2022 has been a tough year for people across the UK, what with the scale of the cost of living crisis the nation has faced.
Hikes to everything from food prices to energy bills and the cost of a tank of petrol have dented our purchasing power and have pushed many people into outright poverty. While inflation fell back in November, research by think tank the Resolution Foundation found it still remained higher for the country’s poorest tenth of households - sitting at 12.1% compared to the 10.7% recorded by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The government has pledged to uplift benefits in line with inflation and increase the National Living Wage - although taxes are also set for significant rises in 2023.
It all means financial planning has become even more important this Christmas, particularly for people on low incomes and those reliant on state benefits like Universal Credit and Child Benefit.
Bank holidays can sometimes throw a spanner in the works when it comes to making these plans, as your benefit payment dates can change. The biggest one of them all - Christmas Day 2022 - is now fast-approaching.
So, how will it change your benefit payment dates this year - and how will they work out over the New Year period? Here’s what you need to know.
When is Christmas 2022?
25 December falls on a Sunday this year, meaning Christmas 2022 is going to be spread across a four-day weekend. When one or both of Christmas and Boxing Day falls on a weekend, the following weekday becomes a bank holiday.
So, in 2022, there will be bank holidays on Monday 26 December and Tuesday 27 December. The rest of the week is classed as a normal working week.
What does Christmas 2022 mean for benefits payments?
If your benefits payment from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is due to go into your bank account on a bank holiday or a weekend day, it will typically appear on the working day before that date instead.
So, in practice, it means that payments set to arrive on 24, 25, 26 or 27 of the month will instead be paid on Friday 23 December this Christmas. If you get your payment on the 31st, first or second of the month, it should appear on Friday 30 December 2022.
For those who receive a form of benefit that is paid out fortnightly - including Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Income Support and Jobseeker's Allowance - any payment dates falling on bank holidays will instead be moved to the last working day beforehand.
Anyone who is paid their benefits on a different date from those listed above can expect their DWP benefits to arrive as per their usual date.
When will I be paid the DWP Christmas bonus?
A one-off Christmas bonus is set to be paid alongside some state benefits this Christmas. The tax-free £10 should be paid out automatically alongside your regular payments. These are the types of benefits that qualify:
- Adult Disability Payment
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- Attendance Allowance
- Carer’s Allowance
- Child Disability Payment
- Constant Attendance Allowance (paid under Industrial Injuries or War Pensions schemes)
- Contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance (once the main phase of the benefit is entered after the first 13 weeks of claim)
- Disability Living Allowance
- Incapacity Benefit at the long-term rate
- Industrial Death Benefit (for widows or widowers)
- Mobility Supplement
- Pension Credit - the guarantee element
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- State Pension (including Graduated Retirement Benefit)
- Severe Disablement Allowance (transitionally protected)
- Unemployability Supplement or Allowance (paid under Industrial Injuries or War Pensions schemes)
- War Disablement Pension at State Pension age
- War Widow’s Pension
- Widowed Mother’s Allowance
- Widowed Parent’s Allowance
- Widow’s Pension
What other support is available over Christmas?
There are several ongoing cost of living support measures the government has introduced in a bid to help people through the winter months. The two most notable ones are the £400 energy bills support grant and the energy price guarantee.
The former should already have automatically taken £66 off your bill for October and November and will then discount £67 from your bills monthly between December 2022 and March 2023. Those with old prepay meters have been sent vouchers they can use to have the discount applied to their card or key.
Meanwhile, the energy price guarantee support is being applied at wholesale energy market level, so you won’t notice any difference. But it means your unit prices and standing charges will be capped until April 2024.
More support from the government is due to arrive in 2023, with Jeremy Hunt announcing several new payments in his Autumn Statement 2022.