The number of people claiming Universal Credit has increased across the UK in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The system is designed to provide a vital lifeline to people who need extra financial help.

It can be claimed by those who are working but not earning 'enough' as well as those who are unemployed.

But as well as providing a cash payment for those who need it, there are additional benefits designed to help.

People claiming Universal Credit can also save on everything from transport to childcare.

Welfare officials, as reported by the Daily Express, have now laid out a number of key "bonuses" claimants can tap into.

Many people on Universal Credit may not have known these perks were available.

Discounted train and bus travel

You can get up to 50 percent off train and bus travel if you are eligible for a Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card, which is great for getting you to interviews and appointments as well as being valid for all other journeys you make.

Speak to your work coach to find out more. Those receiving Jobseekers Allowance may also be eligible.

Childcare costs can be claimed back

More than £13,000 a year of childcare costs can be reimbursed through Universal Credit. Costs can be reported online, and those in work while in receipt to Universal Credit can apply for up to 85 per cent of their childcare costs, up to £646.35 per month if you have one child and up to £1,108.40 for two or more children.

For more information visit the Understanding Universal Credit website.

Money to help you start your new job

The Flexible Support Fund is available to help you cover the costs of starting work.

This money does not have to be paid back, and can cover the costs of things like clothing and uniforms to start work, and travel to interviews. Again, speak to your work coach to find out more.

Having a baby? You may be entitled to a one-off £500 grant

If you are having a child you may be entitled to £500. Known as the Sure Start Maternity Grant, households on Universal Credit can benefit from a one-off payment of £500. This does not have to be paid back and will not affect the benefit payment you receive.

Council tax - deductions and you may not even need to pay anything at all

You could save on your Council Tax bill and in some cases you may not need to pay anything at all.

Depending on your circumstances and where you live you may be eligible for a Council Tax Reduction. Apply for one on gov.uk.

Incentives for savers

Get paid to save. The government’s Help to Save scheme offers people who receive Universal Credit, and some people entitled to Working Tax Credit, incentives to save anything from £1 up to £50 per month.

After two years of saving, the government will give you an extra 50p for every £1 you have saved. More info on gov.uk.