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Welfare Reform and Pensions Act 1999


Payment where one member of the joint-claim couple has breached new section 20A

Where one of the joint claimants breaches subsection (2)(a)-(g) of new section 20A, the claimant who has not contravened JSA rules will receive the same amount of JSA payment as if he had claimed JSA on his own behalf.

It is intended that regulations under the power provided in subsection (6) of new section 20A will provide that where the claimant who has not breached the rules meets JSA contribution conditions, he will be paid an amount of income-based JSA equivalent to the rate of contribution-based JSA for the duration of the period of the sanction, provided he continues to meet JSA entitlement conditions.

If he does not meet the JSA contribution conditions, he will be paid an amount equivalent to the amount of income-based JSA that he would receive were he to make a claim for income-based JSA on behalf of himself only (taking into account the couple’s income and capital in determining the amount), provided he continues to meet JSA entitlement conditions.

New section 20A(7) provides that, if the claimant who normally receives the payment of JSA is the person who has breached new section 20A, payment of the single rate of JSA for the duration of the sanction will be made directly to the other claimant member of the couple.

Where both claimants breach JSA rules, new section 20A(5)(a) provides that no JSA will be paid for the period during which both are subject to sanctions.

It is intended that regulations will also provide that, where certain breaches of JSA rules attract a stoppage of JSA for two weeks for the first breach and a stoppage of JSA for four weeks for the second breach, the four week stoppage of JSA will apply only where the same partner on a joint claim contravenes the JSA rules more than once.

Paragraph 14: Termination of awards where another entitlement exists

This paragraph amends section 31 of the Jobseekers Act 1995 to extend it to joint-claim couples. It is a general rule that Income Support and JSA are mutually exclusive. In order to be entitled to JSA a person’s award of Income Support must come to an end and in order to be entitled to Income Support a person’s award of JSA must come to an end. Section 31 permits termination of awards for this purpose.

Paragraph 15: Interpretation

This paragraph amends the definition of “claimant” as contained in section 35 of the Jobseekers Act to include a joint-claim couple claiming a joint-claim JSA or each member of such a couple as the context requires. It also inserts definitions for “joint-claim couple”, “joint-claim Jobseeker’s Allowance” and “the nominated member”.

Paragraph 16: Entitlement without satisfying conditions

This paragraph amends Schedule 1 to the Jobseekers Act (Jobseeker’s Allowance: supplementary provisions).

Sub-paragraph (2) inserts a new paragraph 8A which allows the Secretary of State to prescribe circumstances in which a joint-claim couple will be entitled to joint-claim JSA even though only one member of the couple satisfies the JSA conditions referred to in new section 1(2B)(b).

Exemptions are necessary to cater for those who are unable to meet the JSA conditions, for example, those who do not meet the capability condition (in section 1(2)(f)) because of illness or disability. Others who have extensive caring responsibilities or are studying full-time will not be able to meet the availability condition (in section 1(2)(a)).

The intention is not to disentitle such joint-claim couples where one member of the couple cannot meet the conditions either at the outset of the joint claim or during the claim. (Currently, the partner is treated as a dependant on the JSA claim and is not required to meet the JSA conditions.)

Regulations will specify the persons to whom the provision applies, but it is intended that the categories will include persons caring for another person, persons incapable of work and those studying full-time in certain circumstances.

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