Tuesday, 8 December 2020

Questions (398)

Neale Richmond


398. Deputy Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will consider adding those who are on maternity benefit to the list of those eligible to receive the Christmas bonus for 2021; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41783/20]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The Christmas Bonus will be paid in the week beginning 7th December to social welfare recipients such as pensioners, people with disabilities, carers, and lone parents in recognition of their long-term financial dependence on social welfare payments for all, or most, of their income.  Short-term schemes, including Maternity Benefit, do not qualify for the Christmas Bonus. 

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, on an exceptional basis, to people in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment for a period totalling 17 weeks or more and who 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. 

In total, the Bonus will be paid to 1.6 million people, at a cost of €390 million. 

Any changes would have to be considered in the overall policy and budgetary context.