Tuesday, 15 December 2020

Questions (377)

Joe Flaherty

Question:

377. Deputy Joe Flaherty asked the Minister for Social Protection if consideration will be given to including recipients of the family income support payment in the bonus payment scheme for 2021 (details supplied). [43253/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The Christmas Bonus is paid to 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 their social welfare payment for all or most of their income.

In recognition of the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on employment levels and the sudden financial impact on individuals, the Bonus was paid this year, on an exceptional basis, to those in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) for a period of four months or more and who were in payment on the date the Bonus is paid. It was also paid to people on jobseeker payments who have been in receipt of these payments for four months or more.

The Working Family Payment (WFP) is an in-work support which provides an income top-up for employees on low earnings with children. It is designed to prevent in-work poverty for low paid workers with child dependants and to offer a financial incentive to take-up employment. To qualify for WFP, a person must be engaged in full-time insurable employment which is expected to last for at least 3 months and be working for a minimum of 38 hours per fortnight or 19 hours per week. The payment was previous called the Family Income Supplement.

As WFP is a supplementary payment rather than a main source of income, recipients are not eligible for the Christmas Bonus.

However, a person on another social welfare payment, while concurrently on WFP, will receive the Christmas Bonus on their social welfare payment if they satisfy the criteria for receipt of the Bonus on that scheme.

Any change to the current eligibility criteria for the Christmas Bonus payment would have to be considered in the overall policy and budgetary context.