I propose to take Questions Nos. 607 and 608 together.
Where a one parent family payment (OFP) is awarded, the Department seeks to trace the other parent, referred to as the liable relative, in order to ascertain whether he or she is in a financial position to contribute towards the cost of the OFP.
The legislative basis for the implementation of the Liability to Maintain Family Provisions is set out in Part 12 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005, as amended. The methods of assessment of the liable relative’s ability to pay are specified in detail in Regulations (S.I. 571 of 2006 and S.I. 142 of 2007 as amended).
In making a determination order, the Liable Relatives Unit will assess the financial position of each liable relative, based on the net weekly income after applicable allowances have been taken into account, as set out in the Regulations.
A liable relative is given the option to commence making payments to the OFP recipient or to the Department.
Where a liable relative fails to commence payments, the Department is empowered to apply to the District Court for an order directing that contributions be paid. I am advised that since 2016, the Department has submitted 19 cases to the Chief State Solicitor's Office to obtain an order directing that the liable relative comply with the determination.
I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.