Make and manage your claim

From the beginning of opening your Universal Credit claim online, you have 28 days to submit your claim.

How to claim

To claim, you must create a Universal Credit account online.  

Your responsibilities

It is your responsibility to make sure the information you provide is accurate when claiming Universal Credit. 

Your Commitment

As part of your claim you will need to accept your ‘Commitment’. You will create and agree this with your Work Coach.

Your Commitment will set out the tasks you have agreed to do to prepare for work, look for work or increase your earnings. This may include:

  • going to interviews in your local Jobs & Benefits office
  • preparing a CV
  • going on a training course or employment programme
  • applying for jobs
  • registering with a recruitment agency

The tasks you agree to will depend on things such as your health, your responsibilities at home and how much help you need to get to work or to increase your income. Your Commitment will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.

Sanctions

Your Universal Credit payment may be reduced or stopped if you do not meet the responsibilities in your Commitment and you cannot give a good reason to explain why. This is known as a 'sanction'. With a sanction, you will be told how much of your Universal Credit payment you will lose and for how long.

If you are the lead carer

If you are responsible for a child or children and do not have a partner, you will be regarded as the lead carer. If you are a couple responsible for a child or children you will need to nominate a lead carer. This is so your Commitment can be tailored to your personal circumstances.

Age of youngest child Lead carer’s 'Commitment'
Under one  You do not need to look for work 
One If you are not already working, you will be asked to go to interviews to discuss plans for a future move into work
Two You will be expected to take active steps to prepare for work - what this involves will be agreed between you and your Work Coach and will depend on your circumstances, but might include some training and work-focused interviews
Three to 12 You will be expected to look for work in line with your caring responsibilities, for example during your child’s school hours
13 and above You will normally be expected to look for full time work

If your child has exceptional care needs this will be reflected in your Commitment. 

Payments

Universal Credit is normally paid twice a month to a household and you will need to budget for this. However, you may request a monthly payment. A household can be a single person, a couple or a family.

Your circumstances change

If you get Universal Credit and your circumstances change, you must report this change through your online account:

Changes can include:

  • finding or finishing a job
  • having or caring for a child
  • a change to your address
  • a change to your bank details
  • your rent going up or down
  • becoming too ill to work or meet your Work Coach

Your Universal Credit may be stopped or reduced if you don’t report changes in your circumstances straight away.

You don’t need to report any changes to your earned income or other benefits. 

You will still need to report changes in other income, including:

  • private/occupational pension
  • Mortgage Payment Protection policy income
  • income from annuities
  • self-employed income 

Your work coach

As part of your claim you will need to accept your ‘Commitment’. You will create and agree this with your Work Coach.

Your Commitment will set out the tasks you have agreed to do to prepare for work, look for work or increase your earnings. This may include:

  • going to interviews in your local Jobs & Benefits office
  • preparing a CV
  • going on a training course or employment programme
  • applying for jobs
  • registering with a recruitment agency

The tasks you agree to will depend on things such as your health, your responsibilities at home and how much help you need to get to work or to increase your income. Your Commitment will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.

Make a claim to Universal Credit

If you have not yet created a Universal Credit account you can create an account at: 

SMS messages

When claiming Universal Credit you may receive text messages (SMS) from the Department for Communities (DfC). They will always be clearly marked as DfC and will never ask you to give, or click a link to give, personal information or financial details by message or email.

If you’re concerned or unsure about any text messages (SMS) you receive from about Universal Credit you should contact your local Jobs and Benefits office directly. If you suspect you have received a fraudulent message as a scam, please contact your local Jobs and Benefits office immediately.

  • Further information is available at: scamwiseni

Help and Support

If you would like independent help and advice on Universal Credit or any of the other welfare changes, you can visit any independent advice office or contact:

More useful links

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