If your Universal Credit ends for a short period, for example because you take up temporary work, and you then need to reclaim Universal Credit within six months of your previous claim ending, you will be able to use your existing online account.
We will tell you about the reclaim period through your online journal when your claim is closed, and that you must make a claim within seven days of your job ending, if you return to Universal Credit.
A reclaim will allow you to keep your previous Universal Credit assessment period and payment dates, as long as you continue to meet the basic conditions of entitlement.
What you need to do
You can reclaim Universal Credit within six assessment periods of your claim closing without having to make a full claim. However, if you have had a change of circumstances, where a new partner joins your household, you will be required to declare this and verify your information.
If you qualify for a reclaim when you return to Universal Credit, you will:
- have to actively make a reclaim through your existing Universal Credit online account
- only need to tell Universal Credit about anything that has changed since your last claim, as the Department already holds details from your previous claim
- have to agree a ‘Commitment’
- not have to attend an Initial Evidence Interview
Reclaiming means you will:
- retain your previous Universal Credit assessment period and payment dates
- receive a payment of Universal Credit for the whole of the assessment period in which you made the Universal Credit reclaim (for exceptions see ‘Claim made outside seven days’ below)
Reclaims from couples
If you meet the reclaims criteria and then form a couple with an existing Universal Credit claimant and requalify for Universal Credit, you can make a reclaim. Your claim will then be linked to your new partner’s claim to form a joint claim.
Your new partner will also need to report that their circumstances have changed.
You can make a reclaim even if your partner doesn’t meet the basic entitlement conditions at the start of the assessment period, but both of you meet the conditions at the end of their assessment period.
For example, if you formed a couple with a 17 year old who turned 18 during the first assessment period, you would be able to claim as a couple for the whole assessment period.
Previous Universal Credit claimants who have separated from their partner since they were last entitled to Universal Credit will also be able to reclaim as a single person, as long as they are entitled to Universal Credit.
Claim made within seven days of job ending
When you make a reclaim for Universal Credit within seven calendar days of your job ending, you will be paid for the whole assessment period during which you made your reclaim.
If you receive earnings within the first assessment period of your reclaim, for example final wages, these will be taken into account when calculating your Universal Credit payment. If the earnings result in a nil award of Universal Credit at the end of the assessment period, the claim will be closed and you will need to make another reclaim, if eligible.
The seven day limit only applies to the job that you have left immediately prior to making the Universal Credit claim.
Claim made outside seven days of job ending
A reclaim to Universal Credit should be made within seven calendar days of your job ending.
If you do not submit a claim within seven calendar days of your job ending and you cannot give a good reason for the delay in claiming, you will not receive a payment of Universal Credit for the whole assessment period in which you made the new Universal Credit claim.
You will receive a payment of Universal Credit only from the date you made the Universal Credit claim up to the end of that assessment period. This is known as apportionment.
If the payment of Universal Credit is apportioned:
- any sanctions (you have) are applied to the number of days in the assessment period you are paid for
- the Benefit Cap (if it applies to you) is applied to the whole of the assessment period
- any earnings or unearned income received during the assessment period will also be applied to the number of days in the assessment period you are paid for
Reclaims and advances
When you return to Universal Credit through the reclaim process you will be able to apply for a Universal Credit (new claim) advance.