Universal Credit payment warning – last chance to make claim before Christmas

Struggling Brits who need extra support this Christmas only have days to make a vital claim.

More and more vulnerable households have been relying on state support this year after the pandemic left workers with reduced income.

Many have turned to Universal Credit, which is a combination of benefit payments.

But typically it takes five weeks for the first Universal Credit payment to drop into your bank account.

That means you only have today to get your application in if you want your payout before Christmas.

Those who claim a few days later might still be lucky and get their money in time for the festive break, Birmingham Live reported.

That is because initial payments that would normally arrive on the 27th or 28th would be moved forward due to the bank holiday weekend.

In theory, money would arrive on December 24, the last working day before the break.

One other option to get the money earlier would be to apply for an advance payment. This is an upfront 'loan' up to the value of your first expected Universal Credit payment – so it has to be paid back out of future benefit amounts.

An advance payment should usually arrive in someone's account after two banking days but you may be able to get it on the same day you put in the request.

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Contact the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644 if you want same-day payment of this advance.

All claimants wait a minimum of five weeks for their first payment of UC – one month during which a person's finances are assessed and their benefit calculated and a further five days for the payment to then arrive in their account.

In contrast, the benefits Universal Credit replaces were paid as soon as the claim was processed, with targets of between five days (Income Support) and 22 days (Tax Credits).

It comes after claimants were told that they could see a rise in how much they get paid.

The government has finally closed a loophole that saw some households punished for being paid twice in a month.

Until now, if a worker received two pay packets during an ‘assessment period’ then they were recorded as over-earning.

That would lead to a reduced payment the month after as the Department for Work and Pensions incorrectly assumed you were earning more per month than thought.

But the DWP was ordered to change the system after a group of single mums took the situation to the Court of Appeal and won.

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