I propose to take Questions Nos. 240 to 242, inclusive, together.
The Christmas Bonus is being paid this week to some 1.2 million long-term social welfare recipients, such as pensioners, people with disabilities, carers, lone parents and the long-term unemployed in recognition of their long-term financial dependence on social welfare payments for all of most of their income.
Recipients of short term payments such as Jobseeker’s Benefit, Illness Benefit, Maternity Benefit are not eligible to receive the Christmas Bonus.
Jobseeker’s Allowance, Supplementary Welfare Allowance and Daily Expenses Allowance recipients must have been in receipt of an eligible payment for at least 15 months in order to qualify for a Bonus payment.
It is estimated that extending the bonus payment to recipients of Jobseekers Benefit would cost €6.4m this year, while extending the payment to short-term Jobseekers Allowance recipients would cost €10.4m
Any change to the current eligibility criteria for the Christmas Bonus payment would have to be considered in the overall policy and budgetary context.