In Scotland, the number of households applying for Universal Credit was 110,000 between March 1 and April 7 – more than five times the monthly average.
In response the Scottish Government and Citizens Advice have launched a new campaign to highlight the financial support available.
The campaign includes information on matters such as rent and mortgages, bills and benefits people may have access to.
The advice is available online, by phone or via Citizens Advice Bureaux.
Social security secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “This huge increase in claims for Universal Credit demonstrates just how many people across the country are struggling financially due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“These are difficult and worrying times for everyone, with many people requiring financial support for the first time and even more pressure on those who were already struggling to make ends meet.
“It is welcome that people are claiming the support that they are entitled to from the DWP, and I would encourage people to look into what additional help is available. Even if you are not entitled to Universal Credit, there could be other assistance that you can access so it is worth checking.
“That’s why we’ve been working with the Citizens Advice network in Scotland to create this central source of information – with everything from guidance on benefits, right through to what you can do if you are worried about paying your mortgage or rent.”
Citizens Advice Scotland chief executive Derek Mitchell added: “The Citizens Advice network in Scotland is known for always being there to help and the support we give will be more important than ever to help people avoid getting into crisis. There may also be lots of people who have never used our services before and it’s crucial that they know our information and advice is there for them too.
“Our national network of Citizens Advice Bureaux is still operating for those who need it – if you have been financially impacted by the coronavirus outbreak your local Citizens Advice Bureau can help make sure you have access to all the income you are entitled to, as well as giving tailored advice about what’s on offer within local communities across Scotland.
“There’s increased demand for our advice on financial services, that’s why we’ve created dedicated Covid-19 content online so people get the information they need 24/7 and from the comfort of their own homes.
“We’ve also got a dedicated helpline for people who might not be able to access our services online. If you have been financially impacted by the coronavirus outbreak and require free, confidential, financial support, please visit cas.org.uk or call 0800 028 1456.
“Local Citizens Advice Bureaux are situated around the country. To find your local service, simply enter your postcode at cas.org.uk/bureaux.”