Tuesday 18 December 2018

More than a million to get full Christmas bonus for first time in nine years

Social Welfare

Eligible recipients: Brid O’Brien, of the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed, wants jobseekers to qualify for the bonus earlier
Eligible recipients: Brid O’Brien, of the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed, wants jobseekers to qualify for the bonus earlier

Anne-Marie Walsh Industry Correspondent

MORE than 1.2 million people are set for a Christmas bonus, which is back in full for the first time since it was axed nine years ago.

Long-term social welfare recipients will receive the bonus, which is worth a week's welfare payment, in early December.

The minimum payment is €20.

The bonus was axed in 2009 as the economy crashed before being partially resurrected four years ago, and gradually increased.

However, Brid O'Brien, of the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed, said that those receiving jobseekers' payments must have been doing so for at least 15 months to qualify.

She said this was unlike other welfare recipients, who have to be getting a payment for only 12 months.

"For those eligible, it's a welcome development," she said. "We had looked for it to be brought back to 100pc, as it's an expensive time of year."

Those in receipt of the State pension, carer's benefit, one-parent family payment, back to work enterprise allowance, and long-term jobseekers' allowance are among those who are eligible.

When asked if she considered reducing the 15 months it takes for jobseekers to qualify for the payment, Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty said she did not. She said jobseekers were not on a long-term scheme although some "stubbornly" remained on it beyond what was deemed acceptable.

Meanwhile, a weekly fuel allowance of €22.50 will be paid for an extra week - bringing the timeframe for the payment to 28 weeks.

Irish Independent

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