Christmas welfare bonus


A full week's Christmas bonus is to be restored to all recipients of long-term social welfare payments this year.

The "double week" was paid to long-term social welfare recipients up to 1985, when it was reduced to 75 per cent of a week's payment. It was further reduced in 1986 to 65 per cent and increased to 70 per cent in 1989. The restored 100 per cent bonus will be paid to more than 716,000 people in early December, at an estimated cost of £66 million.

For a lone parent with four children, the payment will amount to an extra £138.30.

The Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs, Mr Ahern, announcing the increase yesterday, said he was aware of "the financial pressures faced by people on limited income at Christmas time".

The Christmas bonus will apply to the following pension and benefit categories: invalidity; old age; widows; widowers; orphans and retirement pensions; occupational injuries benefit; disability allowance; pre-retirement allowance; carer's allowance; deserted wife's allowance and benefit; prisoner's wife's allowance; employment support schemes; long-term unemployment assistance; and farm assistance.