Support and independent advice

If you want some help with your Universal Credit application or you’re concerned about managing your income until you receive your first Universal Credit payment, there are different types of support available.  

Help with making your application 

Help to Claim offers free, independent, confidential and impartial support over the phone to help people make a claim to Universal Credit, delivered by trained advisers from Citizens Advice. See the following contact information depending on where you live: 

  • Scotland (Citizens Advice Scotland) – 0800 023 2581 
  • Welsh language line – 0800 024 1220 

If you are in Northern Ireland, visit NI Direct.

You can also speak to a local benefits adviser through Advice Local for free and impartial help and guidance.

Support before your first payment

If you will find it difficult to manage financially before you get your first Universal Credit payment, you can ask for some of your Universal Credit payment in advance.  

The maximum amount of advance you can ask for will depend on how much you are estimated to receive in your first monthly payment.  

Don’t forget, your advance is repayable which means your future Universal Credit payments will be adjusted until the advance is fully paid back. You can check your online Universal Credit journal to find out more about how this works and how much your payments will be adjusted by.

Find out more about how you can ask for a Universal Credit advance

Change how you get your Universal Credit payment

If you’re finding it difficult to manage financially or you find yourself falling behind on your rent, you or your landlord can consider applying for an Alternative Payment Arrangement (APA). 

This changes how you receive your payment and it might be helpful depending on your situation. For example, you can: 

  • get your rent paid directly to your landlord 
  • get paid more frequently than once a month 
  • receive split payments, if you’re part of a couple 

Check your online Universal Credit journal to find out if these alternatives might work for you.

Get help and advice with MoneyHelper

If you are worrying about how to manage your bills during this change, then MoneyHelper’s Bill Prioritiser and other tools could help you. If you are already missing payments to people you owe money to, then you can access free and confidential help where you live from our debt advice locator.

More help from the government

You can find out about what other government support is available on the Help for Households website

Help if you’re in Scotland

If you’re in Scotland there are some additional choices available to you.  

Contact the Move to Universal Credit helpline

Call the phone number in your Universal Credit Migration Notice letter if you have a question about moving to Universal Credit or you’re unable to get online.