Christmas and New Year 2018 benefit and Universal Credit payment dates – what you need to know

The dates for benefits payments change due to the bank holidays over Christmas and New Year, so if you're planning ahead, here's what you need to know.

Most people claiming benefits will receive their payments earlier than usual this year – in most cases even 24 hours earlier.

This is because Christmas Day falls on a Tuesday this year, which means both Christmas Day and Boxing Day are public bank holidays.

Below we've included information about when benefits such as Tax Credits, Child Benefit, Employment Support Allowance, Jobseeker's Allowance as well as Universal Credit are scheduled to be paid this Christmas.

Tax credits

If you're expecting to receive tax credits on December 25 to 27, you'll instead receive them on December 24.

Tax credits due to be paid on December 28 will be paid on December 27 (England, Scotland and Wales only – recipients in Northern Ireland will be paid on December 28).

If you're expecting to be paid on January 1 or January 2 – it will be paid on December 31.

Lastly, tax credits due to be paid on January 3 will be paid on January 2 (England, Wales and Northern Ireland only – January 2 is a public holiday in Scotland so those in the country expecting to receive the money on January 3 will be paid on December 31).

You can check your tax credit payment dates in advance by visiting's website.

If your payment is late, check the payment date on your award notice and contact your bank before calling the tax credit helpline.

Child benefit

Usually child benefit is paid every four weeks on a Monday or Tuesday, but you can also get it paid weekly if you're a single parent or if you or your partner are getting certain benefits, such as Income Support.

If your child benefit payment is due on December 25, you'll be paid on December 24.

The same payment date also applies if you're due to receive your child benefit on January 1.

You can work out when you're next going to get child benefit by counting four weeks from your last payment, although this doesn't apply if your payment was due on a bank holiday.

If your last payment was moved because of a bank holiday, you'll have to count four weeks from your usual payment date.

If your payment is late, double-check your payment date and contact your bank before calling the child benefit office.

Seven simple ways to save for Christmas

  • Set aside a cupboard for Christmas: Buy non-perishables you will need when they are on sale and put them away
  • Note down the prices of all the gifts you want to buy: When Black Friday and Cyber Monday come round in a few weeks’ time, you can see if the “reductions” are genuine
  • Handmade gifts save you lots of money: They can take a long time to put together, start to pick up now what you need to make them when you see the right items on sale
  • Stockpile your loyalty points: Then cash them in on your big Christmas shop to save a small fortune
  • Put away £1 every day from now until Christmas: You will have almost £50 for any last-minute gifts or food for Christmas. Or put away £100 so January doesn’t feel so tight
  • Try an IOU gift: Make a note promising a gift of time for babysitting, say, or cleaning. Or offer to buy a much-wanted present you can’t yet afford in the Boxing Day sales
  • Ditch your daily bought coffee: You could save a whopping £80 in the run-up to Xmas.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit recipients won't see their payments delayed because of the Christmas and New Year Bank Holidays – instead many will be paid early.

If your payment is due on December 25 or 26, you'll receive your money on December 24.

Universal credit payments due on December 29 and 30 will be paid on December 28, while payments due on January 1 will be paid on New Year's Eve – December 31.

People who usually get paid on December 27 to 28, December 31 or January 2 will be paid the same day as planned.

Employment support allowance and Jobseeker's allowance

Employment support allowance (ESA) and Jobseeker's allowance (JSA) are usually paid every two weeks.

If your payment is due on December 24 to 26, you'll receive the money on December 21.

Or if you're expecting to get paid on January 1, you'll receive the funds on December 31.

People who usually get paid on December 27 to 28, December 31 or January 2 will be paid the same day as planned as long as they live in England,  Wales or Northern Ireland

Meanwhile, recipients in Scotland will receive their payments on December 31 instead due to a bank holiday.

In November, it was revealed that benefits will be frozen for the fourth year in a row, leaving struggling Brits £200 a year worse off.

Meanwhile, thousands of Brits are owed £5,000 each after having their benefits underpaid for several years.

Soaring power bills also means parents will buy 13million fewer Christmas presents this year, but you may be entitled to financial support if you're struggling.

As the temperature drops, recipients of certain benefits are eligible for the Cold Weather Payment scheme, which hands out £25 for each seven day period of cold weather in between November and March.

If you're not eligible for this but are still finding it difficult to pay for the heating of your home, here's a list of all your options.

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