Under existing provisions, an adult dependant allowance is payable to a social welfare recipient in respect of a spouse or partner where they are not in receipt of a social welfare payment in their own right and do not have income in excess of £60 per week.
The problems associated with the current situation, whereby a beneficiary loses entitlement to the adult dependant allowance and half of any increase payable in respect of dependent children when the earnings of the spouse or partner exceed this income limit, would not be resolved by increasing the present limit in line with inflation.
I included legislative changes in the Social Welfare Act, 1995, which are designed to enable me to make provision for such tapering in appropriate regulations. A number of options for tapering of the withdrawal of the adult dependant allowance are currently being examined. I hope to be in a position to make progress in the matter by the end of this year.