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.
Last year, in recognition of the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic had on employment levels and the sudden financial impact on individuals, the Bonus was also paid to those in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment for a period of four months or more and who were in payment on the date the Bonus was paid. It was also paid to people on equivalent jobseeker payments who had been in receipt of these payments for four months or more.
As is the case every year, the payment of a Christmas Bonus is a discretionary decision made by Government in the context of the annual Budget process and available resources. Any decision to pay the bonus this year, and the eligibility criteria should it be paid, will be made in an overall budgetary context, and announced as part of Budget 2022.
I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.