Universal Credit Overview

This is a two-part course, usually run over two consecutive half days. Participants can attend either part separately or both parts for a complete course.


Max 3 hours, including registration, course presentations & practice activities, break and time for questions

Part 1 course outline

  • Eligibility & Rollout


  • The UC Calculation


UC Overview Part 1 looks at the main Universal Credit (UC) eligibility rules and rollout issues that staff and volunteers need to be aware of. It enables participants to understand who can claim UC and when it is appropriate to do so. After the break, the course provides an overview of the UC calculation and how amounts are worked out. It enables participants to check a UC award and ensure that the correct amount has been awarded.


By the end of Part 1, the course participants will:

  • Understand how Universal Credit affects the wider benefits system and how UC interacts with other benefits;

  • Know who can claim Universal Credit including an awareness of restrictions in respect of mixed age couples, the SDP Gateway, people from abroad, young people, students and people with capital;

  • Have explored the effect of different changes of circumstances on legacy benefits;

  • Be able to recognise when it is appropriate to make a claim to UC and when it is not (including getting better off calculations done).

  • Understand the eligibility rules for the various elements that can be included in a UC award;

  • Understand how different forms of income affect a UC award;

  • Be aware of how UC is calculated and be able to use online tools to get calculations done;

  • Be able to anticipate the make up of likely awards at the point of application and check that they are correct once an entitlement decision has been made.



Max 3 hours, including registration, course presentations & practice activities, break and time for questions

Part 2 course outline

  • The Claims Process


  • Work Requirements & Sanctions


UC Overview, Part 2 teaches the Universal Credit claims process. It enables participants to help people make the most effective claims to UC including those with a range of access needs. After the break, the course goes on to look at the work related requirements in UC and what claimants must do to avoid a sanction. It enables participants to diagnose a claimant’s work related requirement group and give basic advice on how to avoid a benefit sanction.


By the end of Part 2, participants will:

  • Be aware of the key stages involved in making an online claim to UC;

  • Know when it is appropriate for a telephone claim to be made and how to facilitate a telephone claim;

  • Have seen a partial demonstration of the online claims process;

  • Know when the first payment is due to be made and how and when an advance can be made to alleviate hardship;

  • Have an awareness of how assessment periods operate in UC and how changes of circumstances take effect awards.

  • Understand how the four work related requirement groups operate in UC;

  • Be able to help people mitigate against the likelihood of a sanction decision being made;

  • Understand how good reason operates in UC and how to challenge decisions.


Methods of delivery
This course is delivered online live with a BTC trainer. It is a practical course delivered using a combination of trainer presentation, exercises and case studies, group discussion and games. Participants will be provided with e-learning supporting material including PowerPoint slide handouts, a comprehensive training pack pdf and additional resources. There is a 20-30 minute break halfway through the course.


Intended audience
This course is for staff working with anyone who is claiming or could be claiming Universal Credit. No previous experience is required although previous knowledge of the wider benefits system is useful.


Certificates & post course support
Named participants completing the whole course (Parts 1 & 2 ) will receive an e-certificate and regular benefits news updates. This also guarantees eligibility to access our free 12 months post-course advice service and priority entry to free webinars.

Course instructions

In the week before the course, participants will receive an email with Zoom link(s) to the course and a Dropbox link to access the pack/slides which are in pdf format. Participants will need to download (or print) the pack (and slides, if you wish) before each part of the course.

Participants will need a good wifi connection and a suitable computer/laptop to access both the Zoom session and the pack throughout. You may wish to use a separate device for the pack (or split your screen) if you cannot or do not wish to print.