CSA demanded almost two thousand pounds back pay to be paid instantly

January 25, 2013

I received a new assessment from the CSA in their letter of 10th January 2013 – the first since their incorrect nil assessment on 31st October 2012. In it they state I should pay £65.71 per week maintenance for my children. They go on to state that if I have any arrears they will write to me separately.

One week later I receive a telephone call from them demanding back payment of £1707; no letter. Failure to make an immediate payment they explained would result in a deduction of earnings order. They go on to say that I have good credit (presumably because they have accessed my bank details) implying that I can make a lump sum payment.

I never totally regained my composure throughout the conversation but did manage to explain that the savings I had access to were the proceeds of the house sale from when I was married. I’d put this money aside as this was my deposit money which I was expecting to use when I exchanged contracts on a new property the following day. I have a shared residency order and spend most weekends and 1/2 of the school holidays with my children and they need somewhere to live.

The demand for £1707 for back payment is the result of incorrect assessments by the CSA and should (as best as I can calculate) be £748.82. Between February and October last year I wrote 10 letters to the CSA requesting an accurate assessment which they never managed to achieve.

Eventually and despite my ex-wife’s insistence upon using the CSA, I began making payments to her directly in December 2012 to support my children. I’d begun working just 4 months earlier in September and had been putting money aside and got fed up waiting. The first two payments I made directly to my ex-wife totalled £800 (to cover the period September 2012 to December 2012). I also paid £110 for my eldest son’s school meals, and am employing a speech therapist for my youngest child’s speech problems at £75 per week.

Ironically, I am entitled to Child Benefit but since only one parent can receive this it is up to my ex-wife and me to agree a payment. Needless to say she refuses to discuss the issue and now owes me over £900 in child benefit since 5th April 2011 when she removed the children from their family home.

Comments

4 Responses to “CSA demanded almost two thousand pounds back pay to be paid instantly”

  1. chall on January 25th, 2013 1:53 pm

    Neil,

    Have you got any proof of the direct payments ( between September 2012 to December 2012) you made to your ex?

    You do need to establish whether the arrears figure is indeed correct.
    You could request (in writing, keep a copy and post signed for) a comeplete account breakdown showing pay due date, amounts etc.

    CSA staff normally begin by requesting full payment of arrears. However, they can make an agreement to pay the amount in instalments, which they prefer to take no longer than two years to clear.

    Did you pay the full arrears amount or did you manage to reach an agreement?

    chall

  2. Alice on January 25th, 2013 9:59 pm

    you mention that you are entitled to child Benefit – on what basis? Are you considered to be the primary carer for any of the children in the claim? If you have shared care are you getting the relevant reduction in your assessment?

    Did you keep copies of the letters you sent to the CSA? If you have copies this will not be grounds for the arrears to be written off – current legislation does not allow for CM arrears to be adjusted unless it is proven that the PWC has received the payments direct, but it would assist in a negotiation of how the arrears are to be collected. Also proof of payments being made direct to your ex – preferably a receipt signed by the PWC clearly stating that the money was for CM

  3. Alice on January 25th, 2013 10:05 pm

    having re-read your post I see that you state you have shared residency, as you are aware the payment is to be made to one person – if however there are multiple children being claimed for it is possible for one parent to claim for one child and the other parent to claim for the second, as such both parents assume duel roles with both parents being and NRP to one child and PWC to the other – both can therefore have CSA cases and counter-claim from each other On the face of it counter claims might seem stupid – but it can make for a fairer financial situation for an NRP who has 50/50 shared care but still has to pay CM whilst the PWC pays nothing. It can also benefit the PWC who is on the lower income as they still receive some financial support and can therefore provide a better standard of living for the children whilst they are in that PWCs household

  4. j on January 28th, 2013 11:43 pm

    Don’t deal with the csa by phone, everything in writing, sent recorded, keep the receipts.

    Copy your MP into everything and try and get them involved as your advocate.
    Make a formal complaint about any decision you are unhappy with from the outset as time limits are involved. Always go for an appeal tribunal asap following the internal process.

    Get a copy of your Data Protection prints from the outset so you know what you are dealing with, again follow the correct procedure in wording your request to get ALL information, send it to the right department, send the correct fee.

    Don’t be afraid to complain about any csa staff, or their superiors if you feel you have just cause.

    Remember the process, internal complaint, ‘independent’ case examiner (the csa protection department), appeals tribunal, parliamentry and health service ombudsman through your mp for maladministration.

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