Applying for Universal Credit is not always easy. We need to be prepared, and ready to face a few setbacks
Universal Credit is designed to make benefit payments more like the way wages are paid. So the biggest challenge we’ll face as we’re moved to UC is that we’ll have to go several weeks without any money before suddenly getting a large amount. Some claimants have had to wait twelve weeks. The only way to manage this is to be prepared.
Since the government did away with the seven-day waiting period before we can make a claim, now all we need to do is arrange an appointment to see Jobcentre Plus. The appointment will usually be about a week later, and assuming that goes well we’ll get our first Universal Credit payment four weeks after that. That payment will only be for one month’s money. Then on the same day in every calendar month after that we’ll get a whole month’s payment.
Your Jobcentre Plus may currently have a ‘Live’ or ‘Full’ Universal Credit service. The ‘Live’ service only affects single people with straightforward claims and is managed by phone. In areas with the ‘Full’ service, all new benefit claims or where the situation has changed (eg, new home or child) will be or become UC (unless you have more than two children) and is managed online.
THE INFORMATION WE NEED TO MAKE A CLAIM
We need to provide loads of details before we can complete our claim, so try to have the following information to hand at the start. Having to go away and check will only delay the set up and, in the end, our first payment. For couples who claim, both partners need the same information.
- Proof of I.D. (eg Passport, driving licence or EAA ID card)
- National Insurance Number
- Our email address • Our phone number • Our address
- Our landlord’s address
- How much rent we pay (proof may be required, such as a
tenancy agreement or recent rent statement)
- Our bank details
- Details of any savings we have
- Full details of our salary or any other income (including
- If we have children
- Their details, Child Benefit number
- Childcare Provider’s address and registration number
THE JOBCENTRE APPOINTMENT
Your first claim appointment is an interview with your ‘Work Coach’, your key contact from now on. Here you will have to sign a ‘claimant commitment’ that outlines what you are expected to do to find a job if you’re unemployed or better paid work if you only earn a little. It is vital you explain everything holding you back.
If you agree to more than you can do and don’t keep to the commitment, you may be sanctioned. You can ask to change your Work Coach.
Importantly, most sanctions have been overturned on appeal so if you are sanctioned contact an advice agency straight away.