Christmas is often considered a time of giving, and this year, even the government is getting in on the act. So are you one of the millions eligible for a £10 festive bonus?
Here’s how to check whether you’re eligible, and how you can claim.
What is the government’s £10 Christmas bonus?
The government’s Christmas bonus is a one-off payment of £10 made during December. The cash is tax free and won’t impact your eligibility for any benefits you currently receive.
If you qualify for the bonus, then the payment will be made automatically and will appear as ‘DWP XB’ on your bank statement. ‘DWP’ refers to the Department for Work and Pensions.
There is no recent data available for exactly how many people qualify for the payment, but in 2017/18, it was reported that 16 million people claimed the bonus. If similar numbers bag the cash this year, then the scheme will cost the government a cool £160 million.
How can you check whether you’re eligible for the bonus?
You’ll pocket the £10 bonus if you claim the State Pension and are an ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK.
You’ll also get it if you claim any of the following benefits, and you must have claimed during the first week of December (6 to 13 December:
- 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)
- 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
If you don’t claim your State Pension and you aren’t entitled to any of the other qualifying benefits, you won’t qualify for the bonus.
You also won’t get the cash if you only receive Universal Credit and none of the other qualifying benefits.
How do you claim the bonus?
If you meet the criteria listed above, then you usually won’t have to do anything to receive the Christmas bonus. That’s because the DWP pays the cash automatically to those it recognises as being eligible for the payment.
However, if you haven’t received the cash by the end of the month, it’s worth chasing. You can do this by contacting Jobcentre Plus on 0800 055 6688. Alternatively, the gov.uk website lists local branches that you can visit in person.
If you receive a State Pension and haven’t received your payment, you also have the option of contacting the Pension Service on 0800 731 0469.
Why does the Christmas bonus still exist?
The government’s Christmas bonus dates back to 1972, when it was introduced as part of the Pensioners’ and Family Income Supplement Payments Act.
The payment was designed to support families struggling with high inflation, which, in 1972, peaked at 7.1%.
The £10 payment has existed ever since, though it was temporarily increased to £70 in 2008 to help those suffering from the global financial crash.
While the current £10 bonus may seem arbitrary, it’s likely to stay for many years to come. That’s because any future government that decides to scrap is likely to face a huge amount of Scrooge-related criticism. Swerving this criticism for the sake of one-off token payments probably makes political sense!
Are you looking for more Christmas money-saving tips? See our article to check whether you’re making a big mistake with your Christmas savings.