I lost my job, how can I apply for universal credit?
Additional support for employees
If you have worked as an employee for the past two or three years and have paid national insurance contributions, you may also be eligible for the “new style” jobseeker’s allowance.
You must be over 18 but not have reached the legal retirement age, not be in full-time schooling, be available for work and not suffer from an illness or disability that prevents you from working . You will need to show that you are actively looking for a new job to continue receiving payments.
Eligible persons can receive a “new style” allowance for up to 182 days, or approximately six months. Check if you are eligible here: gov.uk/jobseekers-allowance.
You will usually need to book an interview with Jobcentre Plus to prove that you are looking for work, but this will not be necessary during the coronavirus period.
Additional support for the self-employed
If you are self-employed and lose your job due to the coronavirus, you may be entitled to both universal credit and employment support allowance. To be eligible, you must have paid sufficient contributions or national insurance credit within the past two or three years.
You must be under the legal retirement age and have a health problem that affects you a lot in order to be able to work. The full criteria are available on the government website: gov.uk/employment-support-allowance.
The government also offers a grant program that will help some, but not all, people who work for themselves. They will also be able to delay paying taxes and apply for loans.
Those who have just applied for benefits may have to wait weeks for their first paycheck to arrive. 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 to work as soon as possible, the good news is that there are plenty of new jobs out there. Companies that are on the front lines of the fight against the coronavirus have posted tens of thousands of job offers online.
The main jobs in demand currently include delivery drivers, nurses, teachers and cleaners.