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Social Security team issues clarification on Child Benefit and MERA payments

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The Social Security division has issued the following information after receiving a number of similar calls and messages requiring clarification.

Child Benefit

Child Benefit is subject to an ‘income test’ which is based on the taxable income of the claimant (and their partner, if applicable) in the tax year two years prior to the date of claim. The amount of child benefit awarded is based on this.

Each April, Child Benefit is reassessed to take account of the next year’s taxable income. Some people receive an increase or decrease in their award, and some lose entitlement to child benefit altogether if their household income in the relevant tax year exceeded £80,000.

Due to the significant pressures the division has been under in responding to the current pandemic, letters advising customers of any changes to their Child Benefit award have not yet been issued. It is hoped these letters will be issued in the next two weeks.

We apologise for the delay but hope that customers understand that, in the circumstances, resources have been focused on areas such as Jobseeker’s Allowance, MERA and Incapacity Benefits, which have seen exceptional levels of demand.

Manx Earnings Replacement Allowance (MERA)

For most people, MERA is payable from 6 April 2020 and is paid 2 weeks in arrears. However, in order to get initial payments set up and money to customers as quickly as possible, staff have in many cases made a one-off payment for the first week and claimants then move on to the fortnightly payment runs.

For example, first payments received between April 16 and 24 covered period April 6-12 April (£200 - one week); the next payment of £400 will reach accounts on April  30 covering the two-week period April 13-26 April and then every two weeks thereafter.

Those involved in the construction and horticulture sectors, and who do not return to work from April 24, continue to qualify for MERA or Jobseekers’ Allowance.

For further information on any of these matters, customers should email or call +44 1624 685656.