The Social Affairs Minister Mary Hanafin says she can't commit to a reversal of the axing of the Christmas bonus this year.
The measure was contained in the emergency Budget announced earlier this month.
Minister Hanafin's comments come as the Social Welfare Bill is debated in the Dail this afternoon.
The Labour Party will table a motion later demanding that the bonus payment be re-instated.
Ms Hanafin says, while it was a hard decision to make, the government had little option but to cut the bonus.