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The Social Security (Lone Parents and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2016

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Statutory Rules of Northern Ireland

2016 No. 67

Social Security

The Social Security (Lone Parents and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2016

Made

22nd February 2016

Laid before Parliament

29th February 2016

Coming into operation

16th January 2017

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions makes the following Regulations in exercise of the powers conferred by sections 122(1)(a), 123(1)(e) and 171(1) and (3) to (5) of the Social Security Contributions and Benefits (Northern Ireland) Act 1992(1), sections 2A(1) and 165(1), (4) and (5) of the Social Security Administration (Northern Ireland) Act 1992(2), Articles 8(4) and 9(4) of the Jobseekers (Northern Ireland) Order 1995(3) and sections 2(4)(a) and 4(6)(a) of the Welfare Reform Act (Northern Ireland) 2007(4).

Those powers are exercisable by the Secretary of State by virtue of Article 4(1)(b) of the Welfare Reform (Northern Ireland) Order 2015.

Citation, commencement and interpretation

1.—(1) These Regulations may be cited as the Social Security (Lone Parents and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2016.

(2) These Regulations come into operation on 16th January 2017.

(3) Paragraph (2) is subject to the provisions in the Schedule.

(4) In these Regulations—

“the Income Support Regulations” means the Income Support (General) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1987(5);

“the Lone Parents Regulations” means the Social Security (Work-focused Interviews for Lone Parents) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2001(6);

“the Work-focused Interviews Regulations” means the Social Security (Work-focused Interviews) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2003;(7) and

“lone parent” has the same meaning as in regulation 2(1) of the Income Support Regulations.

(5) The Interpretation Act (Northern Ireland) 1954(8) shall apply to these Regulations as it applies to an Act of the Assembly.

Amendment of the Income Support Regulations

2.  In Schedule 1B(9) (prescribed categories of person) of the Income Support Regulations for paragraph 1 substitute—

Lone Parents

1.(1) A lone parent who is responsible for, and a member of the same household as—

(a)a single child aged under 5, or

(b)more than one child where the youngest is aged under 5.

(2) A lone parent who is under the age of 18..

Amendment of the Jobseeker’s Allowance Regulations

3.—(1) The Jobseeker’s Allowance Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1996(10) are amended in accordance with paragraphs (2) and (3).

(2) After regulation 17A (further circumstances in which a person is to be treated as available: full-time students participating in a qualifying course)(11) insert—

Further circumstances in which a person is to be treated as available: lone parents with children aged 5 not in full-time education

17B.  A lone parent shall be treated as available for employment in any week where—

(a)the lone parent is responsible for, and a member of the same household as, a child who is aged 5;

(b)the child—

(i)is not receiving full-time education by regular attendance at school or otherwise; and

(ii)is not required by law to receive full-time education; and

(c)it would be unreasonable for the lone parent to make other arrangements for the care of that child..

(3) After regulation 21A (further circumstances in which a qualifying person is to be treated as actively seeking employment: full-time students participating in a qualifying course) (12) insert—

Further circumstances in which a person is to be treated as actively seeking employment: lone parents with children aged 5 not in full-time education

21B.  A lone parent who is treated for any period as being available for employment under regulation 17B shall be treated as actively seeking employment for the same period..

Amendment of the Lone Parents Regulations

4.  In regulation 2ZA(1)(c) of the Lone Parents Regulations (requirement for certain lone parents to take part in an interview)(13) for “4, 5 or 6” in both places where it occurs substitute “4”.

Amendment of the Work-focused Interviews Regulations

5.  In regulation 3A(1)(c) of the Work-focused Interviews Regulations (requirement for certain lone parents to take part in an interview)(14) for “4, 5 or 6” in both places where it occurs substitute “4”.

Amendment of the Employment and Support Allowance Regulations

6.  In regulation 7(1)(c)(iii) of the Employment and Support Allowance Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2008(15) (circumstances where the condition that the assessment phase has ended before entitlement to the support component or work-related activity component arises does not apply) for “2008” substitute “2016”.

Savings and transitional provisions applicable to certain lone parents following a full-time course

7.—(1) This regulation applies to a lone parent if the following conditions are met.

(2) The first condition is that—

(a)immediately before the specified day the lone parent was entitled to income support and fell within paragraph 1 (lone parents) of Schedule 1B (prescribed categories of person) to the Income Support Regulations;

(b)no other paragraph of Schedule 1B applies to the lone parent; and

(c)on and after the specified day, the lone parent is responsible for and a member of the same household as—

(i)a single child aged 5 or over, or

(ii)more than one child where the youngest child is aged 5 or over.

(3) The second condition is that immediately before the specified day, and on and after that day, the lone parent is also—

(a)a full-time student attending or undertaking a full-time course of advanced education, a full-time course of study or a sandwich course, or

(b)following a full-time course of training or instruction provided pursuant to arrangements made by the Department for Employment and Learning or pursuant to a scheme which has been approved by the Department for Employment and Learning as supporting the objectives set out in section 1 of the Employment and Training Act (Northern Ireland) 1950(16).

(4) This regulation does not apply, or (as the case may be) it ceases to apply, to a lone parent if the lone parent makes a further claim for income support on or after the specified day.

(5) Where this regulation applies to a lone parent—

(a)paragraph 1 of Schedule 1B to the Income Support Regulations as in operation in relation to the lone parent at the beginning of the period of study referred to in paragraph (3)(a) shall continue to have effect in relation to the lone parent for so long as the lone parent remains a full-time student;

(b)paragraph 1 of Schedule 1B to the Income Support Regulations as in operation at the beginning of the particular course of training or instruction referred to in paragraph (3)(b) shall continue to have effect in relation to the lone parent for so long as the lone parent is following that full-time course; and

(c)any requirement to take part in a work-focused interview every 13 weeks in accordance with regulation 2ZA of the Lone Parents Regulations or regulation 3A of the Work-focused Interviews Regulations shall continue to apply in relation to the lone parent at a time when, apart from this paragraph, the requirement would cease to apply because the lone parent’s child’s or youngest child’s, age exceeds the age specified in those regulations.

(6) For the purposes of this regulation—

“full-time student” and “sandwich course” each have the same meaning as in regulation 61 of the Income Support Regulations;

“period of study” has the same meaning as in regulation 2(1) of the Income Support Regulations;

“specified day” means 16th January 2017.

Revocations

8.  The following regulations are revoked—

(a)regulations 2 and 4 of the Social Security (Lone Parents and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2008(17), and

(b)regulations 13(2)(b)(i) and 15(2)(b) of the Social Security (Miscellaneous Amendments No. 2) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011(18).

Signed by authority of the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Priti Patel

Minister of State,

Department for Work and Pensions

22nd February 2016

Regulation 1(3)

SCHEDULESpecial Commencement Provisions for Certain Existing Claimants

Application and interpretation

1.—(1) A lone parent falls within this Schedule if—

(a)the lone parent has attained the age of 18;

(b)the lone parent was entitled to income support on grounds of falling within paragraph 1 (lone parents) of Schedule 1B (prescribed categories of person) to the Income Support Regulations immediately before the commencement day;

(c)no other paragraph of Schedule 1B applies to the lone parent; and

(d)on the commencement day, the lone parent is responsible for and a member of the same household as—

(i)a single child who is aged 5 or 6 or who will attain the age of 5 before 17th July 2017 ; or

(ii)more than one child where the youngest child is aged 5 or 6 or will attain the age of 5 before 17th July 2017.

(2) A lone parent does not fall within this Schedule if on or after the commencement day—

(a)the lone parent makes a further claim for income support; or

(b)regulation 7 applies to the lone parent.

(3) In this Schedule—

“benefit week”(19) has the same meaning as in regulation 2(1) of the Income Support Regulations;

“child” means a person aged under 16;

“child tax credit” means a child tax credit under section 8 of the Tax Credits Act 2002(20);

“commencement day” means 16th January 2017;

“voluntary interview appointment” means an appointment for a lone parent who falls within this Schedule to attend an interview voluntarily for the purpose of discussing the changes to income support entitlement for lone parents which are made by these Regulations; and

“work-focused interview” means a work-focused interview conducted in accordance with regulations made under section 2A(1) of the Social Security Administration (Northern Ireland) Act 1992.

Lone Parent responsible for a child who has attained the age of 6 before 16th January 2017

2.—(1) This paragraph applies to a lone parent who falls within this Schedule if, before the commencement day, the lone parent is responsible for and a member of the same household as—

(a)a single child who has attained the age of 6; or

(b)more than one child, the youngest of whom has attained the age of 6.

(2) Subject to paragraphs 6 and 7, regulations 2, 4 and 5 come into operation in relation to a lone parent to whom this paragraph applies on the first day of the benefit week in which a requirement to take part in a work-focused interview would, apart from these Regulations, next have arisen in relation to the lone parent on or after 16th January 2017.

Lone Parent responsible for a child who attains the age of 6 after 15th January 2017 and before 17th April 2017

3.—(1) This paragraph applies to a lone parent who falls within this Schedule if, on the commencement day, the lone parent is responsible for and a member of the same household as—

(a)a single child who attains the age of 6 after 15th January 2017 and before 17th April 2017; or

(b)more than one child, the youngest of whom attains the age of 6 after 15th January 2017 and before 17th April 2017.

(2) Subject to paragraphs 6 and 7, regulations 2, 4 and 5 come into operation in relation to a lone parent to whom this paragraph applies at the end of the last day of the benefit week in which the child in question attains the age of 6.

Lone Parent responsible for a child who attains the age of 5 after 16th April 2016 and before 17th April 2017

4.—(1) This paragraph applies to a lone parent who falls within this Schedule if, on the commencement day, the lone parent is responsible for and a member of the same household as—

(a)a single child who attains the age of 5 after 16th April 2016 and before 17th April 2017; or

(b)more than one child, the youngest of whom attains the age of 5 after 16th April 2016 and before 17th April 2017.

(2) Subject to paragraphs 6 and 7, regulations 2, 4 and 5 come into operation in relation to a lone parent to whom this paragraph applies on the first day of the first benefit week in which a requirement to take part in a work-focused interview would, apart from these Regulations, next have arisen in relation to the lone parent on or after 17th April 2017.

Lone Parent responsible for a child who attains the age of 5 after 17th April 2017 and before 17th July 2017

5.—(1) This paragraph applies to a lone parent who falls within this Schedule if, on the commencement day, the lone parent is responsible for and a member of the same household as—

(a)a single child who attains the age of 5 after 17th April 2017 and before 17th July 2017; or

(b)more than one child, the youngest of whom attains the age of 5 after 17th April 2017 and before 17th July 2017.

(2) Subject to paragraphs 6 and 7, regulations 2, 4 and 5 come into operation in relation to a lone parent to whom this paragraph applies at the end of the last day of the benefit week in which the child in question attains the age of 5.

Circumstances where the Department is not satisfied that a decision has been made in relation to the lone parent’s claim for child tax credit at the time of the voluntary interview appointment

6.—(1) Where sub-paragraph (2) applies, regulation 2 comes into operation in relation to a lone parent at the end of the period of 4 weeks beginning with the day mentioned in sub-paragraph (2) of paragraphs 2, 3, 4 or 5, as would be applicable to the lone parent apart from this paragraph (“the relevant day”).

(2) This paragraph applies where—

(a)a lone parent to whom this Schedule applies has been invited in writing by the Department to attend a voluntary interview appointment on a date during the two month period before the relevant day;

(b)at the time of the voluntary interview appointment, the lone parent has claimed, or is treated as having made a claim for, child tax credit; and

(c)the Department is not satisfied that a decision has been made in relation to that claim at the time of the voluntary interview appointment.

Lone parents not invited to a voluntary interview during the two month period before the relevant day

7.  Where a lone parent to whom this Schedule applies has not been invited in writing, before the day mentioned in sub-paragraph (2) of paragraphs 2, 3, 4 or 5, as would be applicable to the lone parent apart from this paragraph (“the relevant day”), to attend a voluntary interview appointment regulations 2, 4 and 5 come into operation in relation to the lone parent at the end of a period of 6 weeks beginning with the date in which the Department invites the lone parent in writing to attend a voluntary interview appointment.

EXPLANATORY NOTE

(This note is not part of the Regulations)

These Regulations amend the Income Support (General) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1987 (“the Income Support Regulations”), the Jobseekers Allowance Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1996, the Social Security (Work-focused Interviews for Lone Parents) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2001 (“the Lone Parents Regulations”), the Social Security (Work-focused Interviews) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2003 (“the Work-focused Interviews Regulations”) and the Employment and Support Allowance Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2008.

Regulation 2 replaces paragraph 1 of Schedule 1B to the Income Support Regulations with the result that a lone parent is entitled to income support solely on grounds of being a lone parent, only if they are under 18 or if their youngest child is under the age of 5.

Regulation 3 amends the Jobseekers Allowance Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1996 so as to treat a lone parent who is responsible for, and a member of the same household as, a child aged 5 who is not receiving and is not required to receive full-time education as being available for, and actively seeking employment, where it would be unreasonable for the lone parent to make other arrangements for the child’s care.

Regulation 4 amends the Lone Parents Regulations so that lone parents are required to take part in work-focused interviews every 13 weeks under regulation 2ZA of those Regulations only if their youngest child is aged 4.

Regulation 5 amends the Work-focused Interviews Regulations, so that lone parents are required to take part in work-focused interviews every 13 weeks under regulation 3A of those Regulations, only if their youngest child is aged 4.

Regulation 6 amends the Employment and Support Allowance Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2008 to extend the circumstances in which entitlement to the support or work-related activity components of Employment and Support Allowance can arise even though the assessment phase has not ended to include cases where a lone parent’s entitlement to income support ends as result of these Regulations.

Regulation 7 makes transitional provision for lone parents who are existing income support claimants and who are also full-time students or following certain full time courses, so that paragraph 1 of Schedule 1B to the Income Support Regulations, as in operation immediately before these Regulations come into operation, continues to apply to them until their youngest child reaches the age when they would otherwise have ceased to be entitled to income support, or until they cease to take part in a course that is covered by the provision or make a new claim for income support. During any such transitional period the lone parent will continue to be required to take part in work-focused interviews every 13 weeks.

Regulation 8 makes consequential revocations.

The Schedule makes provision for the changes to paragraph 1 of Schedule 1B to the Income Support Regulations, to regulation 2ZA of the Lone Parents Regulations and to regulation 3A of the Work-focused Interviews Regulations to take effect at a later date in the case of certain existing claimants linked to the age of the claimant’s youngest child and the date on which the child’s birthday falls. It also provides for the change to income support entitlement to take effect later for some lone parents, and in certain circumstances, for the changes made to the Lone Parents Regulations and the Work-focused Interviews Regulations to also be postponed.

(1)

1992 c. 7; section 123(1)(e) was inserted by paragraph 13(5) of Schedule 2 to, the Jobseekers (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 (S.I. 1995/2705 (N.I. 15)) and amended by Schedule 3 to, the State Pension Credit Act (Northern Ireland) 2002 (c. 14 (N.I.)); section 171(1) was amended by paragraph 5 of Schedule 4 to, the Tax Credits Act 2002 (c. 21).

(2)

1992 c. 8; section 2A was inserted by Article 54 of the Welfare Reform and Pensions (Northern Ireland) Order 1999 (S.I. 1999/3147 (N.I. 11)) and amended by section 29(2) and (4) of the Welfare Reform Act (Northern Ireland) 2010 (c. 13); section 165(1) was amended by paragraph 49(2) of Schedule 3 to the Social Security Contributions (Transfer of Functions, etc.) (Northern Ireland) Order 1999 (S.I. 1999/671).

(5)

S. R. 1987 No. 459; relevant amending Regulations are S.R. 1996 No. 199 and S.R. 2008 No. 478.

(6)

S. R. 2001 No. 152; relevant amending Regulations are S.R. 2008 No. 478, S.R. 2011 No. 368 and S.R. 2011 No. 357.

(7)

S. R. 2003 No. 274; relevant amending Regulations are S.R. 2008 No. 478 and S.R. 2011 No. 357.

(9)

Schedule 1B was inserted by regulation 22 of S.R. 1996 No. 199 and paragraph 1 was substituted by regulation 2 and amended by regulation 4 of S.R. 2008 No. 478.

(10)

S.R. 1996 No. 198; relevant amending Regulations are S.R. 1998 No. 198.

(11)

Regulation 17A was inserted by regulation 4 of S.R. 1998 No. 198.

(12)

Regulation 21A was inserted by regulation 5 of S.R. 1998 No. 198.

(13)

Regulation 2ZA was inserted by regulation 5(3) of S.R. 2008 No. 478 and paragraph (1)(c) was amended by regulation 13(2)(b) of S.R. 2011 No. 357.

(14)

Regulation 3A was inserted by regulation 8(3) and amended by regulations 9 and 10 of S.R. 2008 No. 478 and paragraph (1) was amended by regulation 15(2) of S.R. 2011 No. 357.

(15)

S.R. 2008 No. 280; regulation 7(1)(c) was added by regulation 12(b) of S.R. 2008 No. 478.

(19)

The definition of “benefit week” was amended by regulation 2(a) of S.R. 1988 No. 318.

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