Drug dealers target vulnerable people after they receive their Universal Credit lump sums

Drug dealers are targeting vulnerable people who receive their Universal Credit lump sums.

The benefit payment, which has been rolled-out in Sheffield since November 2018, is paid monthly and in arrears.

Sarah Allen, Business Development Partner at Addaction, a drug, alcohol and mental health charity, said: “Drug dealers are going to know when the lump sum is coming in.”

Universal credit is a single benefit payment that is replacing six other benefits and tax credits, including housing benefit.

Previously, benefits were paid on a weekly, or fortnightly basis, in advance.

A survey by the Good Things Foundation found that issues people who are claiming Universal Credit face include the challenge of applying for it online as they have no or little digital skills.

A summit meeting this morning, held by People.SHF, Sheffield’s Digital Coalition, brought together a mix of digital experts and people with policy experience of Universal Credit, including those who work for local charities in Sheffield.

A mix of digital experts and people with policy experience of Universal Credit, including those who work for local charities in Sheffield, met to discuss digital solutions to improve the lives of those who claim the benefit.

During the meeting, at St Mary’s Church and Conference Centre on Bramall Lane, they discussed how to use digital solutions to improve the lives of people claiming Universal Credit.

Kathryn Taylor works at the Woodhouse hub where they provide IT support to those claiming Universal Credit.

She said: “We provide the equipment for people to do their claims online, write their journals, and job search.”

They hold five sessions a week, three at the Salvation Army in Woodhouse and two at Woodhouse Library, where computers are available.

A community support worker also delivers sessions for people if they have any questions regarding the Universal Credit claims.

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