I’ve lost my job, how do I apply for Universal Credit?

Extra support for employees

If you have worked as an employee in the past two to three years and paid National Insurance contributions then you may be able to also receive the “new style” jobseeker’s allowance.

You will need to be over 18 but under the state pension age, not be in full-time education, be available to work and not have an illness or disability that stops you from working. You will have to show you are actively looking for new work to keep receiving the payments. 

Those who are eligible can get a “new style” allowance for up to 182 days, which is about six months. Check if you’re eligible here: gov.uk/jobseekers-allowance.

You would usually need to book an interview with Jobcentre Plus to prove you have been looking for work however this will not be necessary during the coronavirus period.

Extra support for the self-employed 

If you’re self-employed and lose work to coronavirus you may be entitled to both Universal Credit and employment support allowance. To qualify you must have paid enough National Insurance contributions or credit in the last two to three years. 

You must be under the state pension age and have a health condition that affects you much you can work. The full criteria are available on the Government’s website: gov.uk/employment-support-allowance.

The Government is also offering a grant scheme that will help some, but not all, people who work for themselves. They will also be able to delay tax payments and apply for loans. 

Long delays 

Those only just putting in a benefits claim now may find they have to wait weeks until their first pay cheque comes in. The usual processing time for a Universal Credit application is five weeks.

What jobs can I apply for?

For those who need to get back into work as soon as possible, the good news is that there are a lot of new jobs going. Businesses that are on the front line of the fight against coronavirus have posted tens of thousands of job listings online. 

The key jobs that are in demand currently include delivery drivers, nurses, teachers and cleaners.