It's important to know how to apply for Universal Credit to get financial help if you've seen a reduction in your income or have recently become unemployed. Although the process of applying is very similar to what it has been, there are a couple of important changes that should make it easier to apply during the Covid-19 pandemic.
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Am I eligible to apply for Universal Credit?
You are eligible to apply for Universal Credit if you are on low earnings or have lost your job and are struggling to pay your bills and housing costs. You must be over 18 to apply and be under State Pension age – although, if you're in a couple, only one of you needs to be under State Pension age. Between two people, you must have less than £16,000 in savings.
Bear in mind that if you've been 'furloughed' by your employer rather than let go, you should get 80 per cent of your salary from your employer and don't need to apply for Universal Credit.
How to apply for Universal Credit
You will need to apply online at Gov.uk (opens in new tab). In order to apply, you'll need an email address, your bank details, and details about your housing (e.g. rent), your income and savings, and any additional financial responsibilities you may have, such as childcare. You'll also need proof of identity such as a passport or driver's license. This used to be followed by a mandatory telephone interview, but due to huge current demand, phone interviews have been suspended and you will be contacted by email.
How long will my application take to get processed?
You are able to apply for an advance to get funds within five days of applying: however, as it's an advance and not your first payment, it will have to be repaid by being deducted from future payments. The normal processing times for Universal Credit are three to five days.
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