Mr Money shares his easy six-step guide to claiming Universal Credit – The Sun

COVID-19 has seen more than a million workers apply for Universal Credit for the first time – but there are problems.

Applicants face long waits to talk to benefits staff over the phone and technical problems with the online application process. So what is the credit and how do you get it?

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IF you are unemployed, off work sick or on a low income, you could be eligible for Universal Credit — a means-tested benefit to help cover basic living costs.

Anyone who has been furloughed, made redundant or had an income drop in the recent crisis, as well as the self-employed who have lost income, can all apply. Those on statutory sick pay if self-isolating with the virus can still apply for Universal Credit.


GET all your financial details then use a benefits calculator, such as on the Turn2Us website, to find out what you may be entitled to. You will need to know your earnings and rent or mortgage costs.

Savings of £16,000 or more make you ineligible. You can apply for only Jobseeker’s Allowance — £74.35 a week for over-25s, £58.90 for age 18 to 24 — and get no help with rent.


APPLICANTS file their claim online or via the Universal Credit helpline, proving ID with a passport or driving licence. Some have struggled to do this online, because they have changed address or some documents do not match up, then spent hours on hold.

But the Department for Work and Pensions is simplifying its ID system. It is also arranging callbacks for anyone unable to get through.


ONCE you are set up on the system, you are asked to enter details of any income yet to be paid, savings, income of others in the household — such as a spouse and/or any adult children — and housing costs like rent or mortgage, and council tax.

Citizens Advice offers a Help to Claim service. Normally this is provided in local branches — but in the current crisis you can phone in.


UNIVERSAL Credit claimants normally have to go to a Jobcentre within 30 days of applying, to have their details checked. Due to coronavirus, applicants were asked to call — but problems with getting through led to the Department for Work and Pensions ditching this, too.

Staff will instead call claimants or message them if they need to check over any information.


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UNIVERSAL Credit is paid monthly, in arrears, and there is a five-week wait for payments to start.

If you need the money immediately, you can ask for an interest-free advance loan to get you through the five-week waiting period.

But this has to be paid back within a year.

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