What to do after you have claimed Universal Credit
To make sure there are no delays in assessing your claim, there are some things you need to do as soon as possible.
Confirm your identity
When you claim Universal Credit you will be asked to verify (prove) your identity. You can do this online at GOV.UK Verify or you can phone the Universal Credit Service Centre to make an appointment at your local Jobs & Benefits office. You will be told what documents you need to bring to confirm your identity.
Jobs and Benefits offices are closed for normal face to face services. Business is being done by phone or through the Universal Credit journal.
A small number of face to face appointments are taking place for customers who need extra support or if Universal Credit need to see you about your claim.
If you are unable to use our telephony or digital services we can arrange an urgent appointment in your local Jobs & Benefits office. To arrange an appointment contact the Universal Credit Service Centre.
For the safety of customers and staff appointments are limited. You will be asked to wear a face covering and follow the safety measures in place.
If you’re asked to come in to your local office for an appointment it is important that you turn up.
Repeated failure to go to a face to face appointment or to make yourself available for a telephone appointment may affect your payments.
Agree your Commitment
To get Universal Credit you will need to agree your commitment through your online account. Your commitment sets out what you need to do to prepare for work, look for work or increase your earnings.
The actions set out in your commitment will depend on things like your health, your responsibilities at home and how much help you need to start working or increase your income.
You will regularly discuss and update your commitment with your work coach and you will need to agree the commitment each time to keep getting Universal Credit.
Your work coach will contact you by telephone to discuss what activities you can do to help you move into employment and to offer support.
You will be given notice of your telephone appointment on your journal. It is important Universal Credit have this conversation with you as part of your application process.
Information needed in the first month of your claim
In the first month of your claim you need to provide:
- details of your childcare costs and childcare provider
- a fit note from your doctor, if you are ill, and
- details of your rent, if you rent from a private landlord. (If you rent from a social landlord, for example Northern Ireland Health Executive (NIHE) or a housing association, Universal Credit will get these details directly from them.)
You will be told through your online account if any more information is needed.
Report changes in your circumstances
You need to tell Universal Credit about any changes in your circumstances, or your payments may stop or be reduced. Changes that you need to report include change of name, change of address and change of bank account details. For more examples, see changes you need to report.
You can report changes:
- using your Universal Credit online account Messages to your online account will be answered as soon as possible during business hours.
- by speaking to your Work Coach at your local Jobs & Benefits office, or
- by phoning the Universal Credit Service Centre.
You must tell Universal Credit the date the change happened and provide as much information as possible about the change.
Help until you get your Universal Credit payment
You can get help if you do not have enough money to live on. Contact the Universal Credit Service Centre through your Universal Credit online account, or speak to your work coach at your local Jobs & Benefits office.
There are a few ways to get help while you are waiting on your first Universal Credit payment.
Universal Credit Contingency Fund payment
A Universal Credit Contingency Fund payment is Extra Financial Support which may be available if you do not have enough money to live on until you get full payment of your first Universal Credit award and need additional financial support. You will not have to pay this back.
You can get further information on a Universal Credit Contingency Fund payment or you can contact your work coach at your local Jobs & Benefits office.
Universal Credit Advance or Budgeting Advance
A Universal Credit Advance or Budgeting Advance may be available to help with your living costs or to help pay emergency household costs until you receive your Universal Credit payment. You will have to pay this back from your Universal Credit payments over several months.
Discretionary Support payment
Discretionary Support is short term financial support paid into your bank account as either an interest-free loan or a grant which you do not have to pay back.