Wednesday, 20 May 2020
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
1244. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the State could pay maintenance payments that are not being made on the basis that the State could recoup these costs after the Covid-19 crisis. [6196/20]
Issues relating to maintenance are a matter for my colleague, the Minister for Justice and Equality, who has responsibility for the Family Law Acts, which govern maintenance requirements.
The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has no legal basis to pay maintenance in lieu of the other parent's responsibilities.
If a person who was in receipt of maintenance that they are entitled to, following a court order, and has stopped receiving it, they should contact the Courts Service. If this person is also in receipt of One-Parent Family Payment, they should also contact my Department to have their One-Parent Family Payment reassessed to reflect the change in circumstances.
Where a One Parent Family recipient contacts the local Intreo Centre to state that they are no longer receiving maintenance due to the Liable Relative losing their job, they will need to provide a declaration to that effect. The result of this declaration is that their means will be reassessed on that basis, and a review marked for 12 weeks later.
The One Parent Family recipient will be contacted after the 12 week period to see if there are any changes in their circumstances, and to establish if there has been any change in the situation. The means will be reassessed if necessary following this review.
Given that the family courts are not hearing maintenance cases during the pandemic, this situation will be carefully monitored on an ongoing basis, to ensure that there are no difficulties or unnecessary hardship experienced by affected parents.