Hello and welcome to my second Universal Credit blog. Following on from the last topic Should I claim? I wanted to use this month's blog to focus on the claiming process itself.
To do this, I’ve created a step-by-step guide on how to make a new claim, so that you can start the process with a strong understanding of what to expect and can begin your claim with confidence.
Step 1: Be prepared
There are a few things you will need to have, before you start your claim. These are:
- Access to the internet
- A mobile phone
- An email address
- A bank account
There are also some documents that you will need later on in the claiming process. Click here for a full checklist of what you’ll need.
Step 2: Create an account on Gov.uk
By creating an account, you will be able to apply for Universal Credit and maintain contact with the DWP. You’ll also use your account to report any changes to your circumstances, and receive alerts for any actions you need to take.
To create your UC account, click here.
Step 3: Make a claim
To make your claim, you will need to answer a number of questions. These questions will be on your “to-do list” and will be about your:
- bank account
- housing situation and who lives with you
- children and anyone you care for
- work situation
- income and any savings you have
- education and training
It is really important that you answer all the questions correctly - if you put in the wrong details, there could be a delay to your payment, or you may be paid the wrong amount. If you’re paid too much, you’ll have to pay it back.
You don’t have to answer all the questions in one go; you can save your progress and return to it later on. However, all questions need to be answered before your claim can progress, so I would advise completing it as soon as you can.
Step 4: Confirm your identity
There are two ways you can do this; online, using Verify, or by making an appointment with your local Job Centre.
You will need some supporting documents to prove your identity. Click here to see what you’ll need.
Step 5: Make an appointment with the job centre (and stick to it!)
Once you’ve submitted your claim, you will need to make an appointment with your local job centre. You should do this within 7 days of completing your online application, to prevent your claim from being delayed or closed.
The purpose of this appointment is for you to sign your ‘claimant commitment’ – an outline of what you agree to do in exchange for Universal Credit. Normally, your claimant commitment will outline how much time you will agree to spend in, or looking for, work, although the specifics of the commitment will depend on your personal circumstances.
If you were unable to prove your identity online, you can use this appointment with the job centre to do so.
If you can’t attend the interview, you should let the job centre know as soon as you can and agree on another date. If you don’t call in advance, your claim could be closed, meaning you’ll have to start the process again.
Get in touch
I hope this guide has given you a clearer idea of the claiming process. Remember, I can help you with any of these steps.
Please be advised that I am now on Annual Leave until the 16th July, but I will happily respond to your enquiries on my return. In the meantime, please send your UC queries and questions to me by clicking here.
I look forward to hearing from you.