Millions of Britons are due to receive a Christmas Bonus payment from the DWP to help with living costs.
Each year, the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) distributes a one-off tax-free £10 payment just before Christmas. However, this amount has remained unchanged since 1972, resulting in widespread criticism.
The bonus is paid to people who get certain benefits, such as Universal Credit, in a specified qualifying week, which is normally the first full week of December.
People do not need to claim the bonus, it will arrive automatically in the bank accounts of those eligible.
However, certain criteria apply, such as where a person lives and what benefits they receive, that determine their entitlement to the payment.
Who is eligible for a DWP Christmas bonus?
To get a Christmas Bonus people must be present or “ordinarily resident” in the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man or Gibraltar during the qualifying week.
People must also get at least one of the following benefits in the qualifying week (usually first full week of December):
- Adult Disability Payment
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- Attendance Allowance
- Carer’s Allowance
- Child Disability Payment
- Constant Attendance Allowance (paid under Industrial Injuries or War Pensions schemes)
- Contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance (once the main phase of the benefit is entered after the first 13 weeks of claim)
- Disability Living Allowance
- Incapacity Benefit at the long-term rate
- Industrial Death Benefit (for widows or widowers)
- Mobility Supplement
- Pension Credit – the guarantee element
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- State Pension (including Graduated Retirement Benefit)
- Severe Disablement Allowance (transitionally protected)
- Unemployability Supplement or Allowance (paid under Industrial Injuries or War Pensions schemes)
- War Disablement Pension at state pension age
- War Widow’s Pension
- Widowed Mother’s Allowance
- Widowed Parent’s Allowance
- Widow’s Pension.
It should be noted that those who have not claimed their state pension and are not entitled to one of the other qualifying benefits will not get a Christmas Bonus.
Individuals who are either married, in a civil partnership, or cohabiting and who receive one of the qualifying benefits, are each entitled to receive a Christmas Bonus payment.
If a person’s partner or civil partner does not get one of the qualifying benefits, they may still get the Christmas Bonus if both the following apply:
- The couple are both over state pension age (66) by the end of the qualifying week
- The couple are also present (or ‘ordinarily resident’) in the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man, Gibraltar, European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland during the qualifying week.
If the above applies, one of the following must also be applicable:
- One person is entitled to an increase of a qualifying benefit for their partner or civil partner
- The only qualifying benefit a person is getting is Pension Credit.
To check, people can look for the DWP XB reference on their bank account.
People who think they should get it but don’t are advised to contact the Jobcentre Plus office that deals with their payments or the Pension Service.