Budget 2021: Christmas bonus for PUP recipients, pension age to stay at 66 & increase to qualified children's allowance

Budget 2021: Christmas bonus for PUP recipients, pension age to stay at 66 & increase to qualified children's allowance

Department of Social Protection

The vast majority of people currently receiving the pandemic unemployment payment (PUP) will receive the Christmas bonus if they remain out of work at the start of December.

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath said that while the Christmas bonus is traditionally paid each year to those are in receipt of a long term social welfare payment at the start of December, and to jobseekers who have been supported by payments for longer than 15 months, that he was reducing the 15 month requirement to four months.

“The vast majority of persons currently on the pandemic unemployment payment will receive the Christmas bonus if they remain out of work at the start of December. Payment will be made to all qualifying recipients in the first weekend of December,” he said.

Today, 20,566 people in Cork received the weekly PUP, an increase of more than 3,500 people on last week.

The measure was just one of a number of measures announced yesterday by Minister McGrath and Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe as part of Budget 2021.

It was also announced that there will be a €5 increase in the Living Alone Allowance, a €3.50 increase in the rate of the Fuel Allowance, parent’s benefit is to be increased by three weeks and the Qualified Child Payment is to be increased by €5 for over 12s and €2 for under 12s.

It was also confirmed that the planned increase in the pension age in January will not proceed. The age for eligibility will remain at 66 years.

The Carer’s Support Grant is to be increased by €150.

Family Carers Ireland said that while welcomed the €150 increase in the grant, that they were “deeply concerned that many family carers will be worse off as a result of the measures announced in Budget 2021.

“The majority of Ireland’s 355,000 family carers do not receive this payment, and for those who do, the increase may be offset by additional home heating and motoring costs brought about by the hike in carbon tax. Although the Fuel Allowance is being increased by €3.50 per week, Carer’s Allowance is not a qualifying payment meaning few family carers will qualify for this payment.

Family Carers Ireland said it also “remains deeply worried” that full-time family carers are “being locked out” of the Carer's Allowance scheme “by the failure to gradually increase the income disregard which has not changed for 13 years.”

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