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How to claim universal credit

Help with rent

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

  • are working age

  • have a low household income or no money coming in

You must meet immigration conditions.

If you need money right now

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 out of future UC payments.

If you already get housing benefit

You can stay on housing benefit unless:

  • you decide to claim UC

  • the DWP says you are being moved onto UC

  • a change in your circumstances, like moving house, means your housing benefit ends

The DWP want to move most working age people onto UC by April 2025.

If you get income related ESA it might happen later.

Your housing benefit usually stops if you claim UC.

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

Choosing to switch to UC

Some people are better off on UC.

It depends on your situation and which benefits you get.

Be aware that:

  • the amount you get might go up or down

  • not everyone who qualifies for tax credits can get UC

  • you may have to meet more conditions to get UC – such as looking for work or going to the jobcentre more often

Talk to a Help to Claim adviser at Citizens Advice before you apply.

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

You can check how much you could get with a benefits calculator.

Last updated: 5 April 2023

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