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Child Maintenance

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, whether the Child Support Agency classifies a war disablement pension as assessable income in calculating child maintenance liability.

The treatment of War Disablement Pensions differs for child maintenance purposes between the two statutory schemes.

Under the 1993 child maintenance scheme the Commission includes a War Disablement Pension within a parent's assessable income as prescribed in child support law, which establishes that £10 of any War Disablement Pension is disregarded when calculating the assessable income of a parent. A non-resident parent that is in receipt of a War Disablement Pension will not be required to pay child maintenance if they have been assessed under the child support formula as having to pay £6.50 or less per week.

Under the 2003 child maintenance scheme, if the non-resident parent is in receipt of a War Disablement Pension the Commission applies the flat rate of £5, when determining the child maintenance calculation, as prescribed in child support law.

If a parent believes there are special circumstances that have not been captured within the standard maintenance calculation then they can apply for a variation. An application for a variation may be applied for on a number of different grounds by either the parent with care or the non-resident parent.

One of the grounds for a variation is where the non-resident parent has income which has not been taken into account within the standard child maintenance calculation. This may apply where the non-resident parent is at the flat-rate, including cases where this is as a result of them being in receipt of a War Disablement Pension. The parent with care may apply for a variation if they believe that the non-resident parent has an income of at least £100 a week which would otherwise be taken into account for the calculation of maintenance.

I hope you find this answer helpful.

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