Up to 32,000 people have not received benefit payments in time for Christmas due to an administrative error.
Money for some jobseekers, low earners and pensioners was due to go into accounts today, but will not now arrive until December 27.
Those affected include new claimants, those owed arrears, and people awarded Social Fund budgeting loans for "essentials" such as clothes, rent and furniture.
The Department for Work and Pensions stressed that if individuals had contacted them by 5pm this evening the payment will have been rushed through within three hours.
Iain Duncan Smith has claimed that the benefit cap has already pushed more people in to work before it starts in four London boroughs on Monday.
The Government's welfare reform plan is due to replace several different benefits in 2013 including Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credit, Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance, and Working Tax Credit.
The Coalition Government has identified two key problems with the current system: work incentives are poor, and the system is too complex.
They are reforming the system to help people to move into and progress in work, while supporting the most vulnerable.
Universal Credit is also intended to encourage claimants to work, by allowing them to keep more of their benefits when they start to earn.
Calls have grown to get tough on scroungers who costs the tax payer all more than £1billion a year – enough to pay for 40 secondary schools or the salaries of 30,000 nurses, reports the Daily Express.
Benefits cheats should be shamed by having their photo pinned to every lamppost in their street, an official at the Department for Work and Pensions said.
Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Liam Byrne, has given his reaction to reports that the DWP has announced a full internal audit into its relationship with A4e.