Welfare Christmas Bonus 2015

(Update – 2016 Christmas Bonus Payment Date Here )

In 2009 the Social Welfare Christmas Bonus was abolished by the previous Government. The bonus payment used to be a full extra weeks payment – resulting in a double payment in one of the weeks in December.
In the last Budget, in 2014 , the bonus was partially  restored   – but it was only set at 25% of the weekly payment for Christmas 2014.   Details Here.

In  Budget 2016 the bonus was increased to 75% of the weekly payment. This bonus  will be paid out to recipients along with their normal payments  during the week beginning November 30th  2015. Anyone getting monthly payments will get any bonus due to them in the December payment.

(I.e if your weekly welfare or pension payment is €180  your bonus will be 75% of that (€135) . Last year it would have been just  €45. ) That equates to a 200% increase to the bonus.  See below for more examples.


Note that for Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA) which is paid monthly the bonus is 75% of the weekly payment.
The Christmas Bonus does not include Fuel Allowance. The minimum Christmas Bonus payment is €20.

About 1.3 million people  will benefit from the Christmas Bonus  (almost 892,000 recipients and an estimated 400,000 dependents) .

The new 75%  bonus  will mean approximately €200 million total  “bonus”  will be paid out nationally just before Christmas.  That will keep the retailers happy.
It equates to an extra bonus of €134 million compared to last year.

Just for comparison – in the UK there is also a similar Christmas Bonus for pensioners and other welfare recipents – but it is just £10 and  is not paid to people on the “dole”.

Sample Figures for Christmas Bonuses:

Single Pensioner (Contributory)  – Weekly Pension =  €230.30   . Bonus of €172.70
Pensioner Couple – Weekly payment = €438. Bonus will be  €328.50
Jobseekers  Single Person – Weekly payment = €188.  Bonus will be €141.00 .
Jobseekers – Couple + 2 children. Weekly payment =  €372.40. Bonus will be €279.30

See more details of Christmas 2015 Welfare Payment Arrangements

History of the Christmas Bonus

The Christmas bonus payment  for welfare recipients and pensioners was first introduced in December 1980 as a 100% bonus, and continued at that level until 1984. This was reduced to 75% in 1985 by the Labour-Fine Gael coalition and further reduced by them to 65% in 1986. The Fiánna Fail-Progressive Democrat coalition increased this to 70% from 1989.
In 200o it was increased to 100% by Fianna Fail until it was removed in 2009 by Fianna Fail / Greens. It was restored to 25% by Fine Gael/ Labour in 2014 and now it is at 75%.

The following payment types are eligible for Christmas Bonus in Ireland.

Back to Education Allowance (people coming from Jobseeker’s payments must have been on their payment and/or BTEA for 15 months)
Back to Work Allowance Back to Work Enterprise Allowance
Basic Supplementary Welfare Allowance (long-term only – over 391 days or 15 months)
Blind Pension
Carer’s Allowance and Benefit
Community Employment
Deserted Wife’s Allowance and Benefit
Disability Allowance
Disablement Pension and Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s Pension under the Occupational Injuries Scheme
Domiciliary Care Allowance
Farm Assist
Guardian’s Payment (Contributory) and (Non-Contributory)
Invalidity Pension
Job Initiative
JobBridge (people coming from jobseeker’s payments must have been on their payment and/or JobBridge for 15 months)
Jobseeker’s Allowance (long-term only – over 390 days or 15 months)
Jobseeker’s Allowance (Transition)
Magdalen Laundry Payments
One-Parent Family Payment
Partial Capacity Benefit
Pre-Retirement Allowance
Rural Social Scheme
State Pension (Contributory), (Non-Contributory) and (Transition)
Widow, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s Pension (Contributory) and (Non-Contributory)
VTOS (people coming from jobseeker’s payments must have been on their payment and/or VTOS for 15 months)
Blind Welfare Allowance, Mobility Allowance, and rehabilitative training allowances from the HSE.
Survivors of Thalidomide who get payments from the Department of Health
It is paid to certain participants on some Further Education and Training courses funded by SOLAS (people coming from jobseeker’s payments must have been on their payment and/or training allowance for 15 months).

114 thoughts on “Welfare Christmas Bonus 2015

  1. This is a joke so people who have just returned to education and are just on the BTEA are not entitled to this goes to show the government haven’t got a clue and wont be getting any votes from students anytime soon. WASTERS

    • If you were on jobseekers for 15 months before going on BTEA, you WILL get the Christmas bonus.

  2. This is a joke. Your article mentioned a 100% increase in the Christmas Bonus. This is juggling with figures. It still stands at 50% of what the bonus was originally. Your article should read this figure falls short by 50% to a full restoration of Christmas Bonus to pensioners and Welfare recipients. Lets face it €90.00 wont go far, it wouldn’t buy you a decent basket of groceries.

  3. It is a joke I work 19 hrs get fis and raising to boys one in school and one in college no other income and I don’t qualify for Xmas bonus better not call looking for vote

    • I agree Rosaleen, I too am working part-time & receiving FIS. I had my loan parent replaced by FIS earlier this year (minus €70). I am now not entitled to the Christmas bonus either because I work 19 hours a week. Joke!

    • Yes I agree, I am working part-time 19 hrs per week, and get FIS have one son in college and one son in training. Getting no Christmas bonus is a joke indeed, I thought that a social welfare payment was paid and it was across the board, I have to pay college expenses and also have to feed and cloth them.
      Do not call to my door for a vote in the Spring Election…

  4. if there is a Christmas bonus will there be any other increase in payments like Disability Allowance after Christmas, or are they still sticking to the same payment we have now!? Or are we likely to see cuts again!?

  5. Why should non-struggling pensioners get a christmas bonus?. The state pension contributory is not means tested.The majority of other recipients of the christmas bonus are on means tested payments, the people it was designed to help.

  6. There seems to be a big divide over this bonus – workers v non-workers. I understand that workers may feel its unfair to give people who don’t work ‘money for nothing’ when they are working hard but its not always so black and white. Like many others I would love nothing else than to be earning my own money and bringing home a good wage each month but that’s not possible right now. I am physically restricted and reliant on a wheelchair. I am dependent on my Disability Allowance to pay my bills and keep a roof above my head just like many others; nothing is left for luxury or even Christmas. So personally I will be relying on this bonus just to buy small token gifts for the few people that are important to me as well as trying to buy food for dinner. We all know €90.00 doesn’t go far but it all helps.

    • I gues you mean Illness Benefit ? This is not classed as a long term benefit. People on Disability Allowance will get the bonus.

  7. I am currently on Maternity benefit and it is my only source of income at the moment and i am struggling big time and i find it a joke that i am not entitled to the christmas bonus as i have paid my taxes for years now and i then take time off to look after my baby and am entitled to nothing?? People getting a bonus that can and have not worked a day in their life its a disgrace!!

    • I totally agree, I am also on maternity leave and have a child to support. Where is my xmas bonus for me and my son. The rules and regulations surrounding the Christmas bonus are a complete and utter joke!!!

    • Im furious that people on maternity leave are not entitled to the christmas bonus!! Im supposed to survive on my miserable 230 for christmas! Whereas the next person who is getting jobseekers and who has a child gets their payment and bonus..where is the fairness??? I work hard all year and i get nothing!!!!

  8. I was on a CE SCHEME up to june 14,I had to go on illness benefit through no fault of my own,I then lost my fuel allowance and my Christmas bonus entitlement. I was entitled to these payments if I had been still on the scheme or on Jobseekers.My illness benefit does not even pay the same amount as i was getting on the CE scheme.I am now worse off through no fault of my own.THANKS ENDA.

    • The rules for the Christmas bonus were set up back in 1990’s – if the qualification rules are not fair you should contact your TD.


      • To be fair – the rules on Christmas Bonus were set up years ago – nothing to do with current government.

  9. I find it very unfair that people on jobseekers benefit are not entitled to this, I worked and paid taxes from the day I turned 18, the business I worked for closed down earlier this year, I have been actively seeking employment and had a number of interviews but so are 100s of other people which makes it extremely difficult, but because I paid my taxes up to this year I am not entitled to it, where is the fairness in that!!! The rules need to be changed given to pensioners, carers and anyone else in receipt of social welfare payments actively seeking work instead of just anyone!!!

  10. Will people on National Learning Network Training Courses ( VTOS) who previously were on a Disability Payment for longer than 15 mths be entitled to the Christmas Bonus

    • You might be better directing such specific queries to the Dept of Social Protection. If it’s not on the list shown here it is unlikely to qualify.

  11. Will you have to be 15 months on the social welfare again to be entitled to Christmas bonus?

    • It is paid to certain participants on some Further Education and Training courses funded by SOLAS (people coming from jobseeker’s payments must have been on their payment and/or training allowance for 15 months).

  12. Have been in vtos up to june this year after doing course for 3yrs, now on jobseekers alowance since end if course….will I be entitled to christmas bonus.

  13. my wife is a full-time carer for her badly disabled sister (24/7)to her astonishment she was cut in her carers allowance by 50%.She was told by social services that because i had retired from work( after 45years) and was to claim a dependants allowance for her,she was not entitled to claim two social welfare payments.My wife has to be available 168 hours per week for her half carers allowance of 104euro per week.That works out at just over 50cents per hour.Will somebody please tell me where is the justification in that.

    • I wont ask you I get with my husband an two children 370 euro and how much I get Christmas bonus and when?

  14. My husband hasnt had a job in 3 years, not for lack of seriously trying. He has been on course after course through solas and in 3 years we still have not been eligible for fuel allowance nor the xmas bonus. It makes no sense that to go on training that you loose additional benefits. (I had to stop self employment over 2 years ago due to a car crash and fibromyalgia) Yet again this year we are shy about 6 weeks to qualify for fuel allowance. Its a very unfair, unjust set of rules, that causes so much unnecessary hardship for people. We just about cope and its so disheartening seeing him day after day, searching and applying for jobs and getting no where. He is a qualified carer for heavens sake. The system needs to change drastically so everyone is treated equally and fairly. I certainly wont be voting yet again.

  15. Hi can you tell me if people who were on Jobseeker’s Allowance then went on a vtos course for two years and then back to Jobseeker’s Allowance in June if they are entitled to the Christmas bonus?

  16. Hello just wondering if ya were on long term social welfare payment and have moved to a training course with solas would you still get the christmas bonus

  17. Hi I just went on to disaiblty allowance will I get bouns I was getting jobseeker before that for nearly 7 year

  18. Hi just wondering if somebody is on Fis and divided payment are you entitled to the Christmas bonus

    • Hi Joe – Social Welfare say you have to be on “long term” jobseekers (they class this as more than 15 months) to get the bonus.

      • How is that right ir fair….I have 2 kids I lost my job in august after 10yrs working…whats a different between my kids and someone whos not working or just dont bother to get a job…whos on dole years….my kids eating or want less then others kids whos parents not working long time??? Someone please explain ….if there is any logic argument I would like to hear it….

  19. Hi

    Just wondering if there is a payment the week after the bonus or is it a double payment in that sense?


  20. I’m on Basic Supplementary Welfare Allowance of €100 (under 25) a week since September while I wait for my disability application to process, which I must say is taking an awful long time . €50 straight on rent and the other €50 spent on pure survival. Shocked to see I get no bonus. €75 wouldn’t break the governments bank a/c and it would make an awful difference to me. There’s gonna be some disappoint family members come Christmas as a result of this I’m saddened to say.

  21. We’re in an awful mess the receipt on my partners claims states ‘basic supplementary welfare allowance’. And he was transitioned on to this payment approx eight wks ago due to illness he hasn’t received the Christmas bonus this morning for our family and children. I am fighting the case with the dept.of social and my local TD that his claim was only transferred from JA and not changed?? I am fighting a losing battle??

  22. I’ve just finished up on back to school education and have signed back on jobseekers. I was on jobseekers for more them 15 months before this do I qualify for bonus ???

  23. Through no fault off my own i lost my job last april after spending all my adult life working this is my first xmas on social wefare and i dont get a bonus yet i know a lad personnally who was caught working and signing and he got a bonus. How is this right or fair?? Someone explain please.

  24. my partner is on jobseekers but he is on X and 0 payments does has not got the christmas bonus do you know why not please?

    • Some Part Time workers get Jobseekers “Benefit”. Only those on Jobseekers “Allowance” for more than 15 months will get the bonus.

  25. Hi…im claiming jobseekers and working part time…i get paid by cheque on a tuesday and was wondering if i get christmas bonus?

    • Jobseekers Benefit is not part of the Christmas Bonus scheme. Jobseekers Allowance (over 15 months ) is eligible for the Bonus. If you are working you are getting Jobseekers Benefit

      • hi I have been on jobseekers allowance for 8 and a half months now I am on a solas course the past 7 months am I entitled to Christmas bonus?

      • Hi – if you didn’t get a bonus maybe you should chase it up with the Dept. You have to be on it at least 15 months to get the bonus.

      • If you are getting Jobseekers Allowance (Means Tested) and you have been getting it for 15 months then you should get a bonus. Check with Social Welfare to make sure.

      • I am working part time but my cheque each week clearly states “in respect of jobseekers allowance” but I have not yet received my bonus. Will it be paid this week?

    • I’m on the dole over 15 months. I have worked 4 casual days and informed the social. Will that affect me qualifying for the bounus. 30 hours in total.?


  26. If you finish a 9 month solas training course and then return to draw Jobseeker’s Allowance for 7 months after, would you be entitled to a Christmas bonus?

    • Ann – it depends what you were claiming (if anything) before the course. (people coming from jobseeker’s payments must have been on their payment and/or training allowance for 15 months).
      f you were not claiming Jobseeekers before the course – then the 9 months on the course probably won’t count towards the 15 months. Maybe double check with Welfare -?

      • I was claiming jobseekers allowance also for 7 months prior the course therefore was entitled to training allowance, while on the course last year I received a Christmas bonus. Thanks I will double check with them Just incase.

  27. Hello, I am a single parent, have not worked in over 10 years, I was on lone parents until transitioned to jobseekers last summer, today I was told no bonus, I am not unemployed long enough.
    Very confused right now, any information is a help. I don’t know what questions to start asking, is this a mistake or are there many shocked lone parents in similar situation.
    Anyone? thank you.

    • Sorry but as i found out myself….you have to be claiming jobseekers for 15 months to qualify for the christmas bonus.

  28. when do we receive the Xmas bonus is it Thursday the 3 rd
    We should get it if we get FIS but we don’t

    • Christmas bonus is due this week along with your normal payment. FIS is not one of the eligible benefits though.

      • It is outrageous that the government has transitioned single parents from Lone Parent Payments and now we don’t get a Christmas bonus based on our original payment.Bernie.

    • Hi I receive domiciliary care allowance for my son. Just wondering when the bonus is paid to us. Thanks.

  29. I was on carers allowance for 2 year and moved to jobseekers 3 months ago..
    Should I get the christmas bonas.?
    Nothing recieved today at the post office

      • Hi, I have been on job seekers allowance for a number of years, last September I switched to ptji scheme for 1 year, I switched back to jobseekers straight after, am I entitled?

      • Hi there,

        my husband is currently on Illness benefit, we already dont “qualify” for fuel allowance and now it looks like we wont get the xmas bonus either.. is that correct? thanks.

  30. Once again we are near Christmas the government and our dole offices have again proved white coloured crime still goes on for the lower class people. Merry Christmas to the government called scroge

  31. This is a joke,that’s true,
    one of the rules to claim jobseekers allowance is :” you must look for work”? Who gonna look for work if they are giving bonus as a prize for a people who are long term unemployed, I’m only wandering what’s the difference between let’s say person whos claiming sw for 14 or 15 months? . One gonna get bonus the other ine not,And what about the rest who are not getting Christmas bonus?. Are they worse than the others?. How can separate people like this, how can you decide who should get bonus who’s not?. Is that fair?. Are the people who won’t get the bonus don’t want to have a Christmas? . Can someone explain who made that rule?..

  32. Hi, my patner was on job seekers allowance since last year July and get payment for the whole family, but this September went back to full time education. Though myself is on Carer allowance. Just wandering if we are qualify for the Christmas bonus and if the former months with job seekers count reating to the 15 months. Thanks

  33. My husband was on a 3yr CE scheme which finished up in July,he then drew jobseekers for 2 months before he was offered a 9 month internship with Jobsbridge. Would he be entitled to a christmas bonus?I am not working so he is claiming for me and 3 children?

  34. I am on back to education allowance since September 2014 (jobseekers during the summer of 2014 and 2015) but there is no bonus showing in my online banking? Am I eligible for a bonus?

  35. I am on a community employment scheme. Does every scheme do dates different? I assumed I would get my christmas bonus this week but only got my 208 euro payment.

  36. My husband was on job seekers but switched to vtos is he intiled to Christmas bonus?

  37. I’ve been on JA for 375 days and JB before that for 72 days. Which is way over 15 months. I did not get the Christmas Bonus though, should I follow up on this?

    • Dave – those dates add up to just under 15 months (64 weeks) – 15 months is 65 weeks. Looks like you just missed out.

  38. I was on relieving allowance for 8 months and have been on job seekers allowance for 7 months. Do I qualify for christmas bonus?

  39. Hi,

    I was working from October 2014 to September 2015(full time). I was put on FIS, having been on Lone Parents for 8 years. I am now gone back to college and only recently submitted my application for job seekers transition, will I receive the bonus?

  40. I’m on maternity leave getting payed by the state would I get a double payment does anyone know.?

    • Hi I am on a casual payment on social welfare. I only work 9 hours a week, and I have no definite work at the moment. Am I entitled to a Christmas bonus?

  41. im on illness benefit for over 7 year why don,t illness benefit get a bonus its not fare .

    • Illness Benefit should only be paid for 2 years . How come you have been getting it for 7 years. Have you been getting it constantly for all that time?

  42. hi,

    I am on a Fas Course, didnt get Christmas bonus last year but I was only on Dole about 7 months,but I didnt get it this year, am I entitled to it while doing a FAS course and If I am and havent got it how do I go about, getting the christmas bonus?

    Thank you for you Time


  43. This is my second year in BTEA, I have started working part time this year too, does that rule me out for the Christmas bonus?

    • You probably would have had the bonus already if you were due it. If yyou haven’t had it yet – you are probably not going to get it.

      • Why do you have to be unemployed 15 months or longer ? Is this not discrimination ? Could i challenge this in the courts ?

  44. My mother is a single parent,works full time job.Can she able to get christmas bonus and does she have to contact the boss of where she works or the social welfare?

    • The Social Welfare Bonus is not paid to working people. Some employers give a Christmas Bonus – but this is optional and not many employers do it.

  45. I’m on illness benefit for eight and a half years and I think we have a case for discrimination over not getting the Christmas Bonus as you should be only on this payment for a max of 2 years. Typical Labour, Fine Gael and Fianna Fail. None of them will be getting my vote.

  46. Hi,
    I am long term unemployed and get Jobseeker Allowance but didn’t receive a bonus. Do you know if there are cases where some Jobseekers don’t qualify?

    • Brian – to get the bonus you have to have been on Jobseekers for 15 months or more. Contact you local Welfare office if you think your bonus payment was not made.

  47. I am single parent 4 months on jobseeker benefit but I was 8 months on long term ilnnes benefit why I am not getting christmas bonus??!!!

  48. Hi there,

    I am on illness benefit for approximately 12 months. Am I entitled to a Christmas bonus?

    Thanks in advance.

  49. Hi, I started on jobbridge on 1st Sep 2014 and finished in May 2015, I then went on jobseekers until October. I am now on another jobbridge and I reckon 65 weeks takes me up to 28th November. Have I missed out on the Xmas bonus?

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