Families in receipt of Universal Credit, child benefits, tax credits and more financial help are being warned their payment dates will vary over Christmas and New Year - with some likely to get paid early.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) - which manages the payments - has published a list of the key dates for your diary over the festive spell.

It said most families will see their payments arrive earlier than usual this year - with many to be paid on December 23.

Child Benefits were first introduced in the 1970s to support working parents with their living costs. Today, it pays around £21.05 a week for the first child and £13.95 per week for subsequent children.

However, if you or your partner have an income of more than £50,000 a year, you will be liable for the High Income Child Benefit charge. This means you'll have to pay 1% of every £100 you earn back to the Government at the end of the tax year. You can read about how this works, here.

Many households will be paid slightly earlier this year

Tax-credits, meanwhile, are entirely separate. This is a benefit paid out to those who need it most, such as families who need help to care for children, those who are disabled workers, and people on low incomes.

There are two types of tax credit – child tax credit and working tax credit. You might be eligible for one or both of them, depending on your circumstances

Those in receipt of Attendance Allowance, the state pension, Carer’s Allowance, Disability Living Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Pension Credit and Personal Independence Payment may also receive early Christmas payments.

You can see a breakdown of these payment dates below.

Baroness Stedman-Scott said: "Jobcentres have been open throughout this pandemic. Our colleagues have provided vital support to the most vulnerable people and will continue to do so over the Christmas period.

"Check these dates and make sure you know when you will be getting your payments."

Benefit payment dates over Christmas and New Year

If your Universal Credit payments typically fall on the 24th of every month, your payment will still arrive on December 24.

However, if it's due between December 26-28, you'll be paid early on December 24.

All other benefits such as the state pension and child tax credits which are due on December 24, will be paid a day early on December 23, the DWP said.

Those expecting their Universal Credit payments - and all other benefits such as PIP - on January 1, will be paid on December 31 instead.