Universal Credit application process just changed and it’s actually good news this time

The DWP has changed the rules for people applying for Universal Credit online, in an effort to make things simpler and quicker.

People with an existing Government Gateway account can now confirm their identity digitally.

The change comes as 600,000 people have signed up for the six-in-one benefit since April.

The DWP said the new service speeds up the application proces by letting people enter their details and find out almost instantly if their identity has been confirmed before moving on to the next stage in the application process.

Minister for Welfare Delivery Will Quince said:“Confirm Your Identity lets people set up a benefit claim without ever needing to leave their home – which is especially important during the ongoing pandemic.

“Claiming benefits shouldn’t be challenging and we continue to make improvements to the system to make the process as simple as possible.”

The DWP said it means you don’t need to leave your home to apply

Government Gateway accounts are used to access a range of services – such as managing tax credits or making Self Assessment tax returns.

You can sign up for one here.

To complete the process you’ll need two of a pay slip, P60, passport or other credit account details to hand – as well as your national insurance number.

It takes around 10 minutes to set up, and allows you to do things like get a state pension forecast, sign up for the marriage allowance, child benefit and more.

Universal credit payments take 5 weeks to arrive

The DWP said people in need should apply for Universal Credit as soon as possible, as it should take five weeks between claiming and your first payment.

Advances are available to those who need them, but will be charged back over subsequent payments.

The DWP was also keen to point out what else you qualify for after signing up to Universal Credit.

“Universal Credit also unlocks a wide range of extra support with essential bills, such as housing, travel and childcare costs,” Quince said.

“If you need help, our dedicated staff are available to make sure you are getting the right support, when you need it most.”

New claimants can also qualify for a Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card, which offers up to 50% off train and bus travel.

Other associated benefits include 85% of childcare costs – up to £646.35 a month for one child or £1,108.40 for two or more children – as well as discounts on council tax.

If you are unsure about anything relating to Universal Credit visit  understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk or call the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644.

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