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Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008

Child Maintenance

Removal of compulsion for benefit claimants
Current position

21.Under section 6 of the Child Support Act 1991, if a parent with care is paid or has claimed income support, or income based jobseeker’s allowance, (or one of those benefits has been claimed or is paid in respect of that parent), they are treated as though they have applied for child support maintenance.

22.Parents with care who do not wish to be treated as applying for child support maintenance need to demonstrate good cause: for example, that applying for maintenance could put them, or any child living with them, at risk of harm or undue distress. If they do not demonstrate good cause, section 46 of the Child Support Act 1991 enables the Secretary of State to make a decision to reduce their benefit.


23.The Act repeals sections 6 and 46 of the Child Support Act 1991. This will mean that parents with care in receipt of (or applying for) the prescribed benefits will not be treated as applying for maintenance, and therefore they can not be subject to a reduced benefit decision.

24.Once this change occurs existing parents with care whose application for child maintenance was made under section 6 (and was therefore compulsory) will have a choice of withdrawing from the statutory scheme should they wish to do so.

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