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Benefits staff to strike over Christmas – find out if your payments are affected

BENEFITS staff will now strike over Christmas in a dispute over pay.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is taking industrial action over the festive period.

Do the benefits strikes affect your payments?

Benefits workers will be walking out from December 19 to December 30.

It comes as the union demands a 10% pay rise for its staff.

Around 200 back office benefits staff are expected to take part along with 30 at three offices in Liverpool and one in Doncaster.

However, the strike should not affect anyone’s benefits payments as it stands.

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) said the “targeted” action would cover only a fraction of the union’s DWP members, but warned more dates are likely to follow.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Our members have been plunged into ever-increasing depths of poverty.

“They shouldn’t have to rely on food banks to feed their children or be forced to make the choice of either working from home because the journey into work is too expensive or working in the cold under blankets because the cost of heating is too expensive.”

What could affect benefit payments?

Although benefit payments aren’t affected by the strike, the union expect to disrupt benefit “conditionality” interviews which would usually lead to sanctions.

You could be sanctioned if you’re:

  • Not applying for work
  • Refusing a job offer
  • You have quit your job
  • You’re constantly late to Jobcentre appointments
  • You haven’t updated your information

Bank holidays can also affect when you usually get paid – so this year, if you usually get money on the 26th or 27th of each month, it’ll come through on December 23.

It’s because Boxing Day is a bank holiday and the 27th is a “substituted” bank holiday day for Christmas Day – and payments aren’t made on these days.

If you’re on any of the below benefits, and you’re scheduled to get paid on December 26 or 27, you should get the payment on the 23rd instead:

  • State Pension
  • Employment support allowance (ESA)
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Personal Independence Payments (PIP)
  • Attendance Allowance

If you normally get paid on the 24th or 25th of each month, you should also receive your payment on December 23.

This applies to those on Tax Credits as well.

Those on Child Benefits who usually get paid on the 26th or 27th of the month will be paid on December 23.

For bank holidays in Scotland and Northern Ireland, which are different, households may be paid after their usual payment date.

If you don’t receive your benefit payment on time, it’s worth checking with your bank first before contacting the DWP.

If something’s not right, you can also submit a complaint to the DWP.

It’s important to keep your information up to date as well as, if your circumstances change, it could affect your benefits.

Meanwhile, millions on benefits will receive a £10 tax-free Christmas bonus in the first full week of December this year.

Eligible households receive the cash from today (December 5).

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