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Welfare Reform Act (Northern Ireland) 2010

Section 4: Entitlement to jobseeker’s allowance without seeking employment etc.

Subsections (1) to (3) amend the Jobseekers (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 by inserting new Articles 3A and 3B to provide entitlement to jobseeker’s allowance for different categories of claimant including groups who would currently claim income support.

New Article 3A makes provision for claimants who are not a member of a joint-claim couple. It re-states the existing basic conditions under which people who are not in remunerative work can qualify for contribution-based or income-based jobseeker’s allowance if they satisfy jobseeking conditions (such as to be available for and actively seeking work.). It creates a new entitlement for people of a description provided in regulations, who are not required to meet the jobseeking conditions but meet the other basic conditions of entitlement, such as presence in Northern Ireland and satisfy an income test. It also ensures that lone parents with a child under seven are a prescribed category of person. This will enable income-based jobseeker’s allowance to be extended to groups who currently qualify for income support.

New Article 3B ensures that the existing provision in Article 5A of the Jobseekers (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 (the conditions for claims by joint-claim couples) can continue to operate in the light of the amendments made to the Jobseekers (Northern Ireland) Order by the new Article 3A above. Where a person is a member of more than one couple, regulations will make provision for deciding which couple is included for the purposes of a joint-claim. This would apply, for example, to someone in a polygamous marriage.

Paragraph (4) introduces Schedule 1, which includes amendments to the Jobseekers (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 to support these changes.

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