Written Answers. - Social Welfare Schemes.

Frances Fitzgerald

Question:

791 Ms Fitzgerald asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs if the issue of maintenance assessment across welfare schemes will be reviewed to ensure consistency; the changes envisaged; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20514/00]

At present the treatment of maintenance in the social welfare system differs across schemes. For example, in the one-parent family payment means test all maintenance received is assessed as means with the exception of a disregard of £75 per week in respect of vouched housing costs. In contrast to this, maintenance paid to claimants of unemployment assistance in respect of children is not assessed as means.

The review of the one-parent family payment, published by my Department recently, examined the treatment of maintenance within the one-parent family payment means test and suggested that OFP recipients be allowed to retain at least 50% of any maintenance received in addition to the existing disregard for housing costs. The review also proposed that the treatment of maintenance be standardised across all social welfare schemes using the OFP system including the proposed change.

These proposals will be examined in a budgetary context.