Belfast Telegraph

Christmas pay bonus for pensioners

Pensioners, lone parents and the long-term unemployment are to receive a Christmas bonus as part of their welfare benefits, the Government has confirmed.

The 25% cash-boost will be paid to 1.23 million people at a cost of £65 million.

Tanaiste and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton said: "It will help these people to meet some of the additional costs around the Christmas season."

The end-of-year payment, which was abolished under Fianna Fail during the financial crisis in 2009, will be paid to all long-term welfare recipients.

It means a pensioner couple, both on the State pension of 219 euros each- a-week, will receive an extra 109.50 euros. A lone-parent who gets the weekly 247.60 euros One Parent Family benefit will receive a bonus of 61.90 euros and someone who has been unemployed for over 15 months and who has a partner and two children will have 93.10 euros added to their 372.40 euros Jobseeker's Allowance.

Ms Burton said the payment was a sign of economic recovery and a way of recognising the position of vulnerable households.

She added: "The reintroduction of the bonus on a partial basis, along with the other welfare measures announced in the budget are real indicators of the economic recovery and the Government's ambition to ensure it will be a recovery felt by all.

"This is the first budget where we have had the scope to make real positive progress for welfare recipients.

"We are using the economic dividend from the recovery to invest in sustainable growth, in families and communities and in vital public services."

Payments will begin this week.

Minister of State Kevin Humphreys said: "After several years of tough budgets we have been able to put money back in people's pockets. This will help families with the costs of Christmas, and support real jobs in the local economy. People have made huge sacrifices and we recognise that effort."

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