When can I apply for Universal Credit?

If you live in one of the areas where Universal Credit is in place (sometimes referred to as a “full service” area), you will currently be directed to apply for Universal Credit when you make a new claim for one of the benefits it’s replacing. You will also need to apply for Universal Credit if you have a change of circumstances which would’ve meant you would need to claim a new benefit under the old system.

There are various changes in circumstances that would trigger a claim for Universal Credit and these range from losing or gaining a job to having children or a change in caring responsibilities. You can find a more detailed list here.

It is very important that you continue to report any further changes in your circumstances as these could continue to have an impact on what you’re entitled to.

How do I apply?

The Government expects everyone to claim Universal Credit online via this webpage but it isn’t currently possible to save as you go so it’s best to have everything with you that you need before you start to fill it out.

You will need the following:

  • Your National Insurance Number
  • A breakdown of your rent charges (which you can get from your housing services office – contact details can be found here)
  • Details about your savings
  • Your bank account details
  • Information about who lives with you
  • Your landlord details, which are: Your Homes Newcastle, YHN House, Benton Park Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE7 7LX
  • This handy film from the DWP can take you through how to apply.

Delays with payments

Many people who have claimed Universal Credit have experienced delays with their payments, so we would always advise that you contact the Job Centre as soon as possible once you know you need to make a claim. There are strict rules about backdating Universal Credit, so it’s always best to claim as soon as you think you’re entitled.

When you make a claim for Universal Credit you must wait a month and one week before you receive your first payment, so it can take around six weeks before you get any money.

It is possible to receive some money in advance of this, but you would need to pay this back so reductions will be made to your Universal Credit payments once they come through until all of the advance has been repaid.