A massive queue of the newly jobless is causing major problems and delays in processing the claims which will allow them access to cash.
A(DWP) after an ‘incredible’ number of new claims flooded onto the system.
Thousands spent hours on the phone trying to register and at one stage more than 100,000 people were trying to verify their online applications.
It has been reported that many eventually gave up after encountering massive phone queues and then being rejected by the system.
New claims started arriving steadily but then spiked after Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered most businesses to close as the country moved into lockdown.
Many of the claimants were self-employed people who were facing a dramatic fall in income and became so frustrated that they took to social media to highlight the problems they had been facing.
One unsuccessful applicant posted a screenshot of his application on Twitter which said that ‘due to an incredible volume of new users’ there were 105,563 people ahead of him in the online queue trying to verify their identity – a basic step in applying for any benefit.
Another was a former research associate at the University of Manchester at the University of Manchester whose contract ended earlier in March and was trying to speak to a benefits officer about progressing his claim.
Universal Credit Hotline
Jonathan Hume tried calling the Universal Credit Hotline ‘somewhere between 80 and 100 times’, but never managed to get through to the person he needed to speak to.
He said: “Most of the time, the line just drops instantly.
On another few times when I’ve got through, I’ve been on hold for two hours and then my network has just cut me off. It’s infuriating and stressful as, until it’s sorted, I have no income.”
Tens of thousands of people became eligible for Universal Credit as the Coronavirus pandemic started to hit the economy hard and they were laid off by their employers.
The DWP urged applicants to use the online system after massive numbers reported hours of telephone delays.
The problem was made even worse when the government announced the closure of job centres except to ‘the most vulnerable claimants to cannot make contact by other means’.
Officials said they were taking ‘unprecedented’ action to resolve the situation, saying: “Around 10,000 existing staff will be moved to process new claims, with 1,000 already in place.
“In addition, the department is expecting to recruit 1,500 extra people to aid the effort,”