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Child Support Agency

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 20th July 2011.

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Photo of Maria Miller Maria Miller The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission is responsible for the child maintenance system. I have asked the Child Maintenance Commissioner to write to the hon. Member with the information requested and I have seen the response.

Letter from Noel Shanahan

In reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Child Support Agency, the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Child Maintenance Commissioner as the Child Support Agency is now the responsibility of the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission.

You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what sources of income the Child Support Agency classifies as protected earnings.

Following contact with your office we clarified that the question refers to ‘protected income’, the element of the child maintenance formula which determines the amount of child maintenance liability, as opposed to ‘protected earnings’ which is the amount which cannot be taken from an employed non-resident parent's wages when he or she is subject to a Deduction from Earnings Order.

The types of income that are not taken into account in the child maintenance formula are detailed in child support regulations (Schedule 2 of the Maintenance Assessments and Special Cases Regulations 1992). In summary these are:

Business expenses which are wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred in the day to day performance of employment duties;

Any compensation for personal injury and any payments from a trust fund set up for that purpose; Housing benefit; council tax benefit; disability living allowance (or a motability supplement); attendance allowance (or constant attendance allowance or exceptionally severe disablement allowance paid because of industrial injury or war injury); social fund payments; guardian's allowance and Christmas bonus. In addition to this payments made to compensate for the loss of a benefit are also disregarded in full; and

Certain benefits which are ignored in part, for the 1993- scheme £10 per week of war disablement pension, war widow's or war widower's pension or payments made to a parent under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme is disregarded. Only a total of £20 a week in total can be disregarded from a combination of war pensions, charitable contributions and student income. This is consistent with the treatment of these pensions for means tested benefits, for which a weekly £10 disregard also applies. Certain supplementary allowances paid within the overall award of the War Disablement Pension are also not included as assessable income. These include a payment based on the need for attendance which is paid as part of a war disablement pension and “adult or child dependency allowance” within the War Disablement Pension. These are excluded from assessable income, provided that the allowance is paid directly to the parent.

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