asked the Secretary of State for Social Services under what circumstances his Department requires the consent of a wife for payment of child benefit to be made to the husband.
Where a husband and wife live together and both claim child benefit it is payable to the wife who has priority of title. Where the husband claims and the wife does not, her written consent is generally necessary before the husband's claim is allowed. Where the wife is receiving child benefit, and the husband who is living with his wife wishes to claim the benefit, the wife's written consent is also generally needed. My right hon. Friend has discretion to permit exceptions to the need for written consent to protect the interests of the person to whom benefit is payable or a child for whom benefit is payable.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services under what circumstances the father's name is printed on child benefit order books, and how many such books there are having both spouses' names printed.
Where a husband and wife live together and child benefit is claimed and is payable to the wife, her name appears on the child benefit order book as the main beneficiary. In such cases—the majority of child benefit claims—the husband's name appears on the order book cover as the alternative payee, unless the wife says in writing that this should not be done. An alternative payee's name will not be shown where the husband and wife are living apart.I understand that the hon. Member has written to the child benefit centre about payment of child benefit to a divorced man and that the child benefit centre replied on 23 January. If the hon. Member has any further queries on the general principles involved, or the particular claim, perhaps he will write to me.