The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has announced that Universal Credit rent arrears deductions have been suspended amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Third-party deductions, which typically see claimants have money they owe taken from their monthly benefit allowances, will be scrapped until 10 May.
Universal Credit claims have increased sharply as Covid-19 batters the economy.
More than 1.4 million have applied for the benefit in recent weeks, according to the government, which recently took the decision to suspend evictions until June.
A spokesperson for the DWP said: “We have received an unprecedented number of new benefit claims and have streamlined our operations to make sure people get the support they need during this time.
“As part of this, we have temporarily paused third-party deductions from [Universal Credit] – these will recommence on 10 May.
“We are in the process of explaining the changes to claimants via their online journal and to third parties, including housing providers who collect arrears via this method.”