Coronavirus has forced people to look for help in areas that they may have thought they’d never need. Citizens Advice recently revealed that consumers are currently looking for information on specific areas.
- Universal Credit payments can only be paid into these three accounts
Their overall website saw unprecedented demand in March.
The website was visited nine million times, a 39 percent increase on the same period for the previous year.
The data revealed that there was an initial surge in enquiries for sick pay and redundancy but eventually, attention turned to advice for paying bills and accessing benefits.
Benefit pages on the organisation’s website were viewed over two million times, with Universal Credit pages alone receiving nearly 750,000 hits.
Advisory pages on work, pay or furlough rules were viewed 1.6 million times.
Somewhat unsurprisingly, the word “coronavirus” was the most searched for term on the website.
Dame Gillian Guy, the Chief Executive of the organisation commented on the findings while ensuring that the company will continue to support the public: “Last month we helped millions of people.
“Behind each enquiry was a family struggling to pay rent, someone self-employed who could no longer afford their bills, or a person attempting to claim benefits for the first time.
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“These personal stories combine to paint a bigger picture of how lives have been interrupted by coronavirus.
“Not only will we continue to help as many people as we can with their individual problems, we’ll use that bigger picture to advocate for change to make sure no one is left behind.”
The date revealed just how dramatic the current situation is, while revealing that consumers across the UK are desperate for timely and up to date information.
In highlighting specific details, Citizens Advice provided the following examples of consumer concerns:
- Martin Lewis issues savings warning: “Something funny’s going on”
- On March 20, Citizens Advice published a new page on what to do if you can’t pay your bills because of coronavirus. Within two days this was the number one viewed page and it has stayed in the top seven ever since.
- After the Prime Minister announced lockdown measures on March 23, Citizens Advice published a page on checking what benefits you can get. This quickly moved into the top 10 most viewed pages. With people having their hours cut, being laid off or made redundant, this page has remained in the top 10.
- On March 25 the charity published another new page on what to do if your employer has told you not to work. After the Chancellor announced further details on the job retention scheme the next day, the page entered the top ten and has remained in the top two since March 31.
- Enquiries about Universal Credit first began to spike in mid-March, and have remained at high levels, mirrored by the unprecedented numbers of people applying for the benefit through the DWP.
- The trends over the last week show people are still worried about what to do if their employer has told them not to work and what to do if they won’t be able to pay their bills.
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