Social welfare legislation provides that, for social assistance schemes, all income and capital (such as savings, investments and property other than the family home) belonging to the claimant and his or her spouse/partner, where applicable, are assessable for means assessment purposes.
If a claimant is married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting, the Department will assess the couple's means when carrying out a means test for a social assistance payment. This is the case even if only one of the couple is actually claiming a payment. The purpose of this means assessment is to maintain the overarching policy of ensuring that social welfare expenditure is targeted to those who need it most.
For claimants of some schemes who are living with their parents and under the age of 25, parental income is taken into account when assessing means. This is not the case for disability allowance where the parent’s income is not taken into account.
Any changes to the manner in which means are assessed would need to be considered in an overall budgetary context.