More than 1.3m people will be paid the social protection Christmas bonus next week, Minister Heather Humphreys will announce today.
Ms Humphreys will today set out the payment details for the bonus which was agreed in the Budget at a cost of €300m.
The payment will be made to pensioners, carers, people with disabilities, widows, and lone parents. A total of 494,100 recipients of the contributory state pension will receive the payment, as well as 93,636 recipients of the non-contributory pension.
A further 94,080 recipients of jobseekers' allowance will also be paid, as will 17,500 long-term recipients of illness benefit — the first time this cohort has been included.
Ms Humphreys has said that the rationale for this extension of the bonus is the fact that people on the payment "have worked all their lives, paid their PRSI, and then have to take time out of the workforce due to serious and possibly long-lasting health conditions".
The Christmas bonus payments are in addition to the seven cost-of-living lump-sum payments that have already been made over the last six weeks. The combined cost of all eight lump-sum payments is over €1.2bn.
Ms Humphreys will today say that the payment recognises that while Christmas is a very special time of year, it can be expensive for everyone, particularly given the current cost of living.
“I am pleased therefore to announce that a Christmas bonus double payment will be paid next week. I’m particularly pleased that this year’s Christmas bonus will be extended to people on long-term illness benefit for the first time.
“The vast majority of people are on illness benefit for a very short period of time and then return to work however there are a small cohort of people with serious medical conditions who remain on the payments for longer periods of time."