Children: Maintenance

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 13th June 2019.

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Photo of Shabana Mahmood Shabana Mahmood Labour, Birmingham, Ladywood

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the process is through which eligibility for child maintenance payments is verified.

Photo of Shabana Mahmood Shabana Mahmood Labour, Birmingham, Ladywood

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what safeguards her Department have put in place to ensure that the system for child maintenance payments is not open to abuse by people who have left full time education.

Photo of Will Quince Will Quince The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

In order to make a child maintenance assessment the Child Maintenance Service must identify a receiving parent, a paying parent and at least one qualifying child.

It is not necessary for a person to be receiving Child Benefit for them to be treated as a receiving parent. However, entitlement to Child Benefit is based on an overall care test which is broadly similar to the Child Maintenance policy on day to day care. Payment of Child Benefit is therefore a very good indicator of who should be treated as the receiving parent. Where Child Benefit is not in payment, the Service will request additional evidence from both parents.

For child maintenance purposes, a child must be under 20 years of age and in full time non-advanced education or approved training, and eligible for Child Benefit. They also need to be habitually resident in the UK and usually living in the same household as the receiving parent.

Child Benefit may stay in payment for a period after a child under 20 ceases education or training until a 'terminal date' is reached. Child Benefit will remain payable from the date education or training ceased up to and including the week that includes the first terminal date.

Both paying and receiving parents have a responsibility to inform the Child Maintenance Service of any change in circumstances. If parents inform the Service that a qualifying child has left education, the Child Maintenance Service will seek to verify this and update the maintenance calculation accordingly.

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