The Department for Work and Pensions has confirmed Christmas changes to Universal Credit and other benefits along with new fraud checks.

With November just around the corner, another festive season is almost upon us with eyes now turning to Christmas festivities and buying gifts for family and friends.

For most people this is one of the most expensive times of the year and it is therefor important to keep on top of your finances.

READ MORE: Nine announcements to expect from Rishi Sunak's Autumn Budget

For people who rely on benefits such as Universal Credit, Personal Independence Payments (PIP), Jobseeker's Allowance and Incapacity Benefit it is also vital to know about changes to payments in the run up to December 25.

As Mirror Online reports, payment dates for benefits will change over the festive period and may not arrive when you expect them to.

A lot of claimants have already been affected by the £20 cut to Universal Credit, with the temporary uplift suspended by the government.

This, combined with over Covid support measures such as furlough and the self-employed income support scheme grants coming to an end, means this Christmas could be a lot tougher than usual, so planning is essential.

If you are on benefits, here is what you need to know this Christmas:

Christmas benefit payment dates

Benefit payments usually arrive in bank accounts earlier than expected over the Christmas period.

This is because Universal Credit and other benefits aren’t paid on the weekend or bank holidays.

Being paid earlier does have some advantages, such as getting access to your cash - but it does mean you’ll need to make this money stretch further as you'll have a longer wait until your next payment.

Christmas falls on a Saturday and Boxing Day on Sunday. This means that both Monday, December 27, and Tuesday, December 28, will both be official bank holidays this year.

So if your benefit payment is due to hit your bank account on 25, 26, 27 or 28 of December, you will instead receive it on Friday, December 24.

If you are due to be paid on 1, 2 or 3 of January you will be paid on Friday, December 31.

Christmas benefit £10 bonus

Those who claim certain benefits should receive a £10 bonus from the government at the start of December.

The one-off payment isn't offered to those who only claim Universal Credit.

It is instead given to those in receipt of PIP, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Incapacity Benefit and other payments.

You can see the full list here.

But some families have called the £10 payment an "insult" at a time when millions will struggle to heat their homes this winter.

Working tax credit changes

People who claim Working Tax Credit have not needed to tell HMRC about temporary reductions in their working hours during the Covid pandemic.

This has meant even if your hours were cut, you would have been treated as if you worked your normal hours and your benefit payment wouldn't have been affected.

But HMRC says this requirement will return from November 25.

This means any changes to your working hours must be declared within one month or you could face a £300 fine.

New benefit fraud checks

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has introduced new measures to tackle fraud and verify claimants live in the UK.

The new rules see Universal Credit claimants asked to take a photo outside their home and next to their street sign, as well as with a copy of their local newspaper.

But the DWP said the new checks are a last resort and have only been requested from a "small number" of applicants.

It said claimants will be able to request an in-person assessment where they are unable to submit the evidence.

New support for Scottish claimant

Benefit changes are coming for families and carers who live in Scotland.

A new Child Disability Payment is being introduced to replace the Disability Living Allowance for children from November 22.

Payments range from £23.70 per week to £89.60 depending on the individual circumstances of your child.

Families who are eligible for free school meals will also get an extra £160 per child before Christmas.

Meanwhile, those who get Carers Allowance in Scotland will see their December payment double to £462.80.

Download the LancsLive app for free on iPhone here and Android here.

Have you got news for us? Contact our newsdesk on [email protected].

Get all the latest news, sport and what's on stories sent to your inbox daily with the LancsLive newsletter here.