In the last nine days, nearly 500,000 people subsequent to the coronavirus pandemic have applied for universal credit in the UK.
477,000 citizens applied for the monthly life benefits that helps low income families and individuals in and out of work as stated by the Department for Work and Pensions on Wednesday (Mar 25).
Thérèse Coffey MP, the work and pensions secretary stated, “In the last nine days we’ve processed nearly half a million claims. We don’t know if they’re self-employed or at different stages, and I want to assure people that help, even if it’s not currently the level of help they would like, is there to help them through the safety net of the welfare state.”
Due to the “unprecedented” volume of applications, Peter Schofield, the department’s permanent secretary stated the processing claims is now the department’s main focus. He states, “We made a decision that managing claims and making payments is a number one priority for DWP. Operationally we can deprioritize other things.”
It’s reported that 70,000 of the total claims were from individuals seeking an advance to solve immediate cash flow problems, proving folks began to struggle just as the virus began to rapidly spread.