To ask His Majesty's Government whether an annual Christmas bonus for benefit claimants will be paid this year; if so, how many claimants will receive that bonus; and what the total cost will be, including administrative costs, to public funds.
The Christmas Bonus will be paid this year. The Christmas Bonus is an annual, tax-free, lump sum payment to pensioners and to working aged people who, during the relevant week (which is usually the first full week in December) are entitled to payment of certain qualifying benefits and who are resident in the UK, an EEA state or Switzerland.
The qualifying benefits are:
State Pension; Pension Credit; Widowed Mother's/Parent's Allowance; Widows' Pension; Industrial Death Benefit by way of Widow's or Widower's Pension; War Widow's Pensions; Long-Term Incapacity Benefit; Personal Independence Payment; Adult Disability Payment; Child Disability Payment; Transitionally-Protected Severe Disablement Allowance; Attendance Allowance; Disability Living Allowance; Unemployability Supplement or Constant Attendance Allowance paid under Industrial Injuries or War Pensions schemes; Carer's Allowance; Mobility Supplement; War Disablement Pension (if over age 65); Armed Forces Independence payment; and contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance (once the main phase is entered after the first 13 weeks of claim)
In most cases the bonus is paid automatically with whichever qualifying benefit an individual receives, which ensures administration costs are kept to a minimum.
The number of benefit claimants expected to receive the annual Christmas bonus, based on 2022/23 forecasts are 16,443,000.
The total cost in real terms, based on 2022/23 forecasts is £164 million.