More than 1.3 million people to receive State Christmas bonus from next week

Pensioners, carers, widows, people with disabilities and lone parents to benefit from payments

More than 1.3 million pensioners, carers, people with disabilities, widows and lone parents will be paid the State Christmas bonus next week at a cost of more than €300 million to the exchequer.

Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys said the payment, equal to 100 per cent of a normal weekly social welfare payment, will be made in addition to that payment.

The bonus is being paid to 494,100 recipients of the contributory state pension and 93,636 people who receive the non-contributory state pension.

Some 155,470 people on disability allowance will also receive the bonus.

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Just over 94,000 people in receipt of the jobseeker’s allowance will be paid the bonus, as will 17,500 people on long-term illness benefit who will receive the bonus for the first time.

The bonus is also being paid to 12,940 widows and 90,790 on a carer’s allowance.

The Christmas bonus payments are in addition to seven lump sum payments already being made to support households with the cost of living crisis over the last six weeks.

The combined cost of the eight lump sum payments is more than €1.2 billion.

“Christmas is a very special time of the year, but it can be an expensive period for individuals and families, particularly given the current cost of living,” said Ms Humphreys.

Explaining the extension of the payment to people on long-term illness benefit, she said the vast majority were on the benefit for a very short period of time but there are “a small cohort of people with serious medical conditions who remain on the payment for longer periods of time.”

“These are people who have worked all their lives, paid their PRSI and then have to take time out of the workforce due to serious and possibly long-lasting health conditions,” she said.

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell is The Irish Times’s Public Affairs Editor and former Washington correspondent