes you cannot report online at the moment.

Live service areas

Call the Universal Credit service centre to report changes:

Telephone: 0800 328 9344
Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm

Textphone: 0800 328 1344
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Find out about call charges

Published 19 January 2017
Last updated 27 September 2018 + show all updates
  1. Universal Credit live service telephone helpline opening hours changed to 9am to 4pm.
  2. Revised due to ongoing roll out of Universal Credit full service, this means live service areas stopped taking new claims from 1 January 2018.
  3. Updated guide with new 0800 freephone numbers for Universal Credit.
  4. First published.