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02.10.2014

 

CSA begins to close cases as part of reforms

 

The Child Support Agency (CSA) has begun closing cases as part of its programme to replace the CSA with the Child Maintenance Service (CMS). Old cases will be closed between now and 2017.

 

The CSA is beginning with 'nil-assessed' cases. These are cases where no maintenance has been due because of the circumstances of the ‘non-resident parent’. This could be for a number of reasons such as they were a full-time student, or had a very low income when the CSA made the assessment.

 

When parents are contacted by the CSA, they will generally be given six months' notice that their case will close. They will need to make a new financial arrangements for their child, either through a private ‘family-based agreement’ with their child’s other parent or through an application for statutory child maintenance to the CMS.

 

If a parent does apply to the CMS, they will be charged a £20 application fee and collection fees if they use the Collect & Pay service. The government has introduced fees and charges for parents using the 2012 statutory Child Maintenance Scheme (CMS). The fees and charges will apply to new parents who want to use the 2012 Scheme and existing parents already on it. This is to encourage parents to reach their own agreement through a private family-based arrangement or, if they use the CMS, to pay each other directly through Direct Pay. The following fees and charges apply:

 

Application fees:

 

The parent who applies to the CMS must pay a £20 application fee. Their application won’t be processed until they pay the fee in full. They won’t have to pay the application fee (called a waiver) if:

 

  • they’re a victim of domestic violence or abuse and have reported it to certain organisations such as the police or domestic violence organisations
  • they’re under 19

 

Collection fees:

 

Both parents must pay a collection fee for using the Collect & Pay service. The Collect & Pay service is when the CMS works out the amount of child maintenance to be paid and collects payments from the paying parent and passes them on to the receiving parent.

 

The paying parent will have to pay a 20 per cent collection fee each time a payment is collected from them.

 

The receiving parent will have to pay a 4 per cent collection fee each time a payment is passed onto them.

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