CMS have made up payments to take even though I can prove I owe nothing

April 8, 2019

Well, on Wednesday of this week I received a letter completely out of the blue, from the DWP, stating that they had given my bank a court order to take out £180 / month commencing the following Monday. Upon calling them that day, they advised that the arrears are from a period between 2013 and 2016, that they had been passed on by the CSA, and that they could give me no information as to how this has been calculated. They advised that they had sent 2 previous letters, but to an old address.

I informed them that since 2013, I have had a family based agreement, which has been paid on the same day every month for the past 6 years. I advised that I could provide bank statements to prove payments but they would be from a closed account which is no longer operating. Luckily, the bank have advised they can send me statements going back to 2013, but it would take 2 weeks. I advised the CMA of this, and that I would provide my statements, along with tax returns for the period in question, to enable them to calculate what I should have been paying.

They advised that they are not interested in tax returns just evidence of what I have been paying. When I asked how then, if they are unsure how the arrears has been calculated, how they would work out if the arrears is correct? They did not have an answer. When I pointed out that I have had pretty much no contact from the CSA for the past 6 years, and they would have no idea what I have been paying, and therefore there calculation is likely to be based on misinformation, there was just silence. When I asked why, if I owe money from 6 years ago, I have not heard anything from the CSA regarding arrears again I was met with silence, followed by confirmation, that in 2 working days time, £180/ month will be taken from me.

I have no idea how it had been calculated and neither do CMS. I have bank statements coupled with tax returns that will demonstrate that in fact I have been overpaying based on earnings for the period in question, yet they are not interested. It’s not even a case of guilty until proven innocent. Apparently I’m guilty even if I can prove innocence.


  • TheWriteMan says:

    The Child Support Agency is still going through a transitional period to the Child Maintenance Service. I am in no doubt that the entire process is a complete shambles, with staff being retrained or recruited at a Machiavellian pace. They have no care or concern for the children or fathers, it’s all about how much they can earn from fees and justifying their organisation’s existence.

    My advice to anyone dealing with the CMS is to keep every record of every correspondence in a separate file, as well as any communication between you and your ex, as well as your children. You need to keep monthly bank statements, making sure to log any payments you make, don’t make an agreement with your ex, they never honour such agreements and will come back to ask you for more, or the CMS will on their behalf. When you send a payment ask for a receipt, think of your situation as a business, you need to have invoices and confirmation of any payments you have made, as well as some form of accounting spreadsheet, even if it’s a basic Excel document, many templates can be found online. If they ever get to the point of threatening you and taking money out of your account you can close it and create another one, with limited funds, just make sure you don’t have an overdraft limit, even if it’s £250, remove it. The CSA can’t charge interest, they will ask you to pay arrears, and maybe over two years instead of one. You might be able to pay less over a longer period depending on you circumstances. They act like a mafia, but they are reluctant to go to court, as it means more time and costs for their agency. Just be firm, if you don’t owe them anything they can’t make up lies, they are still answerable, and you have the right to make a complaint, even at Government level.

    If you do one thing today, do this: Ask for written or email confirmation from your ex for every payment you make, or tell them you won’t make the next payment. This is only fair, and not an unreasonable request and it will save you a lot of hassle in the years to come.

    The CMS are unable to cope with staffing and training let alone manage child maintenance claims, make sure you keep one step ahead of them, as the system is not going to improve anytime soon.

    At the rate things are going you might decide to close your bank account, move abroad and find work, as they can’t take child maintenance from foreign earnings, only those earned in the UK.

    Keep fighting, you’ve got to win this battle for your kids, get organised and keep on top of things, you’ll survive, even if it comes to ending up on benefits.

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