For so many across the UK, every penny counts at the moment.

So the news that the government's Christmas bonus is returning will give a little boost to millions.

The festive period is a challenge for such a lot of people - especially those who have young children.

The early present put forward by the Government may not be enough to fill the bottom of your Christmas tree or leave kids' stocking over-flowing with incredible gifts on December 25.

But the extra £10 being handed out will at least come in handy as households get ready for the most expensive time of the year.

It's the most wonderful time of the year - but also the most expensive

Universal Credit claimants are not automatically eligible for the bonus, but they may still receive the payment if they meet other criteria.

Who is eligible for the Christmas bonus?

To qualify for the Christmas bonus, you need to be claiming one of the following benefits in the qualifying week (which is ordinarily the first week in December):

  • Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • 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

Universal Credit claimants will get the bonus if they are also claiming one of the above benefits.

How to claim the Christmas bonus

If you are eligible for the Christmas bonus, you don't need to do anything. It will be paid to you automatically.

It will arrive in bank accounts at least three weeks before presents are unwrapped.

On Gov.uk, it states: "The Christmas Bonus is a one-off tax-free £10 payment made before Christmas, paid to people who get certain benefits in the qualifying week.

"This is normally the first full week of December.

"You don’t need to claim - you should get paid automatically," the website confirmed.

Millions don't know how they will foot the bill

It comes after the true cost of Christmas was laid bare.

People are willing to spend around £725 in total over the festive period, a study has found.

We shell out around £363 on Christmas presents for our relatives alone.

The rest goes on more shopping, partying with work colleagues and preparing for the festivities on 25 December.