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Budget 2021: Christmas bonus to be paid to some but not all pandemic unemployment recipients


Minister Heather Humphreys

Minister Heather Humphreys

Minister Heather Humphreys

A full Christmas bonus will be paid to all welfare recipients including the majority, but not all, of those on the pandemic unemployment payment.

The move means thousands of pensioners, people on disability payments and those who became unemployed before and after the pandemic hit will see their weekly payment increase in the lead up to Christmas.

However, not everyone on the pandemic unemployment payment will receive the top-up.

It is understood around 90pc of the 227,000 who are currently in receipt of the payment will receive the bonus.

Ordinarily, a person must be on a welfare support for 15 months to qualify for the Christmas bonus.

This would mean thousand of people who became unemployed due to the Covid-19 pandemic would miss out on the bonus payment.

However, the Government has decided to reduce this to four months to allow those on the pandemic support receive the top up this year.

The four month threshold does not have to be concurrent and a recipient of the pandemic payment who was unemployed at start of the Covid-19 outbreak but retuned to work before losing their job again can still qualify.

However, people who became recently unemployed due to the Government’s increased coronavirus restrictions will miss out on the payment.

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Anyone who become unemployed between now and Christmas will also miss out.

Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys and Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Michael McGrath are understood to have reached the deal this evening.

The total cost of the budget measure is over €650m.