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People on the dole will get a Christmas present from the government this year

The Christmas Bonus will be reintroduced this year – one of two increases in the area of social welfare announced in today’s Budget.

Image: Brian Lawless/PA

MINISTER FOR PUBLIC Finance and Expenditure Brendan Howlin has announced that the Christmas bonus for people who are in receipt of long-term social welfare payments will return this year.

In his Budget 2015 speech, Howlin said the numbers of people leaving the live register are “much higher than forecast”.

“The government has decided to allocate a portion of these savings to pay a 25% bonus to social welfare recipients this coming Christmas,” he said.

A minimum payment of €20 will be made to over 1.6 million people who are in receipet of the following payments:

  • State pensions
  • Invalidity pension
  • Widow’s pention
  • Guardian’s payment
  • One parent family payment
  • Deserted wife’s benefit
  • Carer’s allowance
  • Pre-retirement allowance
  • Disability allowance
  • Farm assist
  • Long-term jobseeker’s allowance
  • Back to work allowance
  • Community employment
  • Jobs initiative
  • Rural social scheme
  • Tús
  • Gateway
  • Domiciliary care allowance

Howlin added that this will be a current year payment from 2014 figures, clarifying that a similar bonus in Christmas 2015 will depend on the availability of savings in next year’s Social Protection budget.

This was one of two increases in the area of social welfare as Child Benefit is also being increased by €5. The move was welcomed by the Director of European Anti Poverty Network Ireland (EAPN) Robin Hanan, who said “many people have been driven deeper into poverty and the measures today begin to address the damage that has been done”.

SIPTU’s President, Jack O’Connor also said these measures would “help to alleviate the living conditions of some of the most vulnerable in society”.

There was mixed reaction among users on social media:

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