(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.