Universal Credit website down as huge internet outage locks millions out of accounts

MILLIONS of hard-up Brits were locked out of their Universal Credit journals this morning due to a mass internet outage.

The whole of Gov.uk was also affected meaning users couldn't access help, advice or log in to any government gateway accounts.

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The server outage also caused Amazon, Reddit, Spotify and HMRC to fall offline too for a few hours this morning.

When users visited the Government web page to log on to see their journal, they were greeted with an "Error 303" message telling them "service unavailable".

However, as of midday today the service is back up and running.

Independent outage tracker DownDetector says that tens of thousands of people worldwide have reported issues with various web pages.


What to do if you have problems claiming Universal Credit

IF you’re experiencing trouble applying for your Universal Credit, or the payments just don’t cover costs, here are your options:

  • Apply for an advance – Claimants are able to get some cash within five days rather than waiting weeks for their first payment. But it's a loan which means the repayments will be automatically deducted from your future Universal Credit payout.
  • Alternative Payment Arrangements – If you're falling behind on rent, you or your landlord may be able to apply for an APA which will get your payment sent directly to your landlord. You might also be able to change your payments to get them more frequently, or you can split the payments if you're part of a couple.
  • Budgeting Advance – You may be able to get help from the Government for emergency household costs of up to £348 if you're single, £464 if you're part of a couple or £812 if you have children. These are only in cases like your cooker breaking down or for help getting a job. You'll have to repay the advance through your regular Universal Credit payments. You'll still have to repay the loan, even if you stop claiming for Universal Credit.
  • Cut your Council Tax – You might be able to get a discount on your Council Tax by applying for a Council Tax Reduction. Alternatively, you might be entitled to Discretionary Housing Payments to help cover your rent.
  • Foodbanks – If you're really hard up and struggling to buy food and toiletries, you can find your local foodbank who will provide you with help for free. You can find your nearest one on the Trussell Trust website.

It's unclear what's causing the outage, though it's suspected that the fault lies with Fastly.

The data centre provider crashed earlier this morning.

On its website, Fastly says that it's currently investigating the issue, which it calls a "global disruption".

More than 6million struggling Brits are relying on Universal Credit as of January 2021 – a 98% increased since March 2020.

People on the new digital welfare system manage their accounts through online journals.

This is where they discuss any upcoming problems or queries with their Jobcentre work coach.

Users also rely on the accounts to let them know how much money to expect in their next payment and how many deductions have been taken.

What's going on?

It's not clear exactly what has caused some of the largest websites to crash today but it is believed that they are all running on the same server.

It is suspected that the outage is something to do with Fastly, which also went offline earlier today.

The data centre provider, which runs a service designed to speed up loading times for websites, crashed earlier this morning.

Its service requires it to sit between its clients and their users, meaning any wide-scale failure is likely to block visitors from their web pages.

On its website, Fastly says that it's currently investigating the issue, which it calls a "global disruption".

The San Francisco-based company gave no indication as to when it expected its services to be fully restored.

The Sun has reached out to Fastly for comment.

More to follow…

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