Maman Poulet | Clucking away crookedly through media, politics and life

Dept. of Social Protection publish FAQ on Civil Partnership and Cohabitation

December 30th, 2010 · 5 Comments · LGBT, Same Sex Partnerships, Social Policy

As I have referred to frequently in the blog posts on the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights of Cohabitants Act 2010 there are to be significant changes to social welfare entitlement, benefit, and assessment for those in civil partnerships and also to those cohabiting in same sex relationships.

The Department of Social Protection now have produced a Frequently Asked Questions guide on the issue and it will be of interest to all involved.

Q.3      What is a cohabiting relationship for the purposes of the Act?

A. A “cohabitant” is a person living in an “intimate and committed relationship” with a person who is not that person’s spouse or civil partner. Cohabitants may be of the same sex as each other or of the opposite sex, though they may not be close relatives.

Special rules apply to couples who are deemed to be “qualified cohabitants”, that is, where they have lived together for at least five years, or two years if they have had a child or children together, and the couple satisfy a range of other criteria.

Q.9     Will my partner’s means be taken into account when I am being assessed by the Department of Social Protection ?

A. The means of both civil partners and same-sex cohabitants will be taken into account in assessing means for social assistance purposes. The rule which limits certain social assistance payments to couples will also apply.  This could result in a reduction in the level of payment to one or both of the couple, for example, a reduction in Jobseeker’s Allowance due to the means of a co-habiting partner.

Guidelines have been issued to Department officials to assist both in giving information to those in same sex relationships and entering Civil Partnerships and also in assessing those thos cohabiting in assessing their income for social welfare purposes.

Lots of interesting interactions to come no doubt and shock for couples who do not share finances who will have to produce information on bank accounts and wages.   If you have any experiences on this or indeed resistance to getting rights and entitlements which become due you might leave a comment letting me know?

The matter of the travel pass is also settled

Q.10    Will my civil partner be able to get free travel when I am aged over 66 years ?

A. A civil partner over age 66 will be able to get a Free Travel Pass which will automatically allow their civil partner to travel free with them.  This will not be automatic for cohabitants who will have to submit an additional application.


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