ROCHDALE PRESENTATION e mail

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Civil Partnership Division Stella George andamp; Arthur McNulty

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' Today there are thousands of same-sex couples living in stable and committed partnerships. I hope this Act will help create a more equal society. It opens the way to respect, recognition and justice for those who have been denied it for too long.' Jacqui Smith MP

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'My partner died of cancer two years ago. We were together for 17 years.  Her employers were very sympathetic, but the local government pension scheme cannot make any provision for me or my child for whom my partner had assumed financial responsibility for the whole of her life.' 

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'My partner who lived with me – we were together for nine years - died over a year ago from AIDS. Medical treatment was one of the main problems. My partner did not want his life unduly prolonged if he had no hope of recovery, but as his mother was next of kin she made the decisions when he was terminally ill. She was unable to accept his illness and wanted everything possible done to keep Steve alive despite medical advice and opinion. It was extremely distressing'

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Progression of Bill Consultation paper issued 30/06/2003 Royal assent 18/11/2004 Act becomes law 05/12/2005

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Preparing DWP Customers Joint treatment for income related benefits Income Support Jobseekers Allowance (Income Based) Pension Credit Housing Benefit Council Tax Benefit

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Preparing DWP Customers Pensions Adult Dependency Increases

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Contributory Benefits Where a civil partnership is formed, contributory benefits are payable to both parties of a civil partnership in the same way as currently to married couples.

Preparing DWP Customers: 

Preparing DWP Customers Same sex couples who live together will be subject to the Living Together As Husband And Wife test in the same way as opposite sex couples are currently To support this we have Updated learning tools and guidance Re-designed the interview form to make it ‘gender neutral’

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Preparing DWP Staff Language – forms, guidance, learning and development tools, leaflets, IT Living Together As Husband And Wife Test applies to same sex couples from 5/12/2005 Culture Retraining for visiting officers and decision makers

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Preparing DWP Staff Diversity product – video dealing with sexuality Diversity toolkit available to all staff Involvement with staff diversity/LGBT groups Launch event for video supported by minister

Preparing DWP Customers Publicity: 

Preparing DWP Customers Publicity Onus on customer to inform DWP DTI led press campaign DWP / CAB leaflet Tax Credit Newsletter HB/CTB mail shot Attendance at Pride events

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Bereavement Benefits From 05/12/2005, surviving civil partners will be entitled to bereavement benefits in exactly the same way as widows/widowers. The formation of a subsequent civil partnership or living with a same sex partners as if they were civil partners will affect entitlement to Bereavement Allowance or Widowed Parent’s Allowance.

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Incapacity Benefit From 05/12/2005, civil partners can claim an Adult Dependency Increase for their partner in the same way as men and women can claim for their spouse.

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Jobseekers Allowance (Contribution-based) The existence of a partner has no effect on entitlement to JSA(Cont) so the introduction of civil partnerships has no impact on this benefit.

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Income Related Benefits As income related benefits currently treat married and unmarried couples who live together in the same way, same sex couples living together will be regarded as a couple whether or not they form a civil partnership. The effect on individual benefits/allowances is as follows:

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Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance (Income Based) and Pension Credit and Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit Where customers are in receipt of any of the above prior to 05/12/2005 and declare a same sex partnership after 05/12/2005, their benefit can be affected in several ways, for example: Both partners receiving single rate benefit prior to 05/12/2005 would reduce to one couple rate afterwards. Combined capital may also affect the rate payable. One partner on single rate prior to 05/12/2005 would lose entitlement completely if partner is in remunerative work.

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Disability Benefits Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance The existence of a partner has no effect on entitlement to AA, DLA so the introduction of civil partnerships has no impact on these benefits.

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Carer’s Allowance From 05/12/2005, civil partners can claim an Adult Dependency Increase for their partner in the same way as men and women can claim for their spouse. Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit The existence of a partner has no effect on entitlement to IIDB so the introduction of civil partnerships has no impact on these benefits.

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Child Support Agency   From 05/12/2005, same-sex couples will be treated in the same way as opposite-sex couples for Child Support.   The CSA will re-assess cases where requested from 05/12/2005, or if other changes of circumstances occur on or after 05/12/2005 and they become aware of the civil partnership.  

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State Pensions   In some circumstances husbands and wives are able to qualify for state pensions using their spouse’s national insurance contributions. Where husbands and wives have the same State pension rights, these will be available to civil partners from 5 December 2005. From 2010 the rights of husbands, wives and civil partners will be the same.  

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State Pensions   If one civil partner dies before reaching pension age, the situation with benefits will be the same as for widows and widowers. Same-sex couples who have dissolved their civil partnership will be able to use each other’s National Insurance contributions to qualify for a pension.

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Transitional Protection There is no transitional protection. Under existing rules, same-sex couples are treated as individuals for social security purposes and therefore sometimes advantageously. There is sufficient time, before implementation, to mount a publicity campaign that will raise awareness of the change in the law and ensure that existing customers are aware of their responsibility to report the formation of a civil partnership or a living together with a same-sex partner situation.

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Contact details   LSA.CIVILPARTNERSHIPPROJECT-COMMS@DWP.GSI.GOV.UK

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