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Heather Humphreys Sasko Lazarov
Heather Humphreys

Social Protection Minister publishes Bill reforming child maintenance to benefit lone parents

Minister Humphreys will bring the Social Welfare (Liable Relatives and Child Maintenance) Bill 2023 before the Dáil later today.

MINISTER FOR SOCIAL Protection Heather Humphreys will today publish a bill which will introduce significant reforms to social welfare entitlements for lone parents.

Her department has said over 16,000 lone parents will benefit from the reforms which include the exclusion of maintenance payments from social welfare means tests for the first time.

Minister Humphreys will bring the Social Welfare (Liable Relatives and Child Maintenance) Bill 2023 before the Dáil later today. 

If enacted into law, the bill will mean many lone parents on reduced rates of payment will see their payment increase, while others will qualify for a payment.

It is estimated that the measure will cost approximately €10 million per year.

Speaking ahead of the Dáil debate, Minister Humphreys said the legislation represents a “landmark reform” of the child maintenance system.

“I saw it myself when I worked in the Credit Union. Some weeks, the child maintenance was paid, other weeks it was missed.

“And the person that suffers most in that situation is the child. And I don’t want to see that happen.

“So this bill will make a positive to so many different families and I’m very pleased to bring it before the Dáil today,” she said.

The bill also provides for ‘Liable Relative’ provisions to be discontinued. As a result, for lone parents receiving the One-Parent Family Payment, the Department will no longer seek to recoup a portion of claim costs from the non-resident parent.

Recently, Minister Humphreys signed into effect regulations, which mean that lone parents no longer have to prove that they have made efforts to seek child maintenance from their child’s other parent, when applying for the One Parent Family payment or Jobseeker’s Transitional Payment.

“This requirement often involved lone parents having to go to Court to seek a maintenance order, so this change removes a potential additional stress for them, as well as helping to reduce the burden on our courts system,” Minister Humphreys said.

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