State pension recipients will get tax-free cash bonus this December – are you eligible?

The Christmas Bonus is a one-off, tax-free payment of £10 which is made before Christmas and is paid to people who get certain benefits in the qualifying week, which is normally the first full week of December. People who are eligible to receive the Christmas Bonus do not need to actually claim it. They should be paid it automatically, meaning there is no time-consuming application process required to receive the cash.

The benefits that one can receive and therefore be entitled to the Christmas Bonus are as follows:

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

If someone receives any of those benefits during the ‘qualifying week’ in December, they should automatically receive the £10 of additional cash.

However, people who have not claimed their state pension and are not entitled to one of the other qualifying benefits will not receive a Christmas Bonus.

People who think they should have got the bonus but have not should contact the Jobcentre Plus office that deals with their payments, or the Pension Service to try to clear up whether they are eligible or not.

Married couples will each get their own Christmas Bonus payment if both parties receive one of the qualifying benefits, and the same goes for those in a civil partnership and people who are living together.

However, if one party does not receive one of the qualifying benefits, they may still be able to get the Christmas Bonus if both the following apply:

Both parties are over state pension age by the end of the qualifying week.

Both parties were 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 must also be entitled to an increase of a qualifying benefit for their partner or civil partner and Pension Credit must be the only qualifying benefit one is receiving.

Another benefit that older people can collect during winter is the Warm Home Discount, which is designed to help pensioners keep their homes heated through the coldest months of the year.

The Warm Home Discount provides claimants with £140 off their electricity bill to help out during winter, when heating one’s home is of the utmost importance.

Recipients of the Warm Home Discount will get a one-off discount between October and March, helping people who are on low incomes to keep their homes heated.

People who get the Guarantee Credit part of Pension Credit are entitled to claim for the warm home discount, and people who are on a low income and meet their energy supplier’s criteria for eligibility can also make a claim.

The scheme opens for this upcoming winter on October 18, 2021, and receiving the Warm Home Discount does not impact one’s ability to claim the Cold Weather Payment or Winter Fuel Payment, for people who also utilise those schemes.

If someone has the same supplier for both their gas and electricity, it may be possible to use the discount against their gas bill instead of electricity. People who use a pre-pay or pay-as-you-go electricity meter can still claim, and one’s relevant supplier can explain how the discount will be given once someone has been confirmed as eligible.

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