|Total population (m.):||7.4|
|GDP per capita (USD):||27656|
There have been a number of changes to income support arrangements providing improved entitlement to benefits.
Under a recent regulation, a family unit may be entitled to income support benefit even if the spouse is not a resident of the country. Previous to the change, eligibility for the benefit was automatically ruled out if the spouse was not a resident.
Benefits are also now available where a person is undertaking a course which supplements a high school education and which extends for more than 12 months. Previously people taking such courses for longer than twelve months were not eligible for income support.
An abandoned child may now receive income support benefit for an unlimited period whereas previously this benefit was limited to 12 months.
From March 1995, a prisoner's spouse will receive income support benefit at the higher rate paid to sole parents, if the prisoner has been imprisoned or under arrest for at least 30 days.
The higher rate paid to sole parents and widows is also available, from 1 June 1995, to a person who receives benefit separately from their spouse but who does not fit under the definition of a sole parent. This higher rate is available for as long as a child under the age of 18 is living with that person. They are also now able to receive a study grant on condition that they have children of eligible age (aged 6 to 14).
Parents in this category include the spouses of prisoners or those separated from their spouses.