Thursday, 15 July 2021
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Social Welfare Payments
268. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will disregard maintenance payments in the assessment of the working family payment in circumstances in which the court ordered payer is not making payments; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38897/21]
Working Family Payment is a weekly tax-free payment available to employees with children. It gives extra financial support to people on low pay.
Currently, there are approximately 10,500 Working Family Payment customers who are in receipt of some form of maintenance. The average maintenance payment is €58.60 per week. As there is a housing disregard of €95.23 and only half the maintenance over this amount is assessed for income purposes, the majority of maintenance payments are already being disregarded.
If a maintenance payment ceases, the Working Family Payment customer should initially contact the Courts Service to inform them that they are no longer getting maintenance. However, as the pandemic is resulting in ongoing disruption to court services, the situation continues to be monitored to ensure that our customers do not have to face any further difficulties or hardship at this time.
Last year, the Government established a Child Maintenance Review Group, chaired by former Circuit Court Judge Catherine Murphy, to examine certain issues in relation to child maintenance in Ireland including the treatment of maintenance payments within the social welfare system. The Group's report is expected later this year.