Taoiseach confirms that social welfare recipients will receive a Christmas bonus this December
"I can assure deputies the Christmas bonus will be paid this year," the Taoiseach said.
Leo Varadkar has combatted earlier claims that the Christmas bonus will not be paid to social welfare recipients this year, by confirming that the annual payment will, in fact, go ahead.
As previously reported by the Irish Mirror, it was understood that Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty was set to hold back on the bonus, citing a tax cut in next month's Budget as the reason why.
Doherty later dismissed this report as a "fake news headline", stating that she wanted to "put at ease the minds of the hundreds of thousands of people" who may have been worried.
Speaking before the Oireachtas Committee on Employment Affairs and Social Protection on Tuesday, the Social Protection Minister said she had absolutely "no intention of discontinuing the Christmas bonus for any social welfare recipient".
The bonus has been paid for the past four years and last year was worth up to 85% of the normal weekly payment.
Speaking on Tuesday afternoon, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar assured deputies that the Christmas bonus will be paid this year.
Confirmation on this came from Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Older People Mary Butler TD, who secured a commitment from the Taoiseach in the Dáil that the Christmas Bonus will be paid this year.
According to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, the annual supplement was paid to 1.2 million people at the end of last year. In total, €219 million was paid to long-term welfare recipients in December 2017.
People in receipt of the following payments will receive the bonus:
- State Pensions and Widow’s/Widower’s/Surviving Civil Partner’s Pensions
- Invalidity Pension, Blind Pension, Disability Allowance, Carer’s Allowance, Domiciliary Care Allowance and Guardian’s payments
- Long-term Jobseeker’s Allowance, Jobseeker’s Transition Payment, One-Parent Family Payment, Deserted Wife’s Benefit and Allowance and Farm Assist
- Back to Work Enterprise Allowance, Community Employment, Rural Social Scheme, TÚS, Gateway and Job Initiative
The Christmas Bonus is also paid to people getting Blind Welfare Allowance, Mobility Allowance, and rehabilitative training allowances from the HSE. Survivors of Thalidomide who get payments from the Department of Health also get the bonus.
The minimum Christmas Bonus payment in 2017 was €20.