CHRISTMAS is an expensive time for many, particularly for those on benefits – but it’s easier to manage if you know when you’re getting paid.
There are three bank holidays between Christmas and New Year which may affect what day you receive your payment.
It’s likely that you’ll receive your benefits a day early but that means you’ll have to make it last a bit longer than normal, which is why it’s important to budget.
You don’t have to do anything if you think that your payment is affected as the date will automatically change.
But iff you don’t receive your benefit when you think that you should have, you should call the relevant helplines before Christmas Day.
This is because they will be closed on the bank holidays and you’ll have to wait until December 28 to get through to someone for help.
Here’s all that you need to know about when your benefits will be paid over Christmas:
Universal Credit is a singular payment that is made on the same day every month.
How to contact the DWP for help
WHAT number you call depends on what type of benefit you need help with.
- Call for free: 0800 328 9344
- Welsh speaking: 0800 012 1888
- Those with hearing problems can textphone on: 0800 328 1344
Lines are open from 8am until 6pm, Monday to Friday excluding bank holidays.
- Call for free: 0300 200 3100
- Outside UK: +44 161 210 3086
You’ll need your National Insurance number or child benefit number with you when you call.
Lines are open Monday to Friday from 8am until 8pm and on Saturdays from 8amm until 4pm.
- Call HMRC for free: 0345 300 3900
- From outside the UK: +44 2890 538 192
Lines open from 8am until 6pm Monday to Friday and 8am until 4pm on Saturday.
The helpline isn’t open on bank holidays.
- Call for free: 0800 328 9344
- Welsh speaking: 0800 328 1744
- Textphone: 0800 169 0314
Lines open 8am until 6pm Monday to Friday excluding bank holidays.
The day that you receive the welfare payout may be affected by the bank holidays that fall during the festive season.
If your payment is due on either December 24, 25 or January 1 then you will receive your money earlier that usual.
Payments due on Christmas Day or Boxing Day will be paid into your account on Christmas Eve.
Those that are due on New Year’s Day will be paid on December 31 instead.
Child tax credits or working tax credits top-up your household income if you’re not earning enough to make ends meet.
You can choose whether you want to get paid weekly or every four weeks when you first apply.
The payments can be made on any working day, Monday through to Friday, so you may find that Christmas will affect when you will get the money.
Those who are expecting their payments on December 25 or 26 will instead be paid on December 24.
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 pay out.
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 to help with 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 or be entitled to Discretionary Housing Payments if your payments aren’t enough to 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 Trussel Trust website.
If you live in Northern Ireland and your payment is due on December 27, you will also be paid early on Christmas Eve.
Households that are expecting their payments on January 1 will be paid early on December 31.
Claimants in Scotland who would normally be paid on January 2 will also be paid two days early on December 31.
You can check your tax credit payment dates in advance by visiting Gov.co.uk’s website.
Child benefit is usually paid every four weeks, or weekly if you or your partner claims certain benefits like Income Support.
Payments are made every Monday or Tuesday, and as the bank holidays over the festive period fall on Wednesday and Thursday this year, it’s unlikely that your payments will be affected.
If you are one of the few who’s payment date falls on Christmas Day or Boxing Day then you can expect the money to arrive early on December 24.
Payments due on January 1 will also be paid a day early on December 30.
If you’re unsure if you’ll be afffected, you can work out when you’re next due to receive your child benefit by counting four weeks from your last payment.
Other benefits including ESA and JSA
Benefits such as mployment support allowance (ESA), Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), carer’s allowance, pension credit, Personal Independence Payments (PIP), attendance allowance and the state pension may also be affected by the Christmas bank holidays.
The day that you’re paid depends on when you applied for the benefit.
If the money is due to land in your bank account on December 25 or 26, then you should expect the payment to arrive early on December 24.
Payments due on New Year’s Day will also be made early on December 31.