Thursday, 11 September 2014

Shake up of child maintenance to benefit 50,000 children

Changes to child maintenance rules are set to benefit up to 50,000 children.

Under changes to the system, single and separated parents who have previously received no maintenance from their former partner could start receiving payments.

As a 3-year process of closing all existing Child Support Agency (CSA) cases begins, as many as 50,000 children will be newly eligible for maintenance.

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) will be writing to parents of so-called “nil-assessed” cases – those in which, because of the circumstances of the non-resident parent, no maintenance has been due. But because the parents’ circumstances may have changed since the initial assessment was made  it may be that maintenance becomes payable once a new assessment is carried out. Therefore, all parents who receive a letter are encouraged to act.

Liberal Democrat Child Maintenance Minister, Steve Webb MP, said:

"We’re reforming the child maintenance system because we want to get more maintenance to more children. This process provides parents with an opportunity to re-consider their child maintenance arrangements and our estimates show that as many as 50,000 children could benefit.

"I would urge anyone who receives a letter from the CSA about their case closing to look carefully at the options, as they may be surprised at the support available to them."