Loophole in DPB payments to be shut
The Government will close a loophole that enables DPB recipients to block the collection of child support payments.
Social Development and Employment Minister Steve Maharey revealed the planned change yesterday, after being questioned about assertions by National that more than 200 fathers on the Domestic Purposes Benefit refused to “name” the mother of their child – preventing the state collecting child support from them.
In fact Work and Income knows the identity of all the mothers, because it requires a birth certificate with the mother’s name to be presented before the father can claim the benefit.
But Mr Maharey said there was differing advice on whether the department could demand a liable parent contribution from either non-custodial fathers and mothers without the signed agreement of the custodial parent on a benefit.
Some beneficiaries are penalised by $22 a week a child for failing to sign the liable parent form – but if the liable parent is working the state would recover significantly more money per child.
There are 223 men – down from 250 earlier this year – who have not signed the consent forms and about 15,000 women who have not signed.
National welfare spokeswoman Judith Collins, who raised the issue of fathers not naming the mothers at her party’s weekend conference, claimed victory for the law change.
The Government had taken the matter more seriously since leader Don Brash had announced National would introduce stiffer penalties for non-liable parents in his Orewa welfare speech, she said.