As well as the normal monthly State Pension payment in December, millions of UK pensioners will once again receive the pension Christmas Bonus this year. Many will also qualify for the Winter Fuel Payment and a Cost of Living Payment.
With the government due to make a number of payments over the last few months of the year, we’ve put together this guide to explain how things work. We’ll cover the type of payments and when you can expect to receive them if you qualify.
Regardless of when you normally receive your monthly State Pension payment, in December payments are typically made before Christmas.
This is because some payments would otherwise clash with the Christmas Day and Boxing Day bank holidays. Benefits payments aren’t typically made on bank holidays, since banks and government departments aren’t fully staffed on these days.
Last year for example, the State Pension Christmas payment date was Friday 23 December for those people who would otherwise have received their money on one of the Christmas bank holidays.
This followed the usual trend of the State Pension Christmas payment date being set at no later than the last banking day before 25 December. The DWP may take the same approach in 2023, although this does not appear to have been officially announced yet.
People on certain benefits are eligible for a Christmas Bonus which, like the State Pension, is also paid by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
It’s an annual tax-free payment of £10 that’s paid automatically to people who qualify. This means there is no need to claim your payment. People across the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Gibraltar are eligible.
The pension Christmas Bonus is normally paid in the first full week of December. You must be receiving your State Pension or other benefits in that week in order to be eligible. The DWP has not confirmed exactly when they will make the payments. However, based on previous experience people can expect their money between the start of December and Christmas.
The intention is that the Christmas Bonus helps people with the added costs they face during the festive period. However, it is still at the same £10 level established when the government introduced it in 1972. Some people may therefore question its value after 50 years of inflation.
Everyone who receives the State Pension is eligible for the Christmas Bonus. In addition, people receiving a number of additional eligible benefits also qualify.
Another payment that many people who receive the State Pension will benefit from is the Winter Fuel Payment. Eligible people will typically receive this in November or December 2023.
This is a one-off annual payment for most UK residents who were born before 25 September 1957. There are some exceptions, as explained on the government’s Winter Fuel Payment page.
The government will write to everyone eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment in October or November to confirm how much they will receive. The amount each person receives varies depending on their date of birth and other individual circumstances in the ‘qualifying week’ of 18-24 September 2023.
Further assistance is available in the form of the second Cost of Living Payment. The DWP will make payments of £300 between 31 October and 19 November.
This payment is not available for everyone receiving the State Pension. People eligible include those receiving Pension Credit, Universal Credit or tax credits, within a qualifying period. You can read more about eligibility for this payment.
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