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Most people on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment will get a Christmas bonus

The announcement that those on the PUP in December will receive a Christmas bonus was part of Budget 2021 announced today.

A CHRISTMAS BONUS for most recipients of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment has been announced as part of Budget 2021.

It will mean that anyone getting the payment for four months up to December will receive the bonus.

They do not have to have been receiving the payment for four months continuously. Anyone who was signed off PUP but was forced to go back on it can combine periods of payment to make up the four months.

It’ll mean most recipients of the PUP will get a double payment on 7 December. 

The Christmas bonus is usually reserved for those on long-term welfare payments, or those on the live register in excess of 15 months.

In an additional measure on PUP, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath said self-employed recipients will be able  “to take up intermittent or occasional work opportunities without losing their PUP entitlement”. 

McGrath said he was introducing a package of €510 million package for social welfare.

In other social welfare provisions, the State Pension will remain at the age of 66.

The weekly payment for qualified children – payable to families in receipt of weekly social welfare payments – will increase by €2 a week for children under 12 years of age and by €5 per week for children aged 12 and over.

The rate of Fuel Allowance will increase by €3.50 for over 375,600 households.

Parent’s Benefit will be extended by three weeks for parents, allowing them to spend more time at home with their baby during the first year.

The Working Family Payment thresholds for families with up to three children will increase by €10.

The €425 earnings threshold on the One-Parent Family Payment will be removed.

The schools meals programme will be enhanced and provide hot school meals for up to 35,000 additional school children.

The carer’s support grant will increase by €150, from €1,700 to €1,850 per year.

The number of waiting days for illness benefit will reduce from six days to three days.

The widowed or surviving partner grant will increase by €2,000, from €6,000 to €8,000.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe also said that there will be no “cliff edge” to the employment wage subsidy scheme, due to end in April 2021. He indicated this may continue until the end of the year but said the government would decide what form this would take at a later date.

It’s understood this was one of the last issues to be ironed out as part of Budget 2021 discussions between the Fianna Fáil-Fine Gael-Green coalition.

Reacting to the Budget, Labour’s social protection spokesperson Sean Sherlock slammed the government for failing to restore the cuts to the PUP earlier this year.

He said: “If €350 was good enough in March and April, why is it not good enough now? We were told this government wouldn’t return to austerity. For the tens of thousands of workers who lost their jobs through no fault of their own and who have had their income supports cut this will be a tough winter.

“The increase in the pension age to 67 has been stopped as we called for, but only for a year, and this provides no certainty to older workers beyond 2021 and there was no mention of a transitional pension for workers who have to retire at 65.”

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