Universal Credit, PIP & state pension recipients set for bonus in December 2021

Universal Credit: DWP member on informing claimants

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Universal Credit and PIP are benefits which support people in different circumstances. Universal Credit is aimed at helping people who are out of work, unable to work, or on a low income. PIP, however, is designed to assist individuals who have a long-term disability or health condition. State pension payments are also important to millions of people. These are available to individuals who hit an eligible age and who have built up enough National Insurance contributions throughout their lifetime. Regardless of whether a person is getting a benefit or a payment from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), many individuals are set for a cash bonus this year, which could provide a welcome boost towards the end of the year. 

This is through the Christmas Bonus, which is a one-off tax-free payment which is made before Christmas to those in receipt of certain benefits and payments in the qualifying week.

Today marks 100 days until Christmas, a time looked forward to by many, however, it can bring about higher costs which need to be factored in. 

While the payment is worth £10, it can be welcome over the festive season, and can be factored into a person’s budget during this time.

All benefits, pensions and allowances are normally paid into an account of a person’s choosing, such as a bank account, building society and credit union account. 

The DWP has explained the matter, saying people should look out for a key sign on a bank statement. The bonus should appear as ‘DWP XB’.

To get the Christmas Bonus, however, there will need to be certain eligibility criteria for a person to meet. Thankfully, this is not too stringent, meaning many people can benefit. 

People must be present or ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man or Gibraltar during the qualifying week concerned this year.

The qualifying week is particularly important for the Christmas Bonus as this secures eligibility. The DWP has confirmed that this is the first full week of December. 

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This unfortunately means those who are expats living abroad might not be able to benefit in this way. Those who live in a European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland are encouraged to contact the Government about the matter.

Universal Credit, state pension and PIP are a number of payments which can benefit from the Christmas Bonus, however, there are various other benefits and payments which could be eligible.

These include:

  • Attendance Allowance
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Pension Credit – the guarantee element
  • War Widow’s Pension
  • Widow’s Pension

However, the DWP has issued another warning to individuals who are thinking they may be eligible to receive a Christmas Bonus.

Its website reads: “If you have not claimed your state pension and are not entitled to one of the other qualifying benefits you will not get a Christmas Bonus.”

Thankfully, individuals will not need to take any action to receive or claim the Christmas Bonus. People should get this kind of payment automatically. 

Those who believe they should be entitled to a Christmas Bonus but have not yet received one, are encouraged to contact the Jobcentre Plus office which deals with their payment, or alternatively, the Pension Service. 

Those who are part of a married couple, in a civil partnership, or who are living together as if they are, who both get one of the qualifying benefits will each get a Christmas Bonus of their own.

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Individuals where a partner or civil partner does not get one of the qualifying benefits could still get the Christmas Bonus in certain circumstances.

This will be the case if both of the following apply:

  • Both people are over state pension age by the end of the qualifying week
  • The partner or civil partner was ‘ordinarily resident’ or present in the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man, Gibraltar, EEA or Switzerland in the qualifying week

and either:

  • The person is entitled to an increase of a qualifying benefit for their partner or civil partner
  • The only qualifying benefit a person is receiving is Pension Credit

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