Do I have to be online?

CORONAVIRUS: During the Coronavirus outbreak there will be limited face-to-face help with making a claim for Universal Credit. The DWP have put extra staff on to the UC Helpline who will be able to help you make the claim if you are unable to do so. The Citizens Advice Help to Claim service is also available over the phone.

Do I have to be online to claim UC?

Most people will have an online Universal Credit account to manage their claim so you will need to be able to go online on a regular basis.

You will use your online account to:

  • Check your ‘to-do’ list for tasks that need completing.
  • Communicate with your work coach through an online journal.
  • View payments and how they have been calculated.
  • Record changes in circumstances.
  • Record your work search / preparation activities.
  • Ask questions about your claim vis your online journal.
  • Challenge decisions – by asking for a ‘Mandatory Reconsideration’.
  • Apply for Advance Payments.

Make sure you take any action you are asked to do – otherwise you could be sanctioned or your claim closed.

You can use any internet-enabled device such as a computer, laptop, tablet or smart phone.

If you don’t have one of these find out where you can access the internet in your area – this could be at a Library, Community Hub, JobCentre, Local Housing Office – ask us for a list.

Help is also available from the UC helpline and Citizen Advice Help to Claim service – see below for more details.

IMPORTANT: If you are going to struggle to manage an online claim, ask about an ‘offline’ telephone claim. The DWP will allow these in exceptional circumstances. You make and manage the claim over the telephone and can receive written notifications.

If you will have difficulties making and managing a claim online

You might be able to apply for Universal Credit over the phone or, in exceptional circumstances, arrange for someone to visit you at home.

You (or a friend or family member) will need to ring the Universal Credit helpline and explain your difficulties.

The DWP are more likely to offer you this service if you:

  • Don’t have regular access to the internet.

  • Aren’t confident using a computer or smartphone.

  • Have problems with your sight.

  • Have a long term physical disability or mental health condition which stops you from applying online.

  • Have a physical condition that stops you from using a computer or smartphone.

  • Can’t read or write.

It can take a while to get through to someone. When you do, tell the person you speak to why you can’t apply online. They’ll ask you some questions to check you’re eligible before going through the next steps of the application with you.

Universal Credit helpline

Telephone: 0800 328 5644

Textphone: 0800 328 1344

Telephone (Welsh language): 0800 012 1888

Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Calls to these numbers are free.

Citizens Advice Help to Claim phone service:

England: 0800 144 8 444
England textphone: 18001 0800 144 8 444

Wales: 08000 241 220
Wales textphone: 18001 08000 241 220

Scotland: 0800 023 2581

Calls to these numbers are free.

Advisers are available 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.

Call the Wales number if you’d like to speak to an Welsh language adviser.

If you need a British Sign Language interpreter, call the textphone number. An adviser can arrange for an interpreter to translate for you over a video call.