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Pocket Money

Volume 128: debated on Wednesday 2 March 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services in what situations his Department's regulations require children's pocket money to be taken into account when assessing a claimant's entitlement to benefit.

Any payment which an absent parent makes to a child whom he is liable to maintain is normally treated as income and taken into account in full in the assessment of supplementary benefit; such payments will similarly be taken into account under the rules for income support. However, the first £100 of any gift for an occasion, like a birthday, is ignored for supplementary benefit purposes. Under income support any payments made by way of gifts will be treated as capital except that any amount which exceeds in aggregate £250 in 52 weeks will be treated as income and taken into account in full.Pocket money paid regularly to a child by a person who is not liable to maintain him or her is treated as a voluntary payment. Under supplementary benefit the first £4 a week is disregarded. From 11 April the disregard will increase to £5 a week under income support. Occasional payments of pocket money are normally treated as capital in supplementary benefit. In income support, the first £250 in any period of 52 weeks will be regarded as capital and any excess treated as income averaged over the number of weeks remaining in that year.