How does child maintenance affect benefits?

If you are a receiving parent (parent with care, 2003 scheme) and get benefits, you will be able to keep all child maintenance payments. If you are a paying parent (non-resident parent, 2003 scheme) and you, or your partner, get benefits, you will pay the flat rate of maintenance.

Receiving parent (parent with care, 2003 scheme) on benefits

If you are a receiving parent (parent with care, 2003 scheme) and get any social security benefits, you will be able to keep all child maintenance paid as it does not affect any of the benefits you claim. It will also not affect any housing benefit or tax credits awards you receive.

This applies to all kinds of child maintenance payments, including family-based arrangements, statutory child maintenance arrangements and court orders.

Some types of contributions made "in kind" as part of a family-based arrangement can sometimes affect benefit claims, such as if your child's other parent is paying part or all of your mortgage.

If you’re making a benefit claim, you should always report your child maintenance arrangements to your Social Security Agency, including how much you are receiving and how often you receive it, even if you don’t think it will affect your claim.

Paying parent (non-resident parent, 2003 scheme) or partner on benefits

If you are a paying parent (non-resident parent, 2003 scheme) and you, or your partner, receive any of the benefits listed below, you will have to pay the flat rate of child maintenance which is a fixed weekly amount of £7 (£5, 2003 scheme).

The £7 (£5, 2003 scheme) will normally be taken from either you or your partner’s benefit each week. Only one £7 payment (£5, 2003 scheme) will be taken no matter how many children are involved in the case.

If there is shared care, the £7 weekly payment (£5, 2003 scheme) could be reduced. CMS will include any shared cared arrangements when working out your child maintenance payments.

You will pay the flat maintenance rate of £7 (£5, 2003 scheme) if you get:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance
  • Category A, B, C or D Retirement Pension
  • State Pension
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Training allowance (other than work-based training for young people or, in Scotland, Skill-seekers training)
  • Armed Forces Compensation Scheme payments
  • War Disablement Pension
  • War Widow’s Pension, War Widower’s Pension, or Surviving Civil Partner Pension
  • Bereavement Allowance
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Industrial Injuries Benefit
  • Widowed Mother’s Allowance
  • Widowed Parent’s Allowance
  • Widow’s Pension
  • A social security benefit paid by a country other than the United Kingdom

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