Social Welfare Payments and Maintenance
Applicants for social welfare payments are no longer required to seek child maintenance from the other parent of their child when applying for the One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) or Jobseeker’s Transitional Payment (JST). The requirement to seek maintenance was reviewed by the Child Maintenance Review Group set up by the Government and, in November 2022, a government decision was taken to remove the requirement for applicants to seek child maintenance which means that people should not be asked to seek maintenance as part of their OFP or JST application.
The Child Maintenance Review Group also recommended the removal of child maintenance from the assessment of means for all social welfare payments and social assistance schemes. We do not have a date for the change in the law which allows the Department of Social Protection to exclude child maintenance in the calculation of means. Once the change is made, the Department will then review all payments where maintenance was included in the means test but individuals can also request a review of their claim once the legislation has been changed. It is our understanding that any increase in your payment would be backdated to the date the law changed.
The decision to remove child maintenance from the assessment of means applies to all social welfare payments and social assistance schemes and not just One-Parent Family Payment or Jobseeker’s Transitional Payment. If you are in receipt of Disability Allowance, Carer’s Allowance, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Working Family Payment, Rent Supplement etc. and your payment has been reduced because you receive child maintenance then you can request a review of your payment once the legislation has been changed.
Any child maintenance declared to the Department will continue to be assessed in the means test until the legislation changes but if you don’t declare child maintenance then you will not be asked to pursue the other parent in relation to this.
Please note that spousal maintenance will continue to be means tested as normal. The changes only apply to child maintenance.
You will find information here about changes to how child maintenance is assessed by the Department of Social Protection.