Welfare Reform and Pensions Bill - continued        House of Lords

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SCHEDULE 7
 
  JOINT CLAIMS FOR JOBSEEKER'S ALLOWANCE
 
Jobseekers Act 1995 (c.18)
     1. The Jobseekers Act 1995 has effect subject to the following amendments.
 
     2. - (1) Section 1 (entitlement to jobseeker's allowance) is amended as follows.
 
      (2) In subsection (2) (conditions of entitlement), for paragraph (d) (claimant must satisfy conditions set out in section 2 or 3) substitute-
 
 
    "(d) satisfies the conditions set out in section 2;".
      (3) After subsection (2) insert-
 
 
    "(2A) Subject to the provisions of this Act, a claimant who is not a member of a joint-claim couple is entitled to a jobseeker's allowance if he satisfies-
 
 
    (a) the conditions set out in paragraphs (a) to (c) and (e) to (i) of subsection (2); and
 
    (b) the conditions set out in section 3.
      (2B) Subject to the provisions of this Act, a joint-claim couple are entitled to a jobseeker's allowance if-
 
 
    (a) a claim for the allowance is made jointly by the couple;
 
    (b) each member of the couple satisfies the conditions set out in paragraphs (a) to (c) and (e) to (i) of subsection (2); and
 
    (c) the conditions set out in section 3A are satisfied in relation to the couple.
      (2C) Regulations may prescribe circumstances in which subsection (2A) is to apply to a claimant who is a member of a joint-claim couple.
 
      (2D) Regulations may, in respect of cases where a person would (but for the regulations) be a member of two or more joint-claim couples, make provision for only one of those couples to be a joint-claim couple; and the provision which may be so made includes provision for the couple which is to be the joint-claim couple to be nominated-
 
 
    (a) by the persons who are the members of the couples, or
 
    (b) in default of one of the couples being so nominated, by the Secretary of State."
      (4) In subsection (4)-
 
 
    (a) in the definition of "an income-based jobseeker's allowance", at the end insert "or a joint-claim jobseeker's allowance;" and
 
    (b) after that definition insert-
 
    ""a joint-claim couple" means a married or unmarried couple who-
 
      (a) are not members of any family whose members include a person in respect of whom a member of the couple is entitled to child benefit, and
 
      (b) are of a prescribed description;
 
    "a joint-claim jobseeker's allowance" means a jobseeker's allowance entitlement to which arises by virtue of subsection (2B)."
     3. In section 2(1) (the contribution-based conditions), for "section 1(2)(d)(i)" substitute "section 1(2)(d)".
 
     4. - (1) In subsection (1) of section 3 (the income-based conditions), for "section 1(2)(d)(ii)" substitute "section 1(2A)(b)".
 
      (2) After that section insert-
 
 
"The conditions for claims by joint-claim couples.     3A. - (1) The conditions referred to in section 1(2B)(c) are-
 
    (a) that the income of the joint-claim couple does not exceed the applicable amount (determined in accordance with regulations under section 4) or the couple have no income;
 
    (b) that no member of a family of which the couple are members is entitled to income support;
 
    (c) that no member of any such family (other than the couple) is entitled to an income-based jobseeker's allowance;
 
    (d) that at least one member of the couple has reached the age of 18; and
 
    (e) that if only one member of the couple has reached the age of 18, the other member of the couple is a person-
 
      (i) in respect of whom a direction under section 16 is in force; or
 
      (ii) who has, in prescribed circumstances to be taken into account for a prescribed period, reached the age of 16.
      (2) Subsections (2) and (4) of section 3 shall apply in relation to a member of the couple to whom subsection (1)(e)(i) or (ii) above applies as they apply in relation to a claimant to whom subsection (1)(f)(ii) or (iii) of that section applies.
 
      (3) In subsection (1)(e)(ii) above "period" shall be construed in accordance with section 3(3).
 
Joint-claim couples: the nominated member.     3B. - (1) Where a joint-claim couple make a claim for a joint-claim jobseeker's allowance, they may nominate one of them as the member of the couple to whom the allowance is to be payable.
 
      (2) In default of one of them being so nominated, the allowance shall be payable to whichever of them is nominated by the Secretary of State.
 
      (3) Subsections (1) and (2) have effect subject to section 4A(4) and (7).
 
      (4) In this Act references to the nominated member of a joint-claim couple are, except where section 20A(7) applies, to the member of the couple nominated under subsection (1) or (2) above; and where section 20A(7) applies, references to the nominated member of such a couple are to the member of the couple to whom section 20A(7) provides for the allowance to be payable.
 
      (5) Nothing in this section or section 20A(7) affects the operation of any statutory provision by virtue of which any amount of the allowance is required or authorised to be paid to someone other than the nominated member of the couple."
 
     5. - (1) Section 4 (amount of jobseeker's allowance) is amended as follows.
 
      (2) In subsection (3) (amount payable in respect of an income-based jobseeker's allowance), after "allowance" insert "(other than a joint-claim jobseeker's allowance)".
 
      (3) After subsection (3) insert-
 
 
    "(3A) In the case of a joint-claim jobseeker's allowance, the amount payable in respect of a joint-claim couple shall be-
 
 
    (a) if the couple have no income, the applicable amount;
 
    (b) if the couple have an income, the amount by which the applicable amount exceeds the couple's income."
      (4) After subsection (11) insert-
 
 
    "(11A) In subsections (6) to (11) "claimant" does not include-
 
 
    (a) a joint-claim couple, or
 
    (b) a member of such a couple (other than a person to whom regulations under section 1(2C) apply);
  but section 4A, which contains corresponding provisions relating to joint-claim couples, applies instead."
 
     6. After section 4 insert-
 
 
"Amount payable in respect of joint-claim couple.     4A. - (1) This section applies where-
 
    (a) a joint-claim couple are entitled to a joint-claim jobseeker's allowance, and
 
    (b) one or each of the members of the couple is in addition entitled to a contribution-based jobseeker's allowance;
  and in such a case the provisions of this section have effect in relation to the couple in place of section 4(3A).
 
      (2) If a joint-claim couple falling within subsection (1) have no income, the amount payable in respect of the couple by way of a jobseeker's allowance shall be-
 
 
    (a) the applicable amount, if that is greater than the couple's personal rate; and
 
    (b) the couple's personal rate, if it is not.
      (3) Where the amount payable in accordance with subsection (2) is the applicable amount, the amount payable in respect of the couple by way of a jobseeker's allowance shall be taken to consist of two elements-
 
 
    (a) one being an amount equal to the couple's personal rate; and
 
    (b) the other being an amount equal to the excess of the applicable amount over the couple's personal rate.
      (4) Where the amount payable in accordance with subsection (2) is the couple's personal rate, then-
 
 
    (a) if each member of the couple is entitled to a contribution-based jobseeker's allowance, an amount equal to the member's own personal rate shall be payable in respect of the member by way of such an allowance;
 
    (b) if only one of them is so entitled, an amount equal to that member's personal rate shall be payable in respect of the member by way of such an allowance;
  and in either case nothing shall be payable in respect of the couple by way of a joint-claim jobseeker's allowance.
 
      (5) If a joint-claim couple falling within subsection (1) have an income, the amount payable in respect of the couple by way of a jobseeker's allowance shall be-
 
 
    (a) the amount by which the applicable amount exceeds the couple's income, if the amount of that excess is greater than the couple's personal rate; and
 
    (b) the couple's personal rate, if it is not.
      (6) Where the amount payable in accordance with subsection (5) is the amount by which the applicable amount exceeds the couple's income, the amount payable in respect of the couple by way of a jobseeker's allowance shall be taken to consist of two elements-
 
 
    (a) one being an amount equal to the couple's personal rate; and
 
    (b) the other being an amount equal to the amount by which the difference between the applicable amount and the couple's income exceeds the couple's personal rate.
      (7) Where the amount payable in accordance with subsection (5) is the couple's personal rate, subsection (4) shall apply as it applies in a case where the amount payable in accordance with subsection (2) is that rate.
 
      (8) The element of a jobseeker's allowance mentioned in subsection (3)(a) and that mentioned in subsection (6)(a) shall be treated, for the purpose of identifying the source of the allowance, as attributable-
 
 
    (a) in a case where only one member of the joint-claim couple is entitled to a contribution-based jobseeker's allowance, to that member's entitlement to such an allowance; and
 
    (b) in a case where each member of the couple is entitled to a contribution-based jobseeker's allowance, rateably according to their individual entitlements to such an allowance.
      (9) The element of a jobseeker's allowance mentioned in subsection (3)(b) and that mentioned in subsection (6)(b) shall be treated, for the purpose of identifying the source of the allowance, as attributable to the couple's entitlement to a joint-claim jobseeker's allowance.
 
      (10) In this section "the couple's personal rate", in relation to a joint-claim couple, means-
 
 
    (a) where only one member of the couple is entitled to a contribution-based jobseeker's allowance, that member's personal rate;
 
    (b) where each member of the couple is entitled to such an allowance, the aggregate of their personal rates."
     7. - (1) Section 8 (power to make regulations requiring attendance etc.) is amended as follows.
 
      (2) In subsection (1), after "claimant" insert "(other than a joint-claim couple claiming a joint-claim jobseeker's allowance)".
 
      (3) After subsection (1) insert-
 
 
    "(1A) Regulations may make provision-
 
 
    (a) for requiring each member of a joint-claim couple claiming a joint-claim jobseeker's allowance to attend at such place and such time as the Secretary of State may specify;
 
    (b) for requiring a member of such a couple to provide information and such evidence as may be prescribed as to his circumstances, his availability for employment and the extent to which he is actively seeking employment;
 
    (c) for requiring such a couple to jointly provide information and such evidence as may be prescribed as to the circumstances of each or either member of the couple, the availability for employment of each or either member of the couple and the extent to which each or either member of the couple is actively seeking employment;
 
    (d) where any requirement to provide information or evidence is imposed on such a couple by virtue of paragraph (c), for the joint obligation of the couple to be capable of being discharged by the provision of the information or evidence by one member of the couple."
      (4) In subsection (2), after "Regulations under subsection (1)" insert "or (1A)".
 
      (5) In subsection (2)(a) (cases where entitlement to allowance may cease on account of non-compliance), after "in the case of a claimant who" insert ", or (as the case may be) a joint-claim couple claiming a joint-claim jobseeker's allowance a member of which,".
 
      (6) In subsection (2)(b) (cases where entitlement to allowance may cease by reference to the time expired since the claimant's last attendance)-
 
 
    (a) after "he" insert "or, as the case may be, a member of the joint-claim couple"; and
 
    (b) after "subsection (1)(a)" insert "or (1A)(a)".
      (7) For paragraph (c) of subsection (2) (provision for entitlement not to cease where good cause shown) substitute-
 
 
    "(c) provide for entitlement not to cease if the claimant or (as the case may be) either member of the joint-claim couple shows, within a prescribed period of the failure to comply on the part of the claimant or (as the case may be) a member of the couple, that the claimant or (as the case may be) the defaulting member of the couple had good cause for that failure; and".
     8. In section 9(12) (jobseeker's agreement ends when allowance ends), at the end insert "or to a joint-claim couple of which he is a member."
 
     9. - (1) Section 13 (income and capital for the purposes of an income-based allowance) is amended as follows.
 
      (2) After subsection (2) insert-
 
 
    "(2A) Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply as regards a joint-claim jobseeker's allowance; but a joint-claim couple shall not be entitled to a joint-claim jobseeker's allowance if the couple's capital, or a prescribed part of it, exceeds the prescribed amount.
 
      (2B) Where a joint-claim couple claim a joint-claim jobseeker's allowance-
 
 
    (a) the couple's income and capital includes the separate income and capital of each of them; and
 
    (b) the income and capital of any other person who is a member of any family of which the couple are members shall, except in prescribed circumstances, be treated as income and capital of the couple."
      (3) In subsection (3) (treating capital as income), after "subsection (1)" insert "or (2A)".
 
     10. After section 15 (effect on family of one member being involved in a trade dispute) insert-
 
 
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