How to claim universal credit

Universal credit can help with rent

You can claim universal credit for help with rent and other living costs.

You can usually get universal credit if you or a partner you live with:

  • are working age

  • meet the immigration and residence conditions

  • have a low household income or no money coming in at all

You apply online.

You have an appointment with the jobcentre to complete your claim. This could be by phone or videocall. Some jobcentres are asking people to come in for face to face appointments.

You have to wait at least 5 weeks before you get any money unless you ask for an advance.

A universal credit advance is paid back through deductions from future monthly payments.

If you already get housing benefit

Universal credit has replaced housing benefit for most working age people.

You can continue to get housing benefit if you already claim it. Some changes in your situation mean you have to claim universal credit instead.

Our adviser Kate explains when a change in your situation means you have to switch to universal credit from other benefits. Video length: 58 seconds

Not sure if you should switch?

If you apply for universal credit, your housing benefit and any tax credits you get will stop.

You will get 2 extra weeks of housing benefit that you won't have to pay back.

You will probably have to meet more conditions to get your benefit. Some people get less money on universal credit. Not everyone who qualifies for tax credits qualifies for universal credit.

It's best to speak to an adviser before you apply for universal credit if you get housing benefit or tax credits.

Contact a Help to Claim adviser at Citizens Advice

Call 0800 144 8 444 or use their online chat service.

Last updated: 4 October 2021

If you need to talk to someone, we'll do our best to help

Get help