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Getting ready to claim Universal Credit

Before you make a claim for Universal Credit there are a few things that you'll need to have prepared. If you know that Universal Credit is coming to your area soon, it's a good idea to start getting everything ready to avoid your claim being delayed.

Valid proof of your identity

To claim Universal Credit you'll ideally need to provide ID, for example an in-date passport, driving licence or European Economic Area national identity card and evidence of your address. The 'Universal Credit − evidence check list' attached to this page has further information on acceptable ID.

If you do not have any photo ID you'll have to go into the jobcentre to have an ID appointment. They'll ask you security questions and use other evidence, such as a combination of non-photo ID to verify who you are. Once you've made the first part of your claim for Universal Credit, someone from your local job centre will contact you. At this point you'll need to tell them you haven't got any photo ID so they can arrange an ID appointment with you.

Birth certificates

To get photo ID you'll need a copy of your birth certificate. You're also likely to need a copy if you need to open a bank account and you don't have photo ID.

If you haven't got a copy, it's possible to order a copy of your birth certificate online. If your birth was registered at a Derbyshire register office, you can contact the relevant office to arrange to buy a replacement copy.

An account for Universal Credit to be paid into

Before you can claim Universal Credit, you'll need an account to receive payment. It can be a bank or building society account or an account with a Derbyshire community bank.

If you have not already got an account, the Money Advice Service has information about the types of accounts available for receiving benefit payments. They've also produced a short video about opening an account.

If you've got a poor credit rating you may wish to find out about opening a basic bank account or a Derbyshire community bank account.

If you're still unsure, seek advice.

Getting ready to make an online claim for Universal Credit

The government intends that all claims be made and managed online. There are no paper claim forms, and you'll only be allowed to claim by phone in exceptional circumstances.

If you struggle to access or use the internet, you may be able to get practical help to make an online claim.

Before you apply for Universal Credit online it's important to have the information you need ready before you start.

email address

You'll need an email address to make a claim for Universal Credit. If you've already got an email address check you can access it before you start.

If you need to create an email account, the 'help to make a free email account' factsheet attached to this page will help you.


You'll need to get the necessary paperwork together before you start to make your online claim.

If you're making a joint claim with your partner, they'll also need the following documents and information:

  • proof of your postcode and address - official letter from a bank or energy company
  • ID for you and your partner - if you don't have ID and you haven't informed the job centre, it may delay your claim as they might reschedule the interview while they carry out checks to confirm your identity
  • your National Insurance number (and your partner's if you're making a joint claim) - you can find this on a payslip, a letter from HMRC or DWP or call the National Insurance numbers helpline tel: 0300 200 3502
  • proof of your bank, building society or credit union account - for example, a bank statement or bank card - ask your bank for a copy of a statement if you don't have one (you might have to pay for an extra copy)
  • your rent agreement, monthly rent and landlords contact details and address - you should have a tenancy agreement and rent statement with this information- if you can't find it ask your landlord for a copy
  • details of your savings or other capital - your bank and financial statements
  • details of any income or benefits that you get - find it on payslips, letters from DWP or your bank statement
  • a P45 if you've left work
  • if your claim includes children, you'll need their details including their Child Benefit Reference number (if they have one) − you can find this on letters from the Child Benefit Office and it will start with 'CHB' and is made up of 8 numbers and 2 letters, for example, CHB12345678 AB - phone the Child Benefit Office tel: 0300 200 3100 if you need help
  • if you currently pay for childcare you'll also need your childcare provider's details, including their registration number - you may be able to find this on a letter from your childcare provider or by asking them to provide it for you

Paper documents you'll need for your first Universal Credit interview

Once your online claim has been submitted and processed you'll receive an invitation for you (and your partner if you have one) to attend a meeting at the job centre. The invitation could be by phone call, text, email or letter depending on the contact type you asked for on your original claim form − so make sure you look you out for it.

You'll have to take copies of the documents listed to prove the details in your online application are correct. These will be photocopied and given back to you.

If you have not got all of the evidence documents you need you should make a list of the evidence that is missing and ensure that you send this in as quickly as possible. Your claim will not proceed until all the evidence has been provided. You need to get any missing documents in within one month of your interview. You should keep a careful record of what you have taken in.

Further advice on making a claim

If you feel you need practical support to help to make an online claim, find out what help is available in your area.