How to apply for Universal Credit

Get prepared

There are a few things you’ll need to have ready before you can apply.

  • The application form for Universal Credit is online – so you’ll need good, regular internet access, a mobile phone and an email address.
  • You’ll also need a bank account – or a building society or credit union account.
  • If you're living as a couple, both of you will need to apply for Universal Credit and your claims will be linked together using a linking code.

If you can’t apply online or think you will find it difficult to open a bank account, please call the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644

Documents (have them ready)

You’ll need the following documents and information to hand while you’re applying for Universal Credit online.

  • Bank account details
  • Email address
  • National insurance number
  • Housing information – like how much your rent and service charges are, and if you have any rent clear weeks (even if you receive Housing Benefit)
  • Income information – like payslips
  • Saving and investment information – like shares
  • Any childcare costs – like how much you pay
  • ID (passport, driving licence, debit or credit card)
  • A fit note (if you are on sick leave)

If you can't find any documentation and want some advice, please call the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644

Apply online

If you’ve completed the previous two steps then you’re ready to apply. It’s best to set aside about 30 minutes to an hour of uninterrupted time.

  • You’ll be asked to set up an account but this doesn’t take long and means you’ll be able to save your form and come back to it if you need to
  • If you’re inactive for 30 minutes you’ll be logged out automatically and will need to log in again
  • It’s best to save your form frequently, otherwise you may lose information if you move away from your computer
  • Keep your log-in details safe as you'll need them each time you log in

Usually, once you’ve finished the online application, you must attend the interview as instructed by the job centre via your online journal – or you’ll have to start the application again. You don't need to call the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to arrange an appointment and you shouldn't attend the jobcentre unless they ask you to. If they need to check any information they will call you. Visit the Government webpage for more information Opens in new window.

If you can't apply online or will find this difficult, please call the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644.

You can also get support and information from Citizens Advice Opens in new window.