'Miserly' £10 Christmas bonus for millions on benefits slammed for 'barely covering food' – could you get an increase? | The Sun

CHARITIES have slammed the DWP's "miserly" £10 Christmas bonus for failing to increase in value for more than 50 years despite the cost of living rising.

The Christmas Bonus is a one-off, tax-free payment made automatically to people claiming certain benefits in December.

It aims to help people with extra costs over the festive period.

But the bonus has remained the same since it was introduced in 1972, while the cost of goods has increased considerably over the same period.

Last month inflation remained at 6.7%, the same as August and far higher than the Bank of England's 2% target.

If the DWP's £10 payment had been increased in line with inflation, it would now be worth around £113, according to the Bank of England's inflation calculator.



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Charities told the Sun the "tiny" sum is no comfort to families struggling with the soaring cost of living this winter and urged the DWP to consider increasing the bonus, along with other benefits.

Iain Porter, senior policy adviser at anti-poverty charity The Joseph Rowntree foundation, said: "Anyone who visits a supermarket in the current climate understands £10 won’t get you very much in your shopping basket, let alone enough for the ingredients needed for a Christmas dinner.

"The fact the government has done nothing to uprate the miserly £10 bonus for people who receive benefits is unsurprising, but at the same time extremely disappointing.”

Aldi has claimed to be the cheapest supermarket to shop for a Christmas dinner this year, feeding a family of four for around £15.

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For that price, Aldi said you could get a turkey, bacon-wrapped sausages, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, brussels sprouts, cabbage, a swede and a Christmas pudding.

However, for those without an Aldi in reach, the costs could be far higher.

Michael Clarke, head of information programmes at charity Turn2us, added: "The bonus is a tiny sum which barely covers the rising cost of everyday food since last year, let alone a 2023 Christmas dinner. 

"The government should ensure that as a minimum, benefit levels are increased to meet the true cost of living.”

Shona McMahon, a Sun Money reader from Glasgow, was "shocked" to learn the £10 bonus had never been increased at a time when so many people are struggling.

Shona said she doesn't understand why in 2023 she can't afford a Christmas dinner "with all the trimmings" or to buy someone a "half-decent present".

She has now launched a petition to increase the Christmas Bonus, which has garnered 690 signatures so far.

"Christmas is THE most expensive time of the year and pensioners, the vulnerable and disabled people like myself could really do with an extra boost," she said.

Dr Steffan Evans, head of policy at charity The Bevan Foundation, said any increase to the bonus would be "hugely appreciated" and urged the government to consider raising the amount.

"There is such a huge gap between benefits and actual living costs. We're calling on the DWP to consider raising the bonus in line with the cost of living, along with other benefits."

The DWP did not respond directly when asked whether it would consider increasing the bonus.

A spokesperson for the DWP said: "We are helping households with record financial support including benefit and pensions increases of over 10% this year, and we are increasing the National Living Wage again.

“On top of this, we will be paying many people their benefits earlier over Christmas and continuing the £10 bonus at a time when budgets are often stretched.”

Who else is eligible for the Christmas bonus?

You won't receive the £10 Christmas bonus if you are only claiming Universal Credit, but you will if you also receive one of the following benefits:

  • 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)
  • 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're part of a married couple, in a civil partnership or live together, you'll both get the cash bonus as long as you're both eligible.

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The bonus is expected to be paid from the first week of December.

The payment should show up on your bank statement as "DWP XB".

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