Millions of people on State Pension, PIP and other benefits due one-off payment before end of this year

More than 20 million people across the UK are claiming at least one benefit from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). That number includes nearly 12.7 million older people in receipt of State Pension payments, a contributory benefit only available to those of retirement age with at least 10 years’ worth of National Insurance Contributions.

However, many people - including new retirees - may not be aware of an annual bonus paid to those on certain benefits before Christmas, which might come in handy during the colder months. The ‘Christmas Bonus’ is a one-off, tax-free £10 payment made to people in receipt of State Pension or those claiming certain other benefits including Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Attendance Allowance and Carer’s Allowance - if they meet the eligibility criteria during a specific qualifying period, which is typically the first full week in December.

However, while some 22 benefits are eligible for the £10 payment, some 6.7 million people claiming Universal Credit claimants do not qualify.

It’s worth noting that the DWP will make this as a separate payment, independent of your scheduled State Pension or benefit payment, so it may arrive on a different day.

Nobody needs to apply for the extra £10 as it should automatically go into the account where you usually receive your benefit payment or State Pension. It will show as ‘DWP XB’ on bank statements and online accounts.

People in Scotland claiming Adult Disability Payment, Child Disability Payment or Carer Support Payment, will also be eligible for the payment - but it will come from DWP and not Social Security Scotland.

The £10 Christmas Bonus was introduced by Ted Heath’s Conservative Government in 1972. It has not been uprated or increased since it launched over five decades ago and in today’s money, it would be worth around £115 - when calculated under the composite price index published by the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Who is eligible for the £10 Christmas Bonus?

To qualify for the Christmas Bonus you must be present or ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man, Gibraltar, during the qualifying week, which this year is expected to be December 2 - 8, 2024 - we will update this article once the qualifying week has been confirmed later this year.

The DWP will write to eligible claimants advising them that they will be receiving the £10 bonus in December, but this sometimes arrives after the payment has been made.

Qualifying benefits

You must also get at least one of the following benefits in the qualifying week:

  • Adult Disability Payment (Scotland only)

  • Armed Forces Independence Payment

  • Attendance Allowance

  • Carer’s Allowance

  • Carer Support Payment (Scotland only)

  • Child Disability Payment (Scotland only)

  • 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

Not everyone over State Pension age will get the payment, DWP guidance on GOV.UK explains: “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.”

Married or cohabiting couples and civil partnerships

The DWP guidance explains that if you’re part of a married couple, in a civil partnership or living together as if you are and you both get one of the qualifying benefits you will each get a £10 Christmas Bonus payment.

If your partner or civil partner does not get one of the qualifying benefits, they may still get the Christmas Bonus if both the following apply:

  • you’re both over State Pension age by the end of the qualifying week

  • your partner or civil partner was 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

One of the following must also apply:

  • You are entitled to an increase of a qualifying benefit for your partner or civil partner

  • the only qualifying benefit you are getting is Pension Credit

How to claim

You do not need to claim the Christmas Bonus - you should get it automatically. Find out more about the Christmas Bonus on GOV.UK here.