I was pleased to announce as part of Budget 2021 that the Christmas Bonus will be paid this year at a rate of 100% to an estimated 1.5 million recipients, at a cost of €349.3 million.
Usually, the Bonus is only paid to recipients of long-term social welfare payments, who are dependent upon their social welfare payment for most or all of their income for what is normally a prolonged period. In that regard, the only jobseekers that usually qualify for a Bonus are those on Jobseeker’s Allowance who have been in receipt of a payment for 15 months or more.
In recognition of the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on employment levels and the sudden financial impact on individuals, the Bonus will be paid this year to people have been in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment for a period of four months or more and are in payment on the date the Bonus is paid. It will also be paid to people on jobseeker payments who have been in receipt of these payments for four months or more. This four month period does not necessarily need to be continuous.
The decision to reduce the time from 15 months to four to become eligible for the Bonus was made to ensure that it is paid to those who have been made unemployed for a significant period since the first shutdown of businesses, and also to reflect the exceptional situation brought about by the pandemic.