What Is A PSN Number For Universal Credit?

It may take some time between your Universal Credit application to be submitted and actual payments coming in and a PSN number is part of this process. This blog post aims to explain the need and importance of a PSN number with regard to your Universal Credit account and the payments you receive as a result. In addition to this, we will also discuss the details of the verification process and potential problems that claimants may face as their Universal Credit account is created. We will also learn about the eligibility criteria for this state benefit and how your claim can be affected by a change in your living conditions.

What Is A PSN Number For Universal Credit?

A PSN number or a Personal Security Number is a 16 digit individual and confidential number assigned to claimants of Universal Credit after their first interview with their work coach. This is part of the Universal Credit claims process.

If you are about to make a claim for Universal Credit; either due to recent eligibility for the state benefit or if you are transferring from other benefits to Universal Credit, you will be required to apply online through the GOV.UK web portal. You will have to create an online account using a unique user identification and password. For this, you will need a phone number and an email address. If you are making a joint claim with a partner, you should keep UC account information to yourself. 

If your relationship status falls under any of the following categories, you will be required to make a joint claim with your partner:

  • married
  • civil partnership
  • living together as a couple

Once your online account is created, you must keep these details safe as you will need them to receive and send updates regarding your Universal Credit claim. The DWP will ask you at this time whether you prefer to receive updates via text message, email or phone call.

You will still need a PSN number if you are unable to access the internet to create your Universal Credit account. In such cases, you may seek the help of a family member or inform the DWP of your situation. Reasons for lack of access to the internet can be anything from not being confident about using a smartphone to weak sight, a disability or that someone is unable to read or write.

Why Am I Having Problems With Universal Credit Identity Verification?

Sometimes new customers have problems with identity verification with Universal Credit due to one (or more) of the following reasons:

  • they don’t know how to use a computer
  • they don’t have access to a computer and/or free internet
  • they don’t have an email address
  • they don’t have a bank account
  • they don’t have a mobile number
  • they need support in completing their UC application

If you use Government Gateway, you will be able to secure your identity by creating a specific user id and password by providing documented information about yourself.

Yet, there may be times when there is no specific reason why you are having problems with your identity verification; however, chances are that you are a new customer and the process is taking time due to the system being shifted online in post-pandemic (covid-19) times.

When you apply for Universal Credit through their online portal your job centre is automatically notified of your online application. This means that even if you don’t receive an identity verification, you can expect to receive a call from the jobcentre to confirm your details. However, if you think that a reasonable time has passed between your application and the response time from your job centre, you can call on their toll-free number or email them to seek feedback. 

What Is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a state benefit for UK citizens above the age of 18 and below the state pension age. It aims to provide financial assistance to individuals who are either out of work or on a low income. It is a monthly payment that claimants receive to help them to cover living costs.

Universal Credit has replaced six benefits, referred to as the “legacy benefits” by serving a single payment for households and helping them meet housing and childcare costs. These include the following:

  • Income Support
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Housing Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit

Additionally, it provides support for health conditions, disabilities or the role of a carer that prevents claimants from working full time or working at all.

Who Is Eligible For Universal Credit?

To qualify for Universal Credit, claimants must be able to fulfil the below eligibility criteria:

  • aged between 18 (in some cases it may be 16 or 17) and state pension age
  • unemployed or on low income
  • between the claimant and their partner, total savings are less than £6,000
  • experiencing high costs for childcare
  • suffering from a disability or health condition
  • caring for someone else

The amount of Universal Credit that an individual receives depends on their personal circumstances and income (if any). For instance, someone who is single and younger than 25 years of age will be eligible for Universal Credit amounting to around £257 per month. Meanwhile, this amount will rise to around £509 for someone who is living with a partner and either one of them or both of them are above the age of 25.

Which Change In Circumstances Affect Universal Credit?

Certain changes in your circumstances can bear an impact on the benefits you receive including Universal Credit. Therefore, it is advisable if you face any of the following situations, you must inform the relevant authorities: 

  • a new mobile number, postal or email address
  • a change in your bank details
  • change of residence due to moving in with a partner
  • having a child
  • changes to your health condition
  • being unable to work due to an illness
  • starting to care for a child or disabled person
  • finding or finishing a job
  • changes to your earnings, savings, investments
  • changes to rental payments
  • changes to your immigration status (in case you’re not a British citizen)

What Counts As Income For Universal Credit?

During your benefits calculation by the DWP, not only is your job-related income(s) taken into account, but the authorities will also consider unearned incomes. These are incomes that individuals receive without having to work.  

Unearned incomes that affect your Universal Credit payments include the following:

  • Jobseeker’s Allowance (new style)
  • Employment and Support Allowance (new style)
  • Pension Income
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • State benefits that aren’t replaced by Universal Credit

For every £1 earned through any of the above means, £1 will be reduced from your Universal Credit payments.

However, the following unearned incomes do not count towards Universal Credit calculations:

  • Child Benefit
  • Child Maintenance Payments
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Income From Borders And Lodgers

What Do They Ask You In A Universal Credit Phone Appointment?

In addition to your personal identification details, you can be asked about any of the following areas of your life during a phone appointment with regards to the Universal Credit claim:

  • your identification details from your passport or driving license
  • your postcode
  • your NI number
  • your bank account, building society or credit union account number 
  • your monthly rental payments
  • your landlord’s address 
  • details of your savings and capital investments
  • details of your income and benefits
  • details of any child care payments made by you
  • child benefit reference numbers (if any)

What Is Split Payment Of Universal Credit?

Split payment is the division of household Universal Credit claim between two members of the household while they continue living together as a couple. It rarely happens in cases where:

  • There is financial mismanagement and/or financial abuse on behalf of one of the partners and the other one informs DWP
  • There is domestic abuse
  • One of the partners is unable to budget for their own or the household’s needs

Even though the Universal Credit amount is split up, the partner who has the primary responsibility for children (if any) will claim a larger proportion of the payment. However, it can be claimed that both partners remain together as a couple. 

The reason for providing split payments is to reduce the financial hardship that claimants may have to endure due to any of the above-stated reasons.


The details discussed here make it clear that a Personal Security Number is essential for your Universal Credit account creation. It is a unique 16 digit number that your will need to create and access your Universal Account along with a user id and password that you will be required to make. If you are making a joint claim for Universal Credit with a partner, they will be assigned a separate PSN, user id and password; without you having to share your details with them. This means that you should keep your PSN safe and confidential. You should make sure that you remember it.

FAQs: What Is A PSN Number For Universal Credit?

How does Universal Credit verify your identity?

If you have not created an online account using a user id and password, Universal Credit can verify your identity by referring to the following documents;

  • National Insurance number
  • Payslip
  • Valid passport or driving license
  • Your last P6
  • Information on your tax credits

How do I unlock my Universal Credit account?

You will need your user id and password to unlock your Universal Credit account. You can request for these details to be sent to your email id from the UC login page. Alternatively, you can have your user id and password changed by requesting resetting these details.

Can I claim Universal Credit without an address?

Most of the time, you are required to provide an address when you apply for a Universal Credit claim. If you are unable to provide one, you can request to provide the address of your nearest job centre.

Does Universal Credit Check your bank account?

While Universal Credit does not regularly monitor your bank account for transactions, if they suspect anyone of claims fraud, they have the authority to gain access to your bank accounts and any other financial transactions to confirm the information that they have shared.

Can Universal Credit be paid into someone else’s account?

No, Universal Credit can only be paid to your own account. The only exception to this rule is when partners make a joint claim. In such cases, the payment for the Universal Credit claim can be made in either partner’s bank account.


Understanding Universal Credit – How to claim


Confirm Your Identity: a new way to verify online – DWP Digital

Universal Credit claimants to verify identity through Government Gateway – GOV.UK

Universal Credit and you

Understanding Universal Credit – How earnings affect Universal Credit

Universal Credit: Report a change of circumstances – GOV.UK

Universal credit interviews