The rules the government has put in place to prevent coronavirus from spreading have meant that a lot of businesses have had to close.
This has meant a lot of people have lost their income and have needed to make new claims for Universal Credit.
Here are some handy tips to help you get your Universal Credit claim in and if you need any help or support, please get in touch and let us know.
Universal Credit application process
What do I need to claim Universal Credit?
Everyone who claims Universal Credit will need:
Access to the internet
At least two forms of identification
Proof of your tenancy and current rent
Depending on your circumstances, you may also need to provide:
Two months’ worth of payslips
Proof of childcare costs
‘Fit note’ from GP stating you are unable to work
Proof of your immigration/residency status
Completing the online claim form
Step 1 - The online claim
There aren’t any changes to this stage of the process.
This usually takes people about 45 minutes to complete. It’s a good idea to have all of the information you need ready before starting the claim, but don’t worry; you can save your claim and come back to it later if you need to.
Verifying your identity
There are two ways to do this, either:
Using an online service, or
By having a telephone interview with staff from the DWP.
It is best to try to use the online service if you can. There are queues within this system. However, if you are able to sit the queue out, it frees up the phone lines for vulnerable people who can’t use online services.
If you can’t use the online services or if the online service can’t verify you, go back into your account and select ‘I can’t do this online’. This will take you to a page which lets you know that a member of jobcentre staff will call you back.
It is taking a few days for the DWP to call people back but they do claim that they will get to every claimant. The calls usually come from a withheld number. If you want to check if it really is a member of DWP staff calling you, you can write a message on your journal while you are on the phone and ask the person who has called you to read the message out to you.
Once you have made your claim, it is possible someone from the DWP might need to call you to check some more details.
They will leave a message in your journal letting you know when to expect the call.
If you want to check if it really is a member of DWP staff calling you, you can write a message on your journal while you are on the phone and ask
You do not need to go to a initial appointment at the moment because of coronavirus (COVID-19). The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will contact you to let you know what you need to do instead.
Get an advance payment of Universal Credit
You can ask for an advance payment of Universal Credit to help you get by while you're waiting for your first payment. Without an advance payment you won’t get any money until at least 5 weeks after you apply for Universal Credit.
You should ask for an advance payment if you don’t think you’ll have enough money to live on between when you apply and when you get your first payment.
The advance payment is a loan - you’ll have to pay it back, but you won’t need to pay any interest.
Getting an advance payment
You can ask for an advance payment by:
apply online through your universal credit account
call the universal credit helpline on 0800 328 5644
The universal credit helpline is very busy due to the high number of claims since the coronavirus outbreak. It may be easier to apply online if you can.
How can I pay my rent?
If you need information on how to pay your rent, you can contact the Customer Accounts team on 01403 220440 Option 1 then option 2. Lines are open Mon-Fri 10am-4pm
Help with your application?
If you’re unsure about or having difficulty with any part of the claims process, the Community Investment team are here to offer advice and support. You can call us on 0300 020 0549 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and speak to one of the team today!