People living on Universal Credit & other financial support Who can claim Universal Credit? How to make a Universal Credit claim How long will the first payment take to be paid to the claimant? What other benefits can a person claim at the same time as Universal Credit? Is the claimant receiving the correct amount for Univeral Credit? Does a Universal Credit claimant have to look for work? Are there extra reviews of Universal Credit claims? Who can claim Universal Credit? The Law Centre helpline can help people to understand if they are receiving the right benefits. Universal Credit is a means-tested benefit whereby savings and income are considered when deciding eligibility. A person must be 18 or over in most cases (although there are exceptions for some 16 or 17 year olds). There are additional rules if a person is not from the UK. Anyone who has little or no income, whether unemployed, employed or self-employed, may qualify for Universal Credit.Universal Credit is a benefit designed to provide a minimum amount of money for day-to-day living. The claimant will receive a standard amount depending on their age and whether they have a partner.On top of the standard allowance they may be entitled to additional allowances including: Child Elements Childcare Costs Element, Limited capability for work related activity (LCWRA) Carer Element Housing Costs Element It can be difficult to understand what a person's benefit is made up of – encouraging them to log into their Universal Credit account can help you to support them in identifying missed entitlements. How to make a Universal Credit claim If eligible a person can claim Universal Credit online on the gov.uk website. An email address and contact phone number are essential for a claimant. In exceptional circumstances a claimant may be able to make a claim over the phone. How long will the first payment take to be paid to the claimant? A claimant will have to wait five weeks for a payment after applying for Universal Credit unless they request an advance payment. If the claimant is likely to struggle with everyday costs it will be worth requesting an advance payment. However, the advance payment is treated as a loan and will need to be paid back. What other benefits can a person claim at the same time as Universal Credit? There are a range of other benefits that can be claimed at the same time as Universal Credit. These include: new style Job Seekers Allowance, new style employment and support allowance , carer's allowance and maternity allowance. For every £1 you have coming in from these £1 will be deducted from your Universal Credit. Not everyone has transferred over to Universal Credit and may still be on legacy benefits e.g. child tax credit, income support, working tax credit, income related JSA, income related ESA and housing benefit. People in these circumstances need special support to consider moving to Universal Credit. NOTE: If the person receives other legacy benefits already, for example Housing Benefit (to help them with their rent), a new claim for Universal Credit will result in their Housing Benefit stopping. Refer them to the Rights in the Community helpline for advice. Is the claimant receiving the correct amount for Universal Credit? People living on Universal Credit may be mistakenly missing specific elements that can cause them hardship, they may be subject to sanctions or deductions and they may be experiencing ill health or disability or looking after someone experiencing this. Exploring the person's Universal Credit account and particular circumstances as soon as possible can help them to challenge these circumstances. People experiencing these circumstances are often living in financial hardship and should be considered for emergency food and fuel, crisis money and you should check they are receiving free school meals if they have a family. Does a Universal Credit claimant have to look for work? There are some groups of people who can have claimant commitments which state that they do not need to take any action other than keeping DWP informed of changes of circumstances. These claimants cannot be sanctioned. DWP staff have considerable discretion around conditionality and can make individual decisions around exemptions based on individual circumstances, therefore it is important to keep them informed if the situation changes. Are there extra reviews of Universal Credit claims? DWP is now starting to review awards of Universal Credit made at the start of the pandemic when they suspended some of the usual checks that would be made to ensure claims were paid promptly. DWP will be contacting people to ask for evidence to support their applications. Claimants should make sure that the contact information held by DWP is correct and up to date. This may mean reviewing the contact details in their Universal Credit Journal or if it is a telephone claim making sure the office have their correct details. Claimants will also need to respond promptly to any calls or emails from DWP. If there are delays there is a risk that DWP will suspend their payments or reduce the amounts that are paid.