Those receiving the old age pension, child benefit, caregivers, infirm and destitute payments will receive an extra $50.
This year 6,096 beneficiaries will receive the Christmas bonus compared with 5,556 in 2017. The increase of 540 recipients is largely due to the number of children aged between 12 and 14 years that were reinstated to the child benefit payment as of October 1, 2018. Payments will be made into the Bank of the Cook Islands (BCI) account of each beneficiary from Friday onwards.
The Christmas bonus has been paid each year just before Christmas for over 11 years and is aimed at assisting beneficiaries during the busiest time of the year in the Cook Islands.
Internal Affairs minister Vaine Mokoroa says that apart from remembering the birth of Christ in December, it is also the month for various family activities in the Cook Islands such as weddings, birthdays, unveiling and family reunions.
All of them take place in a short space of time, he says.
“Families are obliged to make contributions to these events as well as financing their family Christmas celebrations. Government aims to provide assistance to families especially those in hardship in this time of giving, so that the festivity around Christmas is a joyful one.”
The Christmas bonus was approved by parliament in the 2018-19 Budget of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.