Over 32,000 people have not received benefit payments in time for Christmas due to an “administrative error” at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
Claimants were due to be paid on Christmas Eve, but will not find the money in their bank accounts until Friday 27 December.
The benefit categories affected include: Jobseekers Allowance, Employment Support Allowance, Social Fund and certain types of pension.
The majority of people affected include those expecting one-off payments, such as Social Fund crisis loans, and those receiving benefits for the first time.
People owed arrears and, “in a very few cases”, pension-related arrears, are also affected.
The DWP said claimants would receive their money within three hours if they called the department or a Jobcentre by 5pm on Christmas Eve.
A spokesman said the problem had only affected a “limited number” of claimants, totalling 32,200. Jobcentre staff were trying to process payments to those who got in touch.
The spokesman added: “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 the 27th December, rather than the 24th," he said.