Home Responsibilities Protection: what was HRP and who qualified for it: HRP and entitlement to Child Benefit
Regulation 2 of the Social Security Pensions (Home Responsibilities) Regulations 1994 (SI 1994/704) (“the 1994 regulations“)
Sections 141 - 147 of the SSCBA 1992.
A person satisfied the conditions for HRP if, for a complete tax year, they were “awarded” Child Benefit in respect of a child under the age of 16.
The person deemed to be “awarded” the Child Benefit was the person who made the claim for it, was awarded the Benefit, and to whom any correspondence was addressed. If the Child Benefit was paid into a couple’s joint account HRP was only given to the individual who was “awarded” the Child Benefit. It was therefore important for a couple to ensure that Child Benefit was claimed by, and awarded to the partner who would benefit most from the receipt of HRP..
Child Benefit is normally payable from the Monday after a child is born. Where a child is born shortly before the end of a tax year, the conditions for entitlement to Child Benefit may be satisfied from the beginning of the tax year but Child Benefit does not first become payable until the first Monday of that tax year. See Section -147(1)&(2) of SSCBA 1992. Regulation 4A of the 1994 regulations provides that, for HRP purposes, Child Benefit was treated as if it were payable from the beginning of the tax year so that the person awarded child benefit was entitled to HRP for that year.
An application can be made at any time to change the individual in respect of whom Child Benefit is awarded. Such a change would also have changed the individual who was entitled to receive HRP. Prior to the 2004/2005 tax year, this change would have had to be made precisely from the beginning of a tax year to avoid both individuals losing HRP entitlement by not having a full year as the person to whom Child Benefit was awarded
From the 2004/2005 tax year onwards however, changes made to the 1994 regulations by the Social Security Pensions (Home Responsibilities) (Amendment) Regulations 2005 (SI 2005/48) meant that there was a change in the person awarded Child Benefit within the first 3 months of a tax year, they were treated for HRP purposes as if they were entitled to Child Benefit from the beginning of that tax year. These provisions are set out at paragraph 4B of the 1994 regulations.
Prior to the 2008/2009 tax year if Child Benefit had been awarded to the person that did not require the protection afforded by HRP, the HRP acquired by that person could not be transferred retrospectively to another person. So if, for example, Child Benefit had been awarded to a husband, the associated HRP for those tax years could not be transferred to his wife in order to retrospectively afford her protection for those years - even if it was the wife who had been the person precluded from employment by staying at home to care for the child or children.
See NIM41331 for details of the changes that allowed retrospective transfer of Child Benefit and HRP from 2008/2009 onwards.