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7 1996

SOCIAL WELFARE ACT, 1996

PART V

One-Parent Family Payment

One-parent family payment.

17. —(1) The Principal Act is hereby amended by the substitution for Chapter 9 of Part III of the following Chapter:

“CHAPTER 9

One-Parent Family Payment

Interpretation.

157.—(1) In this Chapter—

qualified parent’ means, subject to regulations under section 162—

(a) a widow,

(b) a widower,

(c) a separated spouse,

(d) an unmarried person, or

(e) a person whose spouse has been committed in custody to a prison or place of detention for a period of not less than 6 months,

who has at least one qualified child normally residing with that person;

weekly means’ means the yearly means divided by 52.

(2) For the purposes of this Chapter—

(a) means shall be calculated in accordance with the Rules contained in Part II of the Third Schedule, and

(b) a widow who has remarried shall not be regarded as the widow of her former husband and a widower who has remarried shall not be regarded as the widower of his former wife.

Entitlement to payment.

158.—(1) Subject to this Act and to regulations made under this Act, a payment shall be payable to a qualified parent (‘one-parent family payment’).

(2) A one-parent family payment payable to a qualified parent shall, subject to this Act, continue to be payable unless the qualified parent marries or remarries, as the case may be, and in such a case the one-parent family payment shall cease as and from the date of marriage or remarriage, as the case may be.

(3) Subject to this Act, a one-parent family payment shall not be payable to a qualified parent whose gross earnings (including wages or profit from any form of self-employment) exceed £12,000 in the last complete income tax year or in such subsequent period as a deciding officer or an appeals officer may consider appropriate.

(4) Regulations may, subject to such conditions and in such circumstances and for such periods as may be prescribed, entitle to one-parent family payment a qualified parent who, having been in receipt of the said payment, ceases to be entitled thereto by virtue of having earnings in excess of the amount specified in subsection (3).

(5) Regulations under subsection (4) shall provide that one-parent family payment payable by virtue thereof shall be payable at a rate less than that specified in the Fourth Schedule and the rate specified by the regulations may vary with the extent to which the person's earnings exceed the amount specified in subsection (3).

Rate of allowance and increases for child dependants.

159.—(1) The rate (in this section referred to as ‘the scheduled rate’) of one-parent family payment shall be the weekly rate set out in column (2) of Part I of the Fourth Schedule increased by the appropriate amount set out in column (4) of that Part in respect of each qualified child who normally resides with the beneficiary.

(2) A one-parent family payment shall be payable—

(a) where the weekly means of the claimant or beneficiary do not exceed £6, at the scheduled rate, and

(b) where such weekly means exceed £6, at the scheduled rate reduced by £2 for each amount (if any) of £2 by which those weekly means exceed £6, any fraction of £2 in those weekly means being treated for this purpose as £2:

Provided that, if the rate calculated pursuant to this paragraph at which, but for this proviso, the one-parent family payment would be payable is less than £2, the payment shall not be payable.

(3) The weekly rate of one-parent family payment shall be increased by the amount set out in column (7) of Part I of the Fourth Schedule where the beneficiary has attained the age of 80 years.

Disqualification.

160.—A qualified parent shall not, if and so long as that parent and any person are cohabiting as husband and wife, be entitled to and shall be disqualified for receiving payment of one-parent family payment.

Continuation of payment.

161.—In the case of a qualified parent to whom section 157 (1) (e) applies, one-parent family payment shall continue to be paid for a period of four weeks after the release of that parent's spouse from a prison or place of detention.

Regulations.

162.—The Minister shall make regulations in relation to one-parent family payment and the regulations may, in particular and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, specify the circumstances in which, for the purposes of this Chapter—

(a) a person is to be regarded as being a separated spouse,

(b) a person is to be regarded as being an unmarried person.”.

(2) Paragraph (4) of Rule 1 of Part II of the Third Schedule to the Principal Act is hereby amended by—

(a) the substitution for subparagraph (jj) (as amended by section 37 of this Act) of the following subparagraph:

“(jj) in the case of a qualified parent, within the meaning of section 157, who has earnings (including wages and profit from any form of self-employment), an annual amount of such gross earnings of £6,000 together with one-half of the amount of that parent's gross earnings, if any, in excess of that amount,”,

and

(b) the insertion after subparagraph (s) (inserted by section 37 of this Act) of the following subparagraph:

“(t) for the purposes of one-parent family payment, any moneys received by way of maintenance payments (including maintenance payments made to or in respect of a qualified child) except and in so far as they exceed the annual housing costs actually incurred by the qualified parent, subject to such maximum amount as shall be prescribed and for this purpose—

housing costs’ means rent or repayment of a loan entered into solely for the purpose of defraying money employed in the purchase, repair or essential improvement of the residence in which the qualified parent is, for the time being, residing; and

maintenance payments’ means any payment received under or pursuant to such maintenance arrangement as may be prescribed.”.

(3) Rule 1 of Part II of the Third Schedule to the Principal Act is hereby amended by—

(a) the substitution for paragraph (2) of the following paragraphs:

“(2) In the application of paragraph (1) for the purposes of one-parent family payment, the following subparagraphs shall be substituted for subparagraphs (a), (b) and (c) of that paragraph:

(a) the first £2,000 of the capital value of the property shall be excluded, and

(b) the yearly value of the next £20,000 of the capital value of the property shall be assessed at 7.5 per cent., and

(c) the yearly value of so much of the capital value of the property as exceeds £22,000 shall be assessed at 15 per cent.

(2A) In the application of paragraph (1) for the purposes of widow's (non-contributory) pension, orphan's (non-contributory) pension, deserted wife's allowance and prisoner's wife's allowance, the following subparagraphs shall be substituted for subparagraphs (a), (b) and (c) of that paragraph:

(a) the first £200 of the capital value of the property shall be excluded, and

(b) the yearly value of any remainder of the capital value of the property shall be taken to be one-twentieth part of such remainder.”,

and

(b) the deletion in paragraph (3) of “, lone parent's allowance”.

(4) Section 298 of the Principal Act is hereby amended by the insertion in subsections (1) and (2) of “Subject to regulations,” before “A person” in each place where those words occur.

(5) Notwithstanding Chapter 9 of Part III of the Principal Act (inserted by subsection (1) of this section) where, immediately before the commencement of this section, a person is in receipt of lone parent's allowance by virtue of section 158 of the Principal Act, one-parent family payment shall be payable to that person on that commencement at a rate not less than the rate of lone parent's allowance which is payable to that person immediately before that commencement.

(6) Any decision made by a deciding officer or by an appeals officer in relation to the award of lone parent's allowance before the commencement of this section shall be deemed to be a decision to award one-parent family payment to such person on and from that commencement.

(7) Where, immediately before the commencement of this section, a person has applied for lone parent's allowance and that application has not been finally determined, any such application shall be deemed to be an application for one-parent family payment.

(8) Where, immediately before the commencement of this section, a person—

(a) is in receipt of lone parent's allowance, or

(b) has applied for lone parent's allowance and that application has not been finally determined,

the provisions of this section and regulations made under Rule 1 (4) of Part II of the Third Schedule to the Principal Act relating to the assessment of income received by a qualified child and non-cash benefits, shall not, for the duration of that person's continuous entitlement to one-parent family payment, have the effect of reducing the rate of that one-parent family payment below the rate of lone parent's allowance payable or, in the case of a person to whom paragraph (b) applies, which would have been payable, immediately before the commencement.

Transitional provisions.

18. —(1) In this section a “relevant payment” means—

(a) deserted wife's benefit under Chapter 18 of Part II of the Principal Act,

(b) deserted wife's allowance under Chapter 7 of Part III of the Principal Act, or

(c) prisoner's wife's allowance under Chapter 8 of Part III of the Principal Act,

as the case may require.

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of this Part, a woman who, immediately before the commencement of section 19 of this Act, is in receipt of a relevant payment, the said relevant payment shall be payable for the duration of the woman's continuous entitlement to the relevant payment in accordance with the provisions of the Principal Act and regulations made thereunder.

(3) Where, immediately before the commencement of section 19 of this Act, a woman whose claim for a relevant payment has not been finally determined, and who would, but for the commencement of the said section, have become entitled to the said relevant payment, the relevant payment shall be payable for the duration of the woman's continuous entitlement to the relevant payment in accordance with the provisions of the Principal Act and regulations made thereunder.

(4) Notwithstanding the provisions of this Part, where, a woman, being of or over the age of 38 years and under the age of 40 years on the commencement of section 19 of this Act, has ceased or ceases to be entitled to benefit under Chapter 18 of Part II of the Principal Act by virtue of no longer having at least one qualified child residing with her, she shall, on reaching the age of 40 years, where but for this Part she would be entitled to the said benefit, again become and continue to be entitled to the said benefit, for the duration of her continuous entitlement thereto, in accordance with the provisions of the Principal Act and regulations made thereunder.

Repeals, etc.

19. —(1) Each provision of the Principal Act mentioned in column (1) of Schedule E to this Act is hereby amended in the manner specified in column (2) of that Schedule opposite the mention of that provision in column (1).

(2) Subsection (1) of this section shall not have effect for the purposes of section 18 of this Act.

(3) Every reference in the Principal Act and in any other enactment to lone parent's allowance shall be construed as a reference to one-parent family payment.

One-parent family payment — entitlement of person whose marriage has been dissolved.

20. —(1) Section 157(2) of the Principal Act (inserted by section 17 of this Act) is hereby amended by the insertion after paragraph (b) of the following paragraph:

“(c) a reference to a qualified parent shall include a reference to a person who would otherwise be a qualified parent but for the fact that the person's marriage has been dissolved, being a dissolution that is recognised as valid in the State.”.

(2) Section 8 of the No. 2 Act of 1995 is hereby repealed.

Commencement ( Part V ).

21. —This Part shall come into operation on such day or days as the Minister may appoint by order or orders either generally or with reference to any particular purpose or provision and different days may be so appointed for different purposes and different provisions.