Hundreds of workers in Scarborough are claiming Universal Credit as their low wages are not enough to live on.
Charities say that the “shocking” number of in-work applicants is due to low wages and housing costs.
According to Department for Work and Pensions figures, there were 422 employed claimants in Scarborough on Universal Credit in July 2018 - about 39% of the total.
Overall, there were 1,091 people on Universal Credit in Scarborough, 265 more than in the previous month.
Universal Credit is a new benefit, slowly being rolled out by the Government, which replaces six legacy benefits and merges them into one payment.
It includes income support, jobseeker’s allowance, employment and support allowance, housing benefit, child tax credits, and working tax credits.
The idea of Universal Credit was to simplify the benefits system, however problems with its introduction have reportedly forced benefit claimants into hardship.
The plan was to roll it out by 2017, but a series of management failures meant the Government has put off the completion until 2023.
Pritie Billimoria, from Turn2us, a charity which helps people who are struggling financially, said it was “shocking” that such a high number of workers earn so little that they are forced to rely on benefits.
She said: “Every day we hear from working people who are living hand to mouth and facing impossible decisions about whether to buy food or pay their rent.”
Katie Schmuecker, head of policy for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said: “Low pay and high costs for housing and other essentials mean that for many, work is not providing enough to live on and the social security system needs to provide an anchor against being swept into poverty.”