Over 50s in the UK have been one of the main age demographics to have seen a dramatic rise in the number of claimants. Around 34,000 more people aged over 50 in the country have signed onto the benefit scheme since February. The increase to the upsurge in benefit claimants reverses the downward trend of people no longer receiving support prior to the pandemic.
Over the past three months of the global crisis, 1.3million families contacted the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to get on Universal Credit.
Since then, a further 600,000 households have also got on the benefit scheme for further support due to the economic toll resulting from the pandemic.
The proportion of adults on benefits aged between 25 and 29 has also increased dramatically from 17 to 24 percent.
Comparatively, the number of Britons between 30 to 59 years old claiming benefits has increased more slowly, from 22 to 27 percent.
The think tank also noted that due to the record numbers of people now receiving Universal Credit, including 3.4million children living in households which receive the payment, decisions regarding changes to payments will have a huge impact on living standards.
Karl Handscomb, a Senior Economist at the Resolution Foundation, outlined the severity of the situation for many families across the country.
“After a decades-long decline in the share of families receiving benefits, the Covid-19 crisis has led to a surge in claims, with 1.4million more families now claiming support,” she explained.
“The pandemic benefit surge has been driven by young people – a group who have traditionally been the least likely to claim benefits – and reflects that fact that they have been by far the hardest hit by the Covid economic crisis.
He said: “This research highlights the relevance of the benefits system to people of all ages, as well as the vital role it has played in supporting people and families through the economic crisis caused by the pandemic.
“However, it also shows that the level of support varies significantly across different age groups, and those differences should be taken into account by the Government when considering any changes to benefit rates.”
Speaking to Express.co.uk, a DWP Spokesperson said: “The Government’s unprecedented measures, including the temporary uplift in Universal Credit and the furlough scheme, have supported the nation through the economic shock of the toughest stages of the pandemic.
“Universal Credit will continue to provide a vital safety net, and with record vacancies available, it’s right that we now focus on our Plan for Jobs, to help people of all ages back into the workplace, as a long-term route out of poverty.”
Claimants of Universal Credit are encouraged to contact the DWP to see how the pending changes to the benefit system will affect them.
Currently, the standard allowance for those under 25 on Universal Credit is £344 a month, with over 25s receiving £411.51 a month.
Couples under 25 receive £490.66 under the benefits scheme, with couples over 25 getting £596.58.
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