UK & World News
Christmas Benefit Payments: Thousands Miss Out
Tens of thousands of people have not received benefit payments in time for Christmas.
The money for jobseekers, low earners and pensioners had been due to arrive in their accounts on Tuesday, but will now not arrive until Friday.
Up to 32,000 people are believed to be affected. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) blamed an administration error.
Those affected include new claimants, those owed arrears and people awarded Social Fund budgeting loans for essentials such as clothes, rent and furniture.
The DWP said that if individuals had contacted them by 5pm last night the payment would have been rushed through within three hours.
A spokesman said: "The vast majority of regular benefit payments have been made on time this Christmas.
"However due to an administrative issue, a number of one-off or more irregular payments will now be paid on December 27 rather than December 24.
"We have procedures in place to ensure that anyone who has been affected by this and who contacted us would have had their benefits paid, usually within three hours.
"We apologise for any inconvenience caused."
A total of 32,200 people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance, Employment Support Allowance, Social Fund and certain categories of pension could have been hit by the delay, the spokesman said.
:: Watch Sky News live on television, on Sky channel 501, Virgin Media channel 602, Freeview channel 82 and Freesat channel 202.