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 is replacing housing benefit for most working age people.

You can continue to get housing benefit unless:

  • you choose to claim universal credit instead

  • a change in circumstances means your housing benefit ends

  • you are moved onto universal credit in the future

Find out more about moving from housing benefit to universal credit.

Choosing to switch to universal credit

Some people will be better off on universal credit.

It depends on your situation and if other benefits you get have stopped or will stop.

You may have to meet more conditions to get universal credit. The amount you get might go up or down. Not everyone who qualifies for tax credits can get universal credit.

Speak to an adviser before you apply.

Contact a Help to Claim adviser at Citizens Advice

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

You can also check how much you could get on universal credit with a benefits calculator.

Last updated: 10 April 2022

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