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.
As illness benefit is a short-term scheme, recipients are not eligible for the Christmas Bonus payment.
Illness benefit recipients who are permanently incapable of work may be eligible for the non-means-tested invalidity pension (subject to satisfying the relevant medical criteria and contribution conditions). Those who are substantially restricted in undertaking suitable employment arising from a medical condition may be eligible for the means-tested disability allowance (subject to the relevant medical criteria). Recipients of both of these payments are eligible for the Christmas Bonus.
Any change to the current eligibility criteria for the Christmas Bonus payment would have to be considered in the overall policy and budgetary context.