What happens to your benefits payments over the festive period? Knowing what changes when banks, post offices and HMRC close is really important. Whether you’re on temporary or long-term benefits, it can be confusing about what happens to your payments over the festive season, as many banks and government offices are closed on days that they usually wouldn’t be.
What happens to your benefits payments over the festive period? Whether you’re on temporary or long-term benefits, it can be confusing about what happens to your payments over the festive season, as many banks and government offices are closed on days that they usually wouldn’t be.
Being on benefits is a normal part of everyday life for many British families and while some tabloids may portray ‘being on benefits’ as a negative, the welfare available to us in the UK means that well over 60% of families receive some kind of financial help from the government.
Another issue that many who rely on benefits face is the sheer expense of the festive season. It’s the time of year where we’re expected to participate in a number of traditions and activities, which all – unfortunately – cost money. And for many reliant on benefits, that money simply isn’t available. Read on to find out more about when your benefits are due this year and what extra help could be available to you.
What if my payment is due on Christmas Day?
If you are due to receive a benefit payment or allowance on 24th, 25th or 26th December, your payment will be given to you early on the 24th December (Christmas Eve). This should prevent you from having to stretch out your previous payment (if any) for longer than usual.
What if my payment is due around New Year’s Day?
If you are due a payment on the 1st January 2015 then you will receive this on the 31st December instead – a day early. Please note: if you live in Northern Ireland then you will still receive this payment on the 31st December. If your payment date falls on the 1st or 2nd January 2015, your payment will come in early on the 31st December (New Year’s Eve). If you are due a payment on the 5th January and you live in Scotland then you will receive this as normal.
Are There any Special Christmas Payments?
Unfortunately there’s no such thing as a benefits Christmas bonus, but you may be eligible for a Cold Weather Payment if the temperature in your area falls to 0˚c or below for 7 days in a row. For each 7 days of freezing temperatures, you could receive £25. Check with your local Pension Centre or Jobcentre Plus office to find out if you’re eligible.
What if I’m Struggling to Get Enough Food?
If you’re going without meals because you can’t afford to eat, or if you are worried that the cupboards will be bare over Christmas itself, then your local Foodbank could be able to help you. Don’t suffer in silence – your GP or benefits office can provide Foodbank vouchers up to three times before making any further enquiries into your finances. It may also be useful to check your local listings for special Christmas Day events for those on a low income. Many towns and cities in the UK have free events running which will ensure you and your family are well-fed on Christmas Day and have the right information and support for the days, weeks and months beyond.
If you have other queries about accessing your benefits during the festive season the best place to go is Jobcentre Plus or your local Pension Centre.
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