Apply for Universal Credit
You're usually expected to apply for Universal Credit online, but you can apply over the phone or in person if you need to.
You should check if you’re eligible if you're unsure whether or not you can apply for Universal Credit.
Check you have everything you need to apply
Before you apply for Universal Credit, you’ll need to gather some information together. This will help make sure you only have to do the application once, and help you to get Universal Credit as quickly as possible if you’re eligible.
You'll need the following details for you and your partner:
- your postcode
- your NI number - you can find this on a payslip or letter from HMRC - call the helpline on 0300 200 3500 (textphone 0300 200 3519) if you can’t find it
- details of your bank, building society, credit union or Post Office card account (if you don’t have one of these, you'll need to open an account or use simple payment)
- the type of accommodation you have, eg private rent, council tenant, or housing association tenant - make sure you check this before you apply
- how much rent you pay - this can be found on your rent agreement, ask your landlord for a copy if you don’t have one
- your landlord’s address - this can be found on your rent agreement, ask your landlord for a copy if you don’t have one
- your landlord's phone number
- details of any savings you have and any other ‘capital’ investments, eg shares or property that you don’t live in
- details of any income that’s not from work, eg from a pension or insurance plan
- details of how much you earn from work, eg recent payslips
- how much you pay for childcare (if you want to claim for childcare costs)
- details of any other benefits you’re getting, ie what benefit and how much you get
- child benefit reference numbers for any children you have if you get child benefit - this can be found on letters to you about child benefit, it will start with 'CHB' and is made up of 8 numbers and 2 letters, eg CHB12345678 AB - phone the Child Benefit Office on 0300 200 3100 (textphone 0300 200 3103) if you need help
You’ll need evidence for all these details for when you go to your interview, so you’ll need to gather all the documents together, eg landlord agreement (or a letter from them with your rent amount on it), payslips, bank statements etc.
Print this checklist
Where to get help with an online application
If you don’t have a computer at home, you can try accessing one free of charge at:
- your local council
Not all locations will have computers - it's a good idea to call to check.
You could also ask a friend or relative if you can use their computer.
If you still can’t find a public place to use a computer, ask your nearest Jobcentre - they should be able to point you in the right direction.
At these centres you may also be able to get someone to sit with you and help you through your application. Not all centres will be able to provide this kind of support though, so you should call them to check.
Apply by phone or in person
You’ll usually need a reason for not being able to apply online, eg you can’t use a computer, or you have problems with reading or writing.
Contact the Universal Credit helpline if you need to apply by phone or in person.
The application can take up to 40 minutes on the phone. Ask the person on the helpline to call you back so you don't have to pay for a long call.
Tell the helpline if an application will be difficult for you because of an illness or disability. You can ask for something to be changed to make it easier - this is called a ‘reasonable adjustment’. Eg you can ask for a British Sign Language interpreter, or for your interview to be at a place where you can travel to easily.
Universal Credit helpline
Telephone: 0800 328 5644
Open Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm
Calls to this number are free.
If your application is unsuccessful
You’ll get a letter if your application is unsuccessful. You can:
- appeal the decision if you think it’s wrong - your nearest Citizens Advice can help with this
- find out if you’re eligible for any other benefits - the entitledto benefits calculator can help with this, or you can contact your nearest Citizens Advice for help
Even if your application is successful, you should check if you’re eligible for any other benefits. You might also be eligible for Council Tax Reduction.