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Universal credit journal: What it is, where to log in and more

The universal credit journal is a crucial part of maintaining your claim. Here The Big Issue explains what it's for and why it's important

The number of people claiming Universal Credit nearly doubled during the pandemic

The number of people claiming Universal Credit nearly doubled during the pandemic. Image: makemelocal/Flickr

Six million people claim universal credit, according to the latest Government figures. This is double the number who received the benefit before Covid-19 hit the UK. Pandemic-driven redundancies, income cuts and rising living costs have forced more people to rely on the benefit to get by.

The universal credit journal is crucial in managing your benefit claim. If you’re not clear on the details, this is what you need to know to get the most out of the online account.

What is the universal credit journal?

The journal is just one part of the online account used to manage your universal credit claim. It’s where you will communicate with your work coach, exchanging messages about your search for work.

You can log details about jobs you have applied or interviewed for, exchange documents you are working on together such as CVs, or update your work coach on training you are doing.

Where do I login to my universal credit journal?

You can login to the universal credit journal on the Government website here. This is also where you can apply for universal credit payments for the first time.

What else can I do online for my universal credit claim?

You can use the online service to inform the Department for Work and Pensions about a disability or health condition which affects your ability to work or look for work, and it’s where you can check to see how much you are to be paid through universal credit.

Crucially, the universal credit online to-do list is where you can check what you agreed to do in the search for work as part of your claimant commitment. Once you have completed a task, it will be moved to the journal. 

This is also where you let your work coach know you will not make a meeting if you are unwell – to avoid being sanctioned – or record childcare costs which could also impact your universal credit payments.

Do I have to use the universal credit journal?

You must use the online service to maintain your universal credit. You could be sanctioned and lose out on income if it is not kept up to date.

If you are struggling to maintain your claim or feel you are being sanctioned unfairly, charities such as Turn2us and Citizens Advice offer expert help.

Am I eligible for universal credit?

People living in the UK aged 18 or over who are on a low income or are out of work can use the journal to apply for universal credit. A person or their partner must be under state pension age and have £16,000 or less in savings.

In some cases, exceptions are made to pay universal credit to 16-17 year-olds and students.

There is no limit on the number of hours people can work if they are employed and claiming universal credit, but payments will reduce depending on how much is earned.

The Big Issue is offering free training and job search help to anyone who needs it with our new RORA Jobs and Training Toolkit. Sign up to receive a free three-month digital subscription to The Big Issue, access to dozens of free or discounted online training courses and the ability to search hundreds of thousands of jobs.

If you are out of work or worried about work and looking for immediate, practical advice call The Big Issue Jobs helpline on 0204 534 2810.

More articles in this series: 

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