The Department for Work and Pensions has reassured claimants after nearly one million people have applied for Universal Credit in the past fortnight amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said it had seen a surge in benefits claims, with almost 950,000 new claims since March 16 - up from around 100,000 in a normal two-week period.

But the DWP has said it is focusing all its resources on helping customers through this difficult time.

It's making changes to speed up processes and help concerned claimants as fast as possible with claimants being asked to only call DWP to book their initial phone appointment.

A spokeswoman from Ammanford Jobcentre said: "DWP are experiencing very large numbers of claims but we want to reassure readers that everything is being done to ensure payments of Universal Credit are processed quickly and paid as promptly as possible.

"With the increase in the number of claims and calls received, the Department is making changes to improve efficiency and effectiveness, by deploying thousands of staff from other parts of the business into our claims processing roles. Although we couldn’t have planned for this pandemic, and the numbers of claims are vast, staff in the local Jobcentres are committed to working tirelessly to ensure all benefit claims are processed as soon as possible.

"We’re still asking customers to apply for Universal Credit online and to only call DWP to book their initial telephone appointment."

DWP is advising customers that if lines are busy, your local jobcentre will call you if they’ve seen you’ve applied online but haven’t been able to get through to get an appointment yet.

They’ll use your online journal to let you know they’ll be calling, so don’t worry if you don’t get through straight away.

The jobcentre said there are a number of local vacancies available and these can be found on the Twitter account @JCPinWestWales, or contact Chris on 07920 711674 for further information regarding these vacancies.