CSA told I was on the sick and not earning but they still want the money as though I was

November 6, 2012

I have for last 4 years paid £400 per month through a order on my wages for my daughters welfare ie CSA. About 10 weeks ago i suffered a major breakdown at work and was off for 14 weeks, i was only paid SSP so my pick up pay was below my protected earning.

I have since returned to work and have now been contacted by CSA who say for the 14 weeks I was off I have accumalated £980 pounds of arrears which i must pay. I explained that i was on the sick and even told them my company had informed them of this over the phone when they enquired as to why payments had stopped two weeks into my sickness. The reply was they knew and would have assessed my claim and and stopped the maintenance payments till I was fit to return to work but I myself had not told them I was ill.

I yet again explained I had had a serious breakdown and the last thing on my mind was to phone them, and as I had a protection limit on my wages and they had contacted my company to be told i was ill and in receipt of SSP I thought it would be commomn sense to re-assess the maintenace payments even though I had not informed them they had been informedby work of my Illness. The answer we not intrested you must pay.

The worst thing about this story is my dauughter who is 18 has been with me this week (she lives away) and has asked to pay for a holiday with her friends next year as Mum says i do not pay any maintanence ? I did agree but now with the news of the so called arrears i will have to say no.

The moral of the story is if you are paying maintanence for you children, no matter how much hard feeling there is between u and your X tell your child that you are and get Mum to justify where the money is going.

To end I would be grateful if anybody could give me advice on where i stand with arrears and can they take the money with me being in receipt of SSP( wages slips kept notes of conversation with payroll kept). Hopefully not and instead of giving it to them I can give it to my daughter for her trip away.


  • j says:

    Your case is so familiar, I gave up my job because of how much the csa were taking yet they still allowed arrears to accrue claiming they had not received a copy of my resignation letter and even though the local jobcentre and my employer told them I had stopped working they claimed that the ‘onus was on me’ to inform them, a regular mantra of theirs.
    First you do have an obligation to tell them about any paid work you are doing but its not all up to you, look up (or ask a csa lawyer) the rule in KERR [2004] UKHL 1 WLR 1372, in this ruling the csa are under an obligation to utilise information it receives from other government departments and should superseed the maintenance assesment of their own motion as there had clearly been a change of circumstances. In your case your statutory sick pay would come from the DWP right? Well the csa are a part of the DWP so you should be covered but get advice. Start a formal appeal, get the ‘independent’ case examiner involved (another branch of the DWP, then ask for a tribunal (another branch of the DWP) and do it all within the time limits. (think its 13mts from time matter was raised but dont quote me) Always remember who you are dealing with, its a government scam to collect stealth tax so they are “all in it together”, in other words DONT TRUST THEM. Hope this helps a bit, ps dont do things by phone, in writing only and recorded delivery. Good luck.

  • Alice says:

    if your employer informed the CSA that you were long term sick they consider this as a 3rd party notified change, they should then make contact with both the non-resident parent and the parent with care to confirm the change of circs – if they are unable to contact you by telephone the same day as the 3rd party ( in your case your employer) they should send you a letter (csf408) advising that they have been informed that there is a change in your circumstances. The effective date for the change reported by a 3rd party is set as 28 days after the 3rd party notified the agency of the change – if however within the 28 days you contact them and confirm that you are long term sick this changes the change to an NRP notified change and the effective date is set by the day you speak to the agency.

    Contact them again and ask them to confirm that they sent the CSF408 (also ask your ex if she received one if you are on speaking terms) if they sent this letter out and you did not respond by connecting the agency then they should still do a re-assessment effective to the 28 days after your employer told them you were on the sick – as you say this was 2 weeks after you went off sick you would still be liable for the full maintenance for the first 6 weeks after you went off ill.

  • brett says:

    You sound like a good guy. Hope you get this mess sorted out asap.

  • mimi says:

    This is life u have to pay who cares u was sick u have children pay for this!-

  • j says:

    Message for Alice – if you are still reading this blog can I just ask, the form CSF408, is it applicable only if you are sick or does it apply if you leave your employment and your employer tells the csa? Also does it only apply to the ‘new’ rules or also the ‘old’ rules? I left my job in 2007 and my employer told the csa but I didn’t get a CSF408.
    I already have the rule in Kerr to rely on but every little helps! The csa are claiming I’m ‘out of time’ to appeal though I would argue that reliance on procedure can only be valid if the original action was lawful. If I dont get the appeal I’m off to judicial review.
    PPs good luck to the original post on this thread, dont give up, keep fighting.

  • j says:

    “mimi on November 7th, 2012 8:52 am

    This is life u have to pay who cares u was sick u have children pay for this!-”

    Is this a bit of sarcasm? I do hope so. What do you mean ‘who cares if you was sick’ (the correct term is who cares if you WERE sick), its like saying ‘who cares you was dead, you still have to pay’, I mean what a dull thing to say. (unless it was sarcasm in which case ha ha)

  • Alice says:

    J – the letter CFS408 is a standard letter sent out for all 3rd party notified changes on new rules cases, so it should be sent if your employer tells the CSA that you no longer work for them. All CSA clients are legally obliged to tell the CSA of any changes in their circumstances within 7 days of the change occurring tho so any further changes should be reported by yourself, but if a 3rd party notifies of a change and the CSA are unable to contact the client by phone the letter is sent out to the address held on file. If the letter has been sent to the address on file and the client has moved and failed to inform the agency of their new address then not receiving the letter is not considered the fault of the agency .

    If a 3rd party notified the agency of a change and the nrp/pwc did not respond to the CSF408 then the effective date of the change will be set as 28 days after the date the letters were sent … so if for example you left your job on 1st August and the employer notified the agency on the 31 August and the csf408 was sent out on the day your employer notified them but you did not contact the agency (either because you decided not to or because you did not receive the letter) the effective date would be set as 28th Sept, the maintenance calculation based on your earnings from the employer you left would remain in place until the new effective date when it would be superceded by a new MC – if you failed to inform the agency of your new circumstances they will implement a Default Maintenance Decision (£30 for 1 child, £40 for 2 children and £50 for 3 or more) – if you then contact the agency at a later date and provide information on your circumstances the DMD can be converted to a MC based on your income, it is your responsibility to provide the relevant information to allow the agency to convert a DMD, if you fail to do so or are unable to do so then the DMD will remain in place and you will be liable for the payments.

    Good luck

  • j says:

    Thank you for the info. Mine was an ‘old’ rules case at the time I gave up my job, so CSF408 probably doesn’t apply to me. The csa claimed they did not get a copy of the resignation letter I sent. (yeah right) My employer did not inform them for about two months, and only after the csa contacted them about the failure of the DEO. However, my jobcentre (DWP) DID inform the csa (DWP) within a week of my leaving work as a result of my claim for benefit, hence the rule in Kerr [2004]. My problem is the csa are now relying on procedure by saying I am ‘out of time’ for an appeals tribunal. (my case {assesment} ‘closed’ in October 2011)(though my file still open and I keep getting adjournments from the Courts) The csa now trying to enforce a charge on my home for £16,000 that I never earned. Magistrates told me to go for judicial review but got to exhaust the process first hence the tribunal application. My argument is that surely ‘procedure’ can only be valid if the action to which it relates is lawful in the first place? In other words if the csa did not superseed following confirmation of a change in circumstances from another government dept. then surely everything that follows is ultra vires? Will keep fighting, thanks for the info, anything else you can add would be welcome.

  • Alice says:

    J – sorry I cannot comment on Old Rules as I have very limited knowledge of Old Rules cases. I wish you luck

  • wilf says:

    On old rules the letters sent were called CSA191.
    If there was no reply the assessment would remain in place.

  • j says:

    “wilf on November 7th, 2012 8:17 pm

    On old rules the letters sent were called CSA191.
    If there was no reply the assessment would remain in place.”

    Cheers for the info. As mentioned I have the Kerr argument but this helps ‘cos my employer did in fact let the csa know, by phone, in writing and sending a copy of my p45 but NO csa191 sent out! Not sure if this will make any difference because of the ‘out of time’ argument but feel a judicial review/human rights situation coming on. I seriously dont care what rules the csa hides behind, if they ignored the change of circs info sent to them by jobcentre (DWP) and didnt send a CSA191 (both statements supported by my Data Prints) then they are surely ultra vires? Put it this way, if accused of murder but not guilty you dont get put in prison simply to follow procedure and if you were and its subsequently found you were innocent you dont get to serve your sentence just because you didnt supply a key bit of evidence at the time, there is case law to support this, ie the birmingham six. Any thoughts anyone?

  • Carol says:

    Alice that is brilliant piece of information.

    j – CSA tried to say my partner’s appeal was out of time as it was outwith 28 days of assessment and maximum 12 months after that. We have argued with CSA and Tribunal board have confirmed with evidence we have obtained from the CSA file that the Appeal can proceed. In my partner’s case the assessment was dated October 2008 for a period 2004-2007 and we are only appealing now. Keep trying and hopefully you can also have your appeal heard.

    Dismayed and heartbroken – keep arguing with CSA. Get your MP involved aswell for help. Speaking to them over the phone won’t get anything sorted, best to do as much as you can in writing. I know you should have notified them direct, but due to the circumstances obviously couldn’t but they were notified by a competent 3rd party so should have done more to contact you to find out about your circumstances. If the CSA were taking more than you were earning could you argue this would breach your human rights?

  • j says:

    Hello Carol
    Thank you for the info, it cheered me up a little. My ‘brief’ is confident I will win an appeal, subject to getting it granted. Paperwork going in now. I have been told however that I would win through judicial review. The point is I dont owe the money, my position was a matter of fact. It is grossly unfair the csa are now relying on the procedural technicality of an arbitary time limit when they failed to follow procedure in the first place. Is this a criminal organisation? If any barrister reading this wants to do a pro bono representation for the judicial review please let me know.
    Carol, any more info please get in touch and good luck to your partner.
    When I was a single parent (2kids, one each) the csa refused to help me, could be because my ex worked for the dwp.

  • j says:

    Hi Carol
    Sorry about this but just want to be clear. I’ve been told that you have 13months time limit to appeal (I was assessed under the ‘old’ rules). In your case was it over 13 months? Not sure if the 13 months starts from the closure of the case or from when they tell you that you can appeal, they apparantly sent me three letters over a few months so I’m not even sure when the 13mts start?
    Hope you are still looking at this thread and thanks again.

  • chall says:

    For a dispute to be valid it must be received within 1 calendar month from the date of notification of the disputed decision.
    If a dispute is received beyond 13 month of notification of the decision, special circumstances (ie, client in hospitial, residence abroad, postal strike etc), for delay can no longer be considered.

    However, a time limit does not apply when the Revision is required because of an official error OR misrepresentation of or failure to disclose relevant information by a party of the MC and the new MC would be to the detriment of the party who misrepresented or failed to disclose.

    chall ~ afairercsaforall

  • j says:

    “chall on February 21st, 2013 I assume you refer to the post I made on November 9th 2012 @ 2:16 pm, in which I stated ‘official error’ and not an ‘‘error in law’ as you claim.

    Thats it. I forgot the thread it was on. You make the statement but don’t support it. I’ve looked but cant find the ‘rule’ that allows for it –

    ‘However, a time limit does not apply when the Revision is required because of an official error OR misrepresentation of or failure to disclose relevant information by a party of the MC and the new MC would be to the detriment of the party who misrepresented or failed to disclose.’

    I’m even looking at – Rule 23 tribunal procedure (first tier) (social entitlement chamber) Rules 2008, but still cant find it.

    While the statement itself may be valid it has to be supported in law under the rules. I would like to look at where you got that.

  • j says:

    oops, posted the above on the wrong thread.

    Well not the ‘wrong’ thread as such but the wrong thread in respect of the intended response!

    You know what I mean, (well chall might) thats what happens when you are pumped so full of medication, (or was it the chardonnay?) oh well, will re post on the first thread just in case.

    Sorry to everyone else.

  • Darren says:

    just bin off for 7 weeks wiv a back strain last thing on my mind was csa. could barely stand up n they are claiming for the 7 weeks as arrears. I have a family to support now too and have no problem paying directly to my child in this case but my x wanted me to suffer and I definitely am. if I ever bump into her again I will put my back out again I owe her one big time…

  • kriss says:

    CSA ruin lives, I work 48h per week and CSA take £200 off me weekly, I have got to the stage where I need to quit a job I love because. I can’t survive . my ex is on over 23k a year so y I have to pay her £200 a week which leaves me with £100 and I still have rent etc , when I phoned CSA and said I would take this to court they said I wouldn’t win as its government ledgistation.

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