Jobseeker's Allowance/Pre-Retirement Allowance - Assessment Spouse/Civil Partner/Cohabitant Earnings


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Part 1: ASSESSMENT

  1. Introduction
  2. Legislation
  3. Definition of Spouse/Civil Partner/Cohabitant
  4. Spouse/Civil Partner/Cohabitant Insurable Employment
  5. Saver Clause September 2007
  6. Spouse/Civil Partner/Cohabitant in seasonal employed
  7. Spouse/Civil Partner/Cohabitant on Community Employment(CE) Scheme
  8. Spouse/Civil Partner/Cohabitant in self employment
  9. Deducting Full/Half Means
  10. Spouse/Civil Partner/Cohabitant on Educational/Training Course
  11. Saver Clause - Rent/Mortgage Allowance
  12. Company Pension or Foreign Social Security Pension

Part 2: MARITAL BREAKDOWN

  1. Separation
  2. Maintenance Payments
  3. Saver Clause

Part 1: ASSESSMENT

(A) INTRODUCTION

The assessment of means for Jobseeker's Allowance and Pre Retirement Allowance includes the assessment of the earnings of a claimant's spouse/civil partner/cohabitant from both insurable and self employment.

(B) Legislation

The main provisions relating to the assessment of spouse/partner's earnings are contained in Rule 1(2), 1(7), of the Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act, 2005 and Article 153 of S.I. 142/2007 of the Social Welfare (Consolidated, Claims, Payments and Control) Regulations 2007 as amended by Art 10 of S.I. 700/07.

(C) Definition of Spouse/Civil Partner/Cohabitant
  1. Married couples – the term 'spouse' refers to each person of a married couple
  2. Civil partners - A 'civil partner' is defined as "each person of a couple who are civil partners within the meaning of section 3 of the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010". The term 'civil partner' only applies to a person who has registered their civil partnership.
  3. 'Cohabitants' refer to couples who are living together (both the same or opposite sex). The term 'cohabitant' is defined in the social welfare code in accordance with Section 172 (1) of the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act, 2010, which states that "... a cohabitant is one of two adults (whether of the same or the opposite sex) who live together as a couple in an intimate and committed relationship and who are not related to each other within the prohibited degrees of relationship or married to each other or civil partners of each other".

The following guidelines are used in order to carry out the assessment:

(D) Spouse/Civil Partner/Cohabitant Insurable Employment

From 26th September 2007
A person, whose spouse/civil partner/cohabitant is insurably employed, is assessed with the spouse/civil partner/cohabitant's earnings less allowable deductions.

The means of the spouse/civil partner/cohabitant is based on his/her assessable earnings. The assessable income of the spouse/civil partner/cohabitant is the gross earnings less PRSI, Superannuation, the pension levy and Trade Union subscriptions (deductions in respect of income tax and Health Insurance premiums e.g. VHI, BUPA, Hospital Saturday Fund etc. are not disregarded).

The family rate is based on a personal rate, a full qualified adult rate and full child dependant allowance rate less means. If the customer has a spouse/civil partner/cohabitant in employment a disregard of  €20.00 a day also applies to the spouse/civil partner/cohabitant for a maximum of 3 days a week (maximum €60.00 a week) and the balance is assessed at 60%. Means are applied in full. Means are only halved if the spouse/civil partner/cohabitant is getting a Social Welfare/Health Service payment or if s/he is getting an allowance on a full-time VTOS or FAS training course.

EXAMPLE of new assessment

Couple, husband is in receipt of JA and his spouse/civil partner/cohabitant is working 4 days a week in part-time insurable employment with gross income of €120.00 per week. Deductions are as follows: PRSI nil, Superannuation €11.00, union dues €6.00, (net €103.00). The income earned by the spouse/civil partner/cohabitant is assessed as follows:

Example of New Assessment:
Gross weekly income from spouse/civil partner/cohabitant earnings €120.00
Less PRSI nil
Less Superannuation €11.00
Union dues €6.00
Net income from spouse/civil partner/cohabitant earnings = €103.00
Less disregard (20 X 3) €60.00
Total = €43.00
Weekly means (43 x 60%) = €25.80
Means (rounded) €26.00
JA Claim:
Personal Rate €204.30
QA €135.60
Total €339.90
Less Means €26.00
Amount payable: €313.90

The means are applied in full.

Under the new assessment, means are applied in full unless the spouse/civil partner/cohabitant is on a Social Welfare payment, HSE payment or on a full time FAS/VTOS course and getting an allowance.

(E) SAVER CLAUSE September 2007

The saver clause relates to the halving of means. Where the customer's spouse/civil partner/cohabitant had earnings and the means on the claim were halved then the halving of means may still apply. If customer was in receipt of a higher payment on the 26th September 2007 than he/she would be entitled to under the new assessment a saver should be applied. However, should the customer sign off for more than 4 consecutive weeks the saver will no longer apply.

Special provisions apply to a customer who breaks his/her claim in the period between 29 August 2007 and 24 October 2007. S/he may benefit from the saver even if s/he breaks his/her claim more than once or for more than 4 weeks within that period. The deciding factor here is whether s/he has entitlement in respect of at least a day in both the four weeks prior and the four weeks post 26 September 2007.

Example of Saver Case

Couple, claimant is in receipt of JA and his spouse/civil partner/cohabitant is working 4 days a week in part-time insurable employment with gross income of €120.00 per week. Deductions are as follows: PRSI nil, Superannuation €11.00, union dues €6.00, (net €103.00) the income earned by the spouse/civil partner/cohabitant is assessed as follows:

Example of Saver Clause:
Step 1:
What are claimant's means from his spouse/civil partner/cohabitant employment?
spouse/civil partner/cohabitant net income €103.00
Less working spouse/civil partner/cohabitant allowance €100.00
Total €3.00
Step 2:
Claimant's entitlement €204.30
QA (reduced rate) €124.80
Total €329.10
Less €2.00 (Means were halved where the spouse/civil partner/cohabitant income was greater than €76.18.) (means rounded half means applies)
Amount payable €327.10
(F) Spouse/Civil Partner/Cohabitant in Seasonal Employment

Seasonal earnings are assessed during the working season only. Once the working season is over, the means derived from these earnings are no longer assessed.

Note: This provision does not apply to seasonal self-employment.

(G) Spouse/Civil Partner/Cohabitant a Community Employment (CE) scheme

An increase for a spouse/civil partner/cohabitant is payable on a claim while the spouse/civil partner/cohabitant is on a CE Scheme. A spouse/civil partner/cohabitant earnings from employment on a CE scheme are assessed in the same manner as any other earnings from insurable employment.

(H) Spouse/Civil Partner/Cohabitant in Self-Employment

Where the spouse/civil partner/cohabitant is self-employed, earnings are assessed as gross income less expenses necessarily incurred in exactly the same manner as if the claimant was the person who was self-employed.

See Guideline on Assessment of Means

(I) Deducting Half/Full Means Assessment

From the 26th September 2007 means are applied in full unless the spouse/civil partner/cohabitant is on a Social Welfare payment, HSE payment or on a full-time FAS course/VTOS course and getting an allowance.

(J) Spouse/Civil Partner/Cohabitant on course of Educational/Training

Education/Training Course (incl.FÁS/VEC)

A training allowance received by a claimant's spouse/civil partner/cohabitant in respect of a course of education or training is not assessable for means purposes.

BTEA, BTWEA, BTWA, PTJI or VTOS.

Any social welfare payments or training allowances received by the claimant's spouse/civil partner/cohabitant in respect of each of the above schemes are disregarded for means purposes.

Note 1:- Although all Higher Education Grants, ESF grants and VEC Scholarship Scheme grants are also disregarded, grants received in respect of other training courses may be assessable.

Note 2:- See also paragraph Deducting Half/Full Means Assessment.

(K) Saver clause - rent/mortgage allowance

Where a person was entitled to, or was in receipt of JA on any day in the week-ending 18 November 1986 - and where in assessing his /her means, s/he was assessed with the value of his/her spouse/civil partner/cohabitant income, s/he continues to receive an allowance in respect of rent or mortgage repayments on the family home. If his/her claim is broken i.e. a lapse of 52 weeks or more, this saver clause will no longer apply.

(L) Company Pension or Foreign Social Security Payment

In these cases the amount of such payments (less PRSI) should be assessed in full.

PART 2: MARITAL BREAKDOWN

(A) Married Couple/Civil Partner's Earnings

Where the relationship between married couple/civil partners has deteriorated to such an extent that they are effectively separated (but without a formal separation agreement) the actual extent to which the spouse's married couple/civil partners income is relevant to a person's means will be established by reference to the facts of the situation.

(B) Maintenance Payments

If a person is living apart from his/her spouse/civil partner/cohabitant and s/he is in receipt of maintenance from that spouse/civil partner/cohabitant any moneys received by way of maintenance payments including maintenance payments in respect of children are assessed as means. Maintenance from more than one person will be added and assessed. Where a person is co-habiting and his/her civil partner/cohabitant is in receipt of maintenance, this maintenance is assessable.

Any maintenance payment, whether a formal or an informal arrangement or whether procured by way of Court Order or otherwise is assessable as means.

In assessing the means, housing costs actually incurred by the claimant,(e.g. rent or mortgage payments and/or home improvement loan) up to a maximum of €95.23 per week may be offset against the maintenance payment, with half the balance of the maintenance being assessed as means in the determination of the rate of payment of any of the schemes mentioned at the outset. Housing costs actually incurred by the customer refer solely to money paid for rent or mortgage or repayments of home improvement loan for the residence in which the customer is residing.

Evidence of the housing costs such as rent/mortgage repayments must be provided by the claimant.

(C) Saver Clause

Previous Methods of Assessment of Maintenance (prior to 30 April 2003).

If a person is living apart from his/her spouse/civil partner/cohabitant but the spouse/civil partner/cohabitant pays a weekly amount to him/her in maintenance s/he will be assessed with the cash value of such payments.

Mortgage / Rent

Where a person is living apart from his/her spouse/civil partner/cohabitant and in addition to or instead of maintenance payments:

  • The spouse/civil partner/cohabitant is paying the mortgage/rent directly to the lending institution/landlord, or
  • The spouse/civil partner/cohabitant, in keeping with the terms of a court order or a legal agreement with the person, pays a specific amount to the person to fund mortgage repayments/rent, or
  • The person, in keeping with an oral agreement between the parties, can produce documentary proof of regular mortgage/rent payments,

These payments should be treated as a maintenance payment in the normal way with the necessary disregards being applied. (Previously the value of such payments was assessed at €7.00 per week).

Cohabitation - Maintenance paid to Person's Cohabitant

Where a person is cohabiting and his/her partner cohabitant is in receipt of maintenance, payments made specifically in respect of children are not assessable, but all maintenance paid in respect of the partner cohabitant is assessed.

Where no breakdown between partner cohabitant and children is specified, all of the maintenance is assessable.

NOTE: See Chapter re Dependants regarding circumstance in which a person can claim a cohabitant and/or his/her children as dependants.

Last modified:14/02/2011
 

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