I am pleased to announce that the full child maintenance disregard will be introduced on 12 April 2010.
In the child maintenance White Paper published in December 2006 the Government committed that by 2010-11 they would increase significantly the amount of maintenance that all parents with care on benefit can keep before it affects the level of benefits they receive. The first phase in meeting this commitment was taken in October 2008 when a full child maintenance disregard was introduced in housing and council tax benefits and doubled to £20 across the other income-related benefits.
In the welfare reform White Paper, “Raising expectations and increasing support; reforming welfare for the future”, published in December 2008, the Government announced that a full child maintenance disregard would be introduced in all income-related benefits from April 2010.
By introducing a full child maintenance disregard, the Government are demonstrating their commitment to abolishing the revenue recovery function of the child maintenance system and instead focusing it on parental responsibility and tackling child poverty.
A full disregard will encourage both parents to set up an effective maintenance arrangement and the non-resident parent to pay maintenance because all of the money will go to the children rather than the state. It is important that both parents arrange maintenance agreements that provide reliable financial support for their children.