What is the Christmas Bonus in Ireland?

If you get social welfare payments, you could be entitled to some extra cash this Christmas. Here’s all you need to know about the social welfare Christmas bonus.

So, what is it?

It’s an extra payment made in time for Christmas for anyone getting a long term social welfare benefit.

The money is to help towards some of the additional costs you’re faced with over the festive season.

When is it paid?

The 2021 Christmas bonus will be paid to everyone who qualifies, in the week commencing 6th December.

How much is it?

This is decided in October each year, when the Budget’s announced. It can be part or all of your usual weekly welfare payment.

This year it’s 100% of your normal weekly payment and this includes:

  • Living Alone increase
  • Island Allowance
  • Over 80 increase

The minimum bonus payment will be €20. If you’re eligible for two social welfare payments, you’ll get the Christmas bonus for both of them.

How is it paid?

It’s paid along with your welfare payment so you’ll get double your usual amount that week.

You don’t have to apply for the bonus, if you qualify you’ll automatically get it.

If your dependent spouse, civil partner or cohabitant currently gets an Increase for a Qualified Adult (IQA) payment, then they’ll also get the Christmas bonus paid directly to them.

Who is entitled to the bonus?

If you’ve been receiving the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) or equivalent Jobseeker’s Payments for four months or more, you’ll qualify for the bonus.

Some other examples of qualifying welfare payments for the Christmas bonus include:

  • State pension - contributory and non contributory
  • Disability allowance
  • Invalidity pension
  • Back to work family dividend
  • One parent family payment
  • Farm Assist
  • Gateway
  • Domiciliary Care Allowance

There are many more qualifying payment types, check here for the full list.

Domiciliary Care Allowance is paid monthly but it’s still just 100% of the weekly amount that you’ll receive for the bonus.

Some payments such as basic Supplementary Welfare Allowance only qualify if you’ve been getting them for 15 months or more.

If you’re getting any type of social welfare payment, it’s worth checking if you qualify.