4. How to claim

You can claim Universal Credit online.

Contact the Universal Credit helpline if:

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
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Find out about call charges

Alternative formats

Call the Universal Credit helpline to ask for alternative formats, such as braille, large print or audio CD.

Your Universal Credit interview

If your application’s successful, you’ll be told to arrange an interview at your local Jobcentre Plus.

You won’t get Universal Credit if you don’t go to the interview.

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.

Your Universal Credit payments will be stopped if you don’t keep to your Claimant Commitment.

Your first payment

You’ll get a statement and your first monthly payment around 6 weeks after you’ve finished applying for Universal Credit.

Your statement will tell you:

  • when you’ll normally get paid
  • how much you’ll be paid
  • which bank account it’ll be paid into

If you won’t have enough money to live on while you wait for your first payment, call the helpline to ask for an advance payment. You’ll repay it through your regular Universal Credit payments - they’ll be lower until you pay it back.

You’ll get your first payment 1 week sooner if you:

  • are claiming Universal Credit as a couple and will now claim by yourself
  • are claiming Universal Credit by yourself and will now claim as a couple
  • claimed Universal Credit within the last 6 months but left because you earned too much to continue claiming
  • are terminally ill
  • have been the victim of domestic violence within the last 6 months
  • are 16 or 17 years old and have no parental support
  • have been in care, are under 22 and this is your first Universal Credit claim
  • have left prison in the last month
  • were entitled to contribution-based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) within the last 3 months
  • were entitled to income-based JSA, ESA or Income Support within the last 3 months and stopped claiming to start working
  • were entitled to income-based JSA, ESA or Income Support within the last month
  • were entitled to Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit or Housing Benefit within the last month

If you’re getting income from self-employment

You need to report your earnings every month when you get Universal Credit.

You’ll be sent a ‘Statement of Earnings’ form.

Use this to record any income received and expenses paid during your ‘assessment period’ (your Statement of Earnings form will tell you when this starts and ends).

Report your earnings by calling the Universal Credit helpline within 14 days of the end of each assessment period.