You may be able to claim Universal Credit instead of certain benefits if you’re on a low income or out of work.

You don’t need to do anything if you’re already claiming any benefits - you’ll be told when Universal Credit will affect you.

Where you live

Universal Credit is being introduced in stages. Whether you can claim depends on where you live and your personal circumstances.

See the list of jobcentre areas where you can claim Universal Credit.

You may be able to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance or other benefits if you don’t live in a qualifying area or you’re not eligible to claim Universal Credit.

Work while you claim Universal Credit

There are no limits to the number of hours you can work a week if you receive Universal Credit. Your payment will reduce gradually as you earn more and you won’t lose all your benefits at once if you’re on a low income.

Your Claimant Commitment

You’ll have to accept a ‘Claimant Commitment’ if you want to get Universal Credit.

This is an agreement that you’ll complete certain tasks in order to claim Universal Credit.

What you agree to do will depend on things such as your health, your responsibilities at home and how much help you need to get work or increase your income.

How to claim

You can claim Universal Credit online.

You may be able get an advance on your first Universal Credit payment if you’ve recently been receiving another benefit or you’re in urgent financial need. Check with your work coach.

Contact the helpline if:

  • you have any questions
  • your circumstances change and you’re already getting Universal Credit

Universal Credit helpline
Telephone: 0345 600 0723
Welsh language (make a claim): 0800 012 1888
Welsh language (report changes): 0345 600 3018
Textphone: 0345 600 0743
Find out about call charges

How you’ll be paid

Universal Credit is paid differently from current benefits. It’ll be paid once a month, usually into your bank, building society or credit union account.

If you live with your partner and both claim Universal Credit you’ll receive a single payment that covers you both.

Any help you get with your rent will be included with your Universal Credit payment and you’ll then pay your landlord yourself.

Contact the Money Advice Service to get help budgeting and planning for Universal Credit.

If you’re claiming other benefits

You can claim Universal Credit instead of:

  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support

You can’t receive tax credits at the same time as Universal Credit.

You should apply for any other benefits you’re eligible for as usual.

Appeal a decision

You can appeal to the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal if you disagree with a decision. You must usually ask for ‘mandatory reconsideration’ before you appeal.