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Reapply for Universal Credit

This advice applies to England

If you've claimed Universal Credit before, you might not have to go through the full application process again - it depends on when you last claimed Universal Credit.

Before working out how to reapply, you should check if you’re still eligible for Universal Credit.

If the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have rejected your claim, you can ask them to change their decision.

If it's been less than 6 months since your last Universal Credit payment

You can use your previous Universal Credit account to reapply for Universal Credit. This will take less time than your first Universal Credit application did and you'll get your payments on the same dates as before. 

If you’ve recently left a job, you should reapply within 7 days of the job ending. This means you might get more in your first Universal Credit payment. 

Download things from your old account

Letters, documents and messages will normally be deleted from your Universal Credit online account when you make a new claim. It’s best to keep a record of what’s on your old account before reapplying. You could:

  • take screenshots

  • download documents

  • copy messages and paste them into a separate document

Log in to your old Universal Credit account on GOV.UK to start a new claim. 

If you can't get into your old account or didn't use one before, call the Universal Credit helpline to restart your claim.

Universal Credit helpline

Telephone: 0800 328 5644
Telephone (Welsh language): 0800 328 1744
Textphone: 0800 328 1344

Relay UK - if you can't hear or speak on the phone, you can type what you want to say: 18001 then 0800 328 5644

You can use Relay UK with an app or a textphone. There’s no extra charge to use it. Find out how to use Relay UK on the Relay UK website.

Video relay - if you use British Sign Language (BSL).

You can find out how to use video relay on YouTube.

Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Calls are free from mobiles and landlines.

If it's been more than 6 months since your last Universal Credit payment

You’ll need to start a new claim - you won’t be able to use your old account. Find out how to start a new claim.

Usually it’s best to apply for Universal Credit as soon as you can.

If you’ve left a job, you should wait until the day after you get your final wages or any holiday pay from work. If you get paid after you apply for Universal Credit, the money will count as income - this means you'll get less in your first Universal Credit payment.

You should apply as soon as you can if you’re only waiting for redundancy pay because it doesn’t count as income.

If you had a sanction when your claim ended

The sanction won't affect your payments if it ended while you weren't claiming Universal Credit.

Your payments will be reduced if you start getting Universal Credit again before the date your sanction was due to end. The sanction will finish on the same date it was originally due to end, and it will cut your payments by the same amount.

The DWP should have told you when your sanction would end - check you've been given the right sanction if you're not sure how long it should be.

Example

The DWP give you a 91-day sanction on 1 March. It’s due to finish on 31 May.

You stop claiming Universal Credit on 21 March because you get a job. The job only lasts 2 months, and finishes on 20 May. On 21 May you start claiming Universal Credit again.

Your previous sanction is still going, and will still finish on 31 May. This means the sanction reduces your May Universal Credit payment.

If you get a sanction after you stop claiming

Sometimes you might do something to get a sanction, but stop claiming Universal Credit before it affects you.

When you make a new claim, the DWP will work out how long that sanction would have lasted. It will run from the day before your previous claim ended. Your Universal Credit will be reduced if your new claim starts before the sanction finishes.

If you’re not sure if you’ll be affected, check what you can be sanctioned for.

It’s still worth restarting your Universal Credit claim even if you’re worried you might get a sanction. Your payments might be reduced, but you could still get something, depending on your income. You might also be able to challenge the sanction decision.

Example

You don’t apply for a job your work coach has asked you to apply for. This could get you a sanction. You end your Universal Claim on 9 April, before the DWP decide to sanction you.

On 20 July you claim Universal Credit again. The DWP look at your previous claim and decide the sanction would have lasted 91 days. The sanction will start on 8 April, the date you ended your previous claim. This means it finishes on 8 July.

Because you start your new claim on 20 July the sanction doesn’t affect you.

If you’d started your new claim on 1 July the sanction would have reduced your payment from 1 July to 8 July.

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