Reduction in the qualifying age of children under the child support scheme
Summary of proposed amendment
The bill proposes reducing the upper age of qualifying children under the child support scheme from under 19 years of age to under 18 years of age, unless the child is still in full time secondary education.
The amendment will apply from 1 April 2014.
Clause 8 amends current section 5, which identifies which children are qualifying children for whom child support under a formula assessment may be payable. Currently, children under the age of 19 (and who meet the other elements of the definition) are qualifying children. This change reduces the relevant age to children under the age of 18 so long as they meet the other requirements.
Children who are aged 18 can still be qualifying children, but only if they are still enrolled at a registered school.
Currently, child support is normally payable until a child reaches the age of 19 years (so long as the child also meets the other elements of the definition). However, many children start higher education before this age and so have access to the student loan and student allowance schemes, or are otherwise able to work or claim a benefit in their own right.
The bill therefore proposes that the qualifying age be changed so that child support payments automatically end when the child reaches 18, unless the child is still in full-time secondary education. In that case, the child would cease to be a qualifying child when they left school.