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Reapply for Universal Credit

This advice applies to Scotland

If you've claimed Universal Credit before, you might not have to go through the full application process again.

There are 2 types of Universal Credit - live service and full service. How you reapply depends on which type you got before. If you had an online account you had full service Universal Credit. If you're not sure which kind you got, check any documents you have or call the Universal Credit helpline:

Universal Credit helpline (live service)
Telephone: 0800 328 9344
Textphone: 0800 328 1344
Telephone (Welsh language): 0800 328 1744
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Calls to these numbers are free.

If you were on full service Universal Credit

If it's been more than 6 months since your last Universal Credit payment you'll need to make a new claim.

If it's 6 months or less since your last Universal Credit payment, log in to your Universal Credit account on GOV.UK to make a new claim. This takes less time than your initial Universal Credit application did, and you'll get your payments on the same dates as before.

Restart your claim as soon as you can to make sure you don't miss any payments. Try to restart your claim within 7 days if your job has ended - this will maximise the first payment of your new claim.

If you can't get into your account, or you didn't use an online account, call the helpline to restart your claim.

Universal Credit helpline (full service)
Telephone: 0800 328 5644
Textphone: 0800 328 1344
Telephone (Welsh language): 0800 012 1888
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Calls to this number are free.

If you lived in a live service area

What you can do depends on whether your area is still live service. Enter your postcode on our eligibility page to check.

If your area is now full service, you'll need to make a new claim for full service Universal Credit.

If your area is still live service you can go back to the old benefits system instead of claiming Universal Credit again. Call the Universal Credit helpline and ask them to close your claim - then check what other benefits you might be able to get.

You can choose to stay on Universal Credit if both of these apply:

  • it's been 6 months or less since your last Universal Credit payment
  • your Universal Credit payments stopped because you were earning enough to no longer be eligible

If you have this choice, it's worth contacting your nearest Citizens Advice to work out if you'd be better off staying on Universal Credit or returning to the old benefits system.

If you want to stay on Universal Credit, call the helpline and ask to restart your existing claim. You'll continue your old claim and get your payments on the same day of the month as before.

Check how a change affects your Universal Credit if you're reapplying because you were making a joint claim but have now split up with your partner.

If you've moved home since your claim ended

You should check if your new home is in a live service or full service area.

If your new home is in the same type of area as your old home, nothing changes.

If you've moved from a live service area to a full service area, you'll need to make a new claim under the full service rules.

If you've moved from a full service area to a live service area you can't claim Universal Credit - check what other benefits you might be able to get instead.

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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