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Low income families could see benefits cut

Proposals to be put to Tynwald this month

Benefits claimants may have to work more hours to qualify for employed person's allowance, if Tynwald gives the go-ahead this month.

Approval is being sought to make changes to the rules for EPA, and income support for lone parents.

EPA is defined as "a means-tested benefit paid predominantly to families who work but who have a low to moderate income."

It's thought around two-thirds of people who claim it are lone parents, and roughly a third are couples who have at least one child.

Currently, lone parents must work at least 16 hours a week to be eligible, and one or both partners in a qualifying couple must work at least 30 hours a week, without combining their hours.

That criteria applies irrespective of the age of their children.

In short, the new proposals would mean:

Couples whose youngest or only child is aged under six will be able to combine their hours, and must work at least 35 hours in total

Couples whose youngest or only child is aged six or over will be able to combine their hours and must work at least 48 hours a week in total (with exceptions provided in relation to disabilities, caring responsibilities, sickness, pregnancy and bereavement)

Lone parents whose youngest or only child is aged 13 or over will now need to work at least 24 hours a week (with exceptions provided in relation to disabilities, caring responsibilities, sickness, pregnancy and bereavement)

The proposals, which are a revised version of those brought to Tynwald earlier this year, would come into effect from the beginning of June 2020.

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