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Universal Credit - what you need to know

Universal Credit is completely different to other benefits, from how you claim to how it is paid. This page lists what you need to know and what you have to have in place before you can make a claim.

Claiming Universal Credit

You can only apply for Universal Credit online through There are no paper versions of the form available. Before you apply, you need:

  • access to the internet
  • your own bank account
  • your own email account
  • your own mobile phone number

If you are not able to complete the online form, or do not have access to the internet, see help to claim Universal Credit to find out where you can get help, or where you can access a computer.

If you get help to pay your rent

When you receive Universal Credit, it is your responsibility to pay your rent, rather than having it paid directly to your landlord or social housing provider.

The best way to do this is to set up a direct debit from your bank account. If you have any concerns, contact your landlord directly or discuss alternative payment arrangements with Job Centre Plus.

Universal Credit payments

You need an account for Universal Credit to be paid into. The best type of account depends on how you wish to use it - if you want to ensure your rent is paid and you have access to your money at any time of the day but don't want to risk going overdrawn, then it may be best to have a basic bank account. However Universal Credit can be paid into different types of accounts.

For more information, visit Money Advice Service - choosing a bank account for your Universal Credit payments.

Your first Universal Credit Payment

Universal Credit is paid monthly in arrears, it normally takes more than six weeks after you make your claim to get your first payment. Make your claim as soon as you are entitled to do so.

If you pay rent or have a mortgage and you think a payment will be late because you're waiting to be paid, talk to your landlord or mortgage lender and explain.

After your first Universal Credit payment, you'll be paid monthly.

Managing your money

Receiving a single monthly payment may change how you manage your money. For more advice on managing your money, visit Money Advice Service - how to budget for a monthly benefit payment.

Get help to apply

Add your postcode into the box below, to see a list of places where you can access a computer to go online, and also where you can go for additional help if you need it to apply for Universal Credit.

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