Applications for universal credit – the benefit for people of working age in the UK – reached a record monthly level in the first weeks of the foreclosure.
Between March 13 and April 9, 1.5 million applications were filed, confirmed official figures from the Ministry of Labor and Pensions (DWP).
This is six times more than during the same period last year.
The data comes from separate figures showing that the number of people claiming unemployment benefits soared in April.
What is universal credit?
The universal credit has replaced six other benefits, such as the jobseeker’s allowance, income support, housing allowance and tax credits. This combines all of these benefits into one payment.
The latest figures show that as of April 9, 4.2 million people in total have universal credit.
This is an increase of 1.2 million people in a single month. Other claims from others seeking universal credit may have failed or remain unfinished.
Many claiming to be employed but on low incomes, but others will have lost their jobs.
The DWP said the number of people on universal credit had increased by 40% following the coronavirus pandemic.
All regions saw an increase in the total number of claims at the start of the pandemic, the department said.
As of April 9, the North West of England was the region with the highest proportion of claimants.
Polly Neate, CEO of the Shelter charity, said, “With a large increase in the number of people applying for benefits and early warning signs of job loss, it is clear that Covid-19 will send out shock waves in our economy like never before. .
“People who pay average rent face huge deficits and many accumulate serious debts that put their homes at risk. Without further support, they will be swept away by a tidal wave of evictions when the government ban is lifted. “
The existing benefits trap
Editor Jon Fitzgerald was receiving tax credits, but they were stopped when he asked for universal credit when jobs dried up in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
His request for universal credit was unsuccessful due to his savings, but the rules of the system mean that his tax credits have not been reinstated.
“We have now lost well over half of our current monthly income at the push of a button,” said Fitzgerald.
“We followed the advice of the government in late March to ask for universal credit to help us [but] we were left without financial support at a time when we need it most. “
Anyone considering applying for universal credit is invited to check their eligibility first and make sure it doesn’t get worse.
- Learn more about this issue.