Almost half of those in receipt of Universal Credit chose the Scottish Government’s alternative payment options when offered.
Ministers have used their devolved welfare powers to enable people to receive their benefit payment more frequently and to have the housing element of it paid directly to their landlord.
New figures show by the end of August 66,700 people had been offered one or both Scottish choices since October 2017, with 31,960 taking up the offer.
A total of 26,910 chose to implement more frequent payments, 11,430 chose to have the housing element of UC paid direct to their landlords, and 6,380 chose both.
An additional 4,000 also requested the choices outwith a formal offer being made, and took up one or both of the options.
Universal Credit – a six-in-one benefits payment – was introduced as part of the UK Government’s overhaul of the welfare system.
However critics say cuts to payments, delays in receiving initial payments, and widespread problems with its implementation have led to many people falling into hardship or dropping out of the benefit system altogether.
Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “The Scottish Government will continue to call for a halt to Universal Credit until it is made fit for purpose.
“We have done what we can with our limited powers, providing people who receive Universal Credit with choices on the frequency of their payments and paying housing costs directly to their landlord.
“We have also committed to introduce split payments of the Universal Credit award in Scotland to ensure everyone has access to an independent income.
“The high take-up rate of our Universal Credit Scottish choices is evidence people want more flexibility and adaptability in how they receive the support that they are entitled to.”