Claiming universal credit

Making the claim

A claim for universal credit must be made by means of an electronic communication [1] for which a dedicated claims website will be available or in certain cases by telephone. Claims are dealt with centrally by the DWP but local authorities can assist with making claims. Couples may apply for universal credit as a “benefit unit”.

Defective claims

Where a claim is not fully completed at the time (and so is a defective claim), it is treated as being properly made in the first instance if the person corrects the defect within one month from the date on which the claimant is first informed. [2]

Time within which a claim for universal credit is to be made

A claim for universal credit must be made on the first day of the period in respect of which the claim is made but will be extended for up to one month if any one (or more) of the following applies and as a result the claimant could not reasonably have been expected to make the claim earlier: [3]

  • the claimant was previously in receipt of a jobseeker’s allowance or an employment and support allowance and notification of expiry of entitlement to that benefit was not sent to the claimant before the date that the claimant’s entitlement expired;
  • the claimant has a disability;
  • the claimant has supplied medical evidence showing that they had an illness that prevented them from making a claim;
  • the claimant was unable to make a claim because the official computer system was inoperative;
  • certain cases where a new claim is being made after ceasing to be part of a couple or becoming a couple

Amendment and withdrawal of a claim

A person who has made a claim for benefit may amend or withdraw it at any time before a determination has been made by notice in writing received at an appropriate office, or by telephone call to an approved number. [4]

Advance claim for universal credit

Although a person does not satisfy the conditions of entitlement to universal credit on the date on which a claim is made but (unless there is a change of circumstances) that person will satisfy those conditions not more than one month later, the person may in certain cases make an advance claim for universal credit. [5]

Attendance in person

Except certain disability cases, every person who makes a claim for benefit, other than a jobseeker’s allowance must attend at such place and on such days and at such times as may be directed, for the purpose of supplying any information or evidence if reasonably so required. [6]