Christmas can be the most stressful time of the year – especially when it comes to money matters.
The financial pressure is tough for many, and even more so when you are relying on benefits.
Which means it’s important to know exactly when benefits will be paid over the festive period.
The dates you receive payment could change due to the bank holidays, so if you’re planning ahead, this is what you need to know.
Most people claiming benefits receive their payments earlier than usual over Christmas- in most cases 24 hours early.
We’ve included the current information about when benefit payments, including Tax Credits, Child Benefit, Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit is scheduled to be paid this Christmas.
And where to find urgent financial assistance if you need it.
Tax credits due to be paid on Tuesday 25, Wednesday 26 and Thursday 27 December – it will be paid on Monday December 24 .
Tax credits due to be paid on Friday 28 December will be paid on Thursday December 27 (England, Scotland and Wales only).
Tax credits due to be paid on Tuesday 1 and Wednesday 2 January, 2019 – it will be paid on Monday 31 December.
Tax credits due to be paid on Thursday 3 January 2019 will be paid Wednesday, January 2 2019 (England, Wales and Northern Ireland only).
You can check your Tax Credit payment dates seven weeks in advance by downloading the HMRC app .
If your payment is late, check the payment date on your award notice and contact your bank before calling the Tax Credit Helpline .
Christmas Day falls on a Tuesday this year, which means both Christmas Day and Boxing Day – on Wednesday 26 December – are public bank holidays.
Usually you will receive any Child Benefit payments on the last working day before a bank holiday.
So, if your Child Benefit payment is due on December 25 or 26, 2018 you will be paid on December 24 2018 instead.
Those due on December 28 will be paid on December 27 .
If your Child Benefit payment is due on January 1 2019 – also a bank holiday, you’ll be paid on December 31 2018 .
Universal Credit is paid into your bank account on a monthly basis.
After the initial payment, you’ll be paid on the same date of every month.
This means if your payment date is on a weekend or a bank holiday – which this year includes Christmas Day on Tuesday December 25 and Boxing Day on Wednesday December 26 – you’ll be paid on the working day before.
Which will be Christmas Eve, December 24.
Employment Support Allowance
ESA is usually paid every two weeks. If your payment is due on a bank holiday, you’ll be paid on the last working day before the holiday, which this year is Monday, December 24 .
If you’re struggling, here’s just some of the ways you might be able to get some extra help over the Christmas period.
Cold Weather Payments
If you are in receipt of certain benefits, you may be entitled to a one-off payment to help with the cost of heating your home.
Check if you are eligible for a cold weather payment here .
If you are struggling with the cost of food over the Christmas period, there is a network of food banks across the UK which may be able to help. In most cases you will need to get a referral from care professionals such as doctors, health visitors, social workers or the citizens advice bureau. Contact your local Citizen’s Advice Service for details, or check for your nearest food bank online.
Formally known as a crisis loan, you can apply for this government funded loan if you have been in receipt of certain benefits for six months or longer. It’s interest-free so you only have to pay back what you borrow. Find out if you are eligible here .
While most charitable funds do not provide specific grants to help people meet the costs of Christmas, some may consider applications of this nature, depending on your particular circumstances and background.
Others might give grants to help with basic needs, which could free up some of your money to pay for Christmas expenses.
The Turn2Us Grants Search can help match you with a charitable fund that might be able to help.
The Salvation Army
As well as helping people who are experiencing homelessness, they support families who have hit hard times, people who have been made redundant, become ill or are experiencing benefit delay.
They run a Christmas Present appeal that enables them to provide toys and gifts for children, teenagers and older people in need.
These gifts are distributed through their own local networks and via health visitors, social services, and other local agencies.
Over the years, millions of children and young people have benefited from gifts donated to The Salvation Army.