My latest letter to the CSA

July 30, 2008

After years of hell from the CSA this is my latest letter to them as I fight to stay out of prison. My case has been ajourned twice now as the CSA have agreed to give me more time to appeal and also wait for information I have requested under the Data Protection Act. Why I don’t know as you will see from my letter they are adamant they want the money.

I have hidden all names involved.

RE: Liability Order and request for a re-examination of my case

Dear Mrs ***

I am replying to your letter dated 18th July 2008 that I received today from my Local MP Mr ***** ******. I am still far from happy of the way my case has been dealt and would like to address the issues you raised in the above-mentioned letter.

Firstly you state in this letter that you first received an application from Ms ****** on the 8 February 1996. Can I point out that this date was 2 years before my daughter ******* was even born?

You say that you were advised on 29th November 2000 that shared care was no longer in place and that due to there being no change in the nil assessment, I was not informed of this. In my opinion this was gross negligence as it had serious consequences on my assessment from 2005 on. If I had been informed of this at the time I could of informed the CSA of the change and I would not be in the situation I am now.

You then go on to say that when I started work in 2005 you worked my maintenance out on a basic wage of £214.92 a week. This is certainly not the case as when I was first assessed it was based on a calculation of £440 net each week. You also state that I did not advise you at the time that shared care was in place. As I have said above if I had known of the change in the first place I would have done so.

When I lost overtime I informed you that I was in difficulty as my wages had dropped to less than half. This is when I sent you a wage slip for £214.92 and you just blatantly refused to re-calculate my maintenance. Only after several letters to my Local MP ***** ****** did you agree to waver the arrears payment of £5.70 for 3 months.

In the letter I received from ******* ****** dated 24 June 2008 she states the following:

You also state that your wages decreased, due to overtime ceasing, in 2006. Again I can only confirm we were not notified at the time of the change and cannot retrospectively review the assessment to the date the circumstances changed.

This totally contradicts what you have stated in your letter dated 18th July 2008 as outlined above.

You then go on to say that I informed you on the 4 September 2007 that I had left my employment and was claiming incapacity benefit. This is again false as this was when you sent me a letter stating you wanted £6.00 a week in maintenance and £13.00 a week in arrears totalling £19.00 from £72.55 benefits a week. I telephoned asking how and why I had to pay this on benefits and was just told that if I didn’t the enforcement team would take over.

In April of this year you sent me a letter demanding over £3000 in arrears to be paid within 28 days. I telephoned and asked how I could pay this on £72.55 benefits a week. To this the male officer replied ‘You got yourself into this mess’. I complained both by e-mail and letter to this and even gave the exact time and duration of the call. As of yet I have received no reply to these, even though your website states that replies to complaints will be issued within 15 working days.

Because of this you are saying that you will reduce the assessment to nil from the 31st August 2007 because I was receiving incapacity benefit and have now reduced my arrears total to £2957.79. Can I please point out that from the 8th January 2007 I was on £72.55 statutory sick pay a week, yet you continued to calculate payments of £54.36 a week over this period of 32 weeks totalling £1739.52 and added them to my arrears. Do you honestly think that this was right or fair? If this were taken into account it would take my arrears total down to £1218.27.

You then go on to say that you contacted Ms ****** and she confirmed that ******* stayed with me 3 nights a fortnight up until April of this year when she now stays 2 nights a week. This is a blatant lie and since July 2005, the time in question for calculating the arrears she has always stayed with me 2 nights a week. From that time there has been no more than 4 of those nights she has missed. Taken into consideration that I have had her extra at holidays this takes it well over the 104 nights every year. Even when I was working overtime on a Saturday and Sunday she would rather be awoken at 5am to be taken to her Grans than stay elsewhere. Does it not seem a little strange and a coincidence that she now says that only from April ******* stays with me for 2 nights a week?

As I have stated in previous letters I have statements from friends and family to back this up and all are prepared to stand up in court under oath. Copies of these statements were sent to ******* ****** in my last letter to her.

For years I have had to put up with extreme harassment from Ms ****** and her partner to the point the police were called in August of last year. I have had detrimental letters sent to me, as has the rest of my family. These contained nothing more than blatant lies and allegations against me. Copies of which they told us also went to the DWP, *******’s School, Social Services, Police and the CSA. My parents would also receive harassing phone calls to the point it was making my mother ill until the police put a stop to it. I have also had to put up with Ms ******’s partner wake my daughter up at midnight DRUNK and tell her that I am a bad father and literally treat her like dirt. Do you honestly think I am going to back down and give them money they are not entitled too and that I can’t afford? I would rather rot in hell!

I thought I could get Ms ****** to clear this mess up by sending her a statement to sign. Basically stating the truth that I have had ******* stay with me 2 nights a week. To this she phoned my mother telling her that she would not do it and it was akin to blackmail. I now know why she wouldn’t sign it! Please find enclosed copies of these.

What I also cannot understand is that you state that because I did not reach the level of 104 nights a year that it would not make a difference in payments. How different are the 2 systems apart? If they are that far apart that someone with the same circumstances as another is put into financial hardship because they are on another system, how can that be legal and more to the point morally right?

I was told in a phone call during 2006 that I had been put on the new system, but since then I have been told different. Also in a letter from **** ****** dated 16th January 2006 she stated the following concerning being placed on the new scheme:

Mr ******* should be aware that if the revised assessment under the new scheme would mean a large change to his liability, it will be phased in over a period of up to 5 years. This means that when the case is reverted, he may not benefit from the new rules straight away.

To this day I have never understood this and would be grateful if someone could explain it to me. The new system would make me pay more maintenance for a while, is that right or fair? It just doesn’t make sense to me! Yet when I go to your online calculator on the CSA website it is a different story as it works out that I would pay less!

On the £214 you say I was assessed at £54.36 a week on a wrong assessment of no shared care. Yet when I input the same details into the calculator it comes out at £32.00 per week. When I input the correct details of 104+ nights a year it comes out with a figure of £23.00 a week this being less than half what I was paying. You state in your letter that the 2 systems have different rates, surely as I have said above if one system is double the amount of the other then is that fair or morally right? Also one system allows deductions for 52-103 nights a week yet the other doesn’t. It really doesn’t take much to work out that this is a totally unfair and unjust system. I was also told by the CSA officer at my last court appearance that even if I was on the new system I shouldn’t go off what the calculator calculated. If that’s the case and not just a get out clause by her, why do you have it on your site?

Before I decided that I was going to refuse to pay these arrears, I made a calculation on my average wage supplied by ******* ****** Ltd. On an average wage of £345.80 (£130 more than you worked it out from) the weekly amount should have been £37.00. Using this calculation I worked out that on the new system I would have made overpayments of £1184.04. However as I am on the old system I am on a different assessment. Surely though it can’t be that much of a difference? With the arrears and overpayment taken into account there is a difference of over £4000! That is like denying a father on the old system an amount that would enable him to take his children on holiday to Disneyland in the United States. Please find attached the results from the calculator.

Finally you go on to state that if I do not come to an agreement in court that consideration will be given to referring my case to your bailiffs for further action. So basically what you are saying is that you will take more away from my daughter? ******* is picked up on a Friday at 3.30pm and returned at 5.00pm on a Sunday, so most of her prime time is spent with me. The situation I am in at the moment prevents me from taking her many places so a lot of her time is spent on the PC or watching TV with me, which she loves. You are telling me that you are going to take that away from her? The PC holds all of her photographs, games, access to a website she is building, Microsoft Office which she spends a lot of time working on and her favourite, MSN Messenger of which she spends hours chatting to her friends! Not only will you be taking all of her entertainment away but you will also be depriving her of an essential learning tool!

I haven’t got much due to my financial situation and I wouldn’t expect the bailiffs to even raise their own charges with what I own. I will however make damn sure that by whatever means possible I increase the bailiff’s charges to ensure this! I will also be taking legal advice as the Local Council, **** ***** and Job Centre have paid for a few items via Grants to help me set up self-employment. Also the PC holds not only *******’s files etc, my personal letters, bank statements etc but everything relating to my self employment plans of which due to CSA involvement are now on hold indefinitely. I cannot take the risk of going ahead with this due to both financial and more importantly, health reasons. The Child Support Agency just about had me suicidal during the last few months I worked!

I have told you in previous letters that I had planned to set up self-employment and I was due to start test trading in April of this year. This date due to the CSA has kept being put back to the point now I have told my business adviser that it is now indefinitely on hold. I will never allow the CSA to put me under the stress and pressure they have in the past. As I know that going back into full time employment is just about impossible at the moment due to health problems.

I was doing everything I could to get off benefits, my self–employment plans were taken seriously both by my business adviser and also my Pathways personal adviser at the Job Centre. I received grants totalling nearly £1000 from ************** Council (*********), **** ***** and the Job Centre. The enthusiasm and optimism I had for these plans has probably been the best remedy ever for my health problems. I was even contemplating taking on a part-time job when I started trading to ensure the success of the business.

Please feel free to contact the following persons in relation to my self-employment plans and what is now going to waste because of your actions:

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Every ounce of that enthusiasm has now gone, as has any chance of my health improving enabling me to get off benefits in the foreseeable future. This is solely down to the Child Support Agency and the system you have in place. That system not being there for the purpose it was intended for of supporting children, but a system that has one aim and one aim only and that is the collection of money at any cost! Government targets and bonuses are the prime concerns of the CSA and not the children and the lives you are destroying. There are fathers out there who do not give a damn about their children, never see them or intend to pay anything towards them. These are the ones you should be targeting and should be top of your list. But they are not and the reason for that is that you go for easy targets, targets you have a better chance of getting more from and at whatever cost.

As I have said in previous letters I am quite prepared to go to prison over this. This was not a bluff nor was it a means of finding an easy way out. This is a matter of principle now, as I will never pay these arrears of which I am not liable for. It will be interesting to see if the CSA yet again put a caring and innocent father in prison and deny his daughter of seeing him for 6 weeks!

This letter may seem bitter and defiant but that is exactly how the CSA have got me. I feel like you have backed me up in a corner and the only way is to fight no matter what the outcome. You have absolutely no interest in my daughter’s welfare whatsoever or this would not be happening. I am also sure that not once have you thought of the consequences this is having on her now or will have in the future. I have shown her the letter from you regarding her mothers lies about contact and this has upset her, as she knows her mother has lied! I will not have her thinking that this is my fault and if I end up in prison she needs to know why.

To sum up I am refusing to pay as I can prove I am not liable on the following grounds:

* You have failed to collect and provide information properly. Most importantly you failed to inform me of important information that if I had known about would have had a drastic effect on my assessment.

* You refuse to use information I can supply to back up my claim of shared care to revaluate my case and would rather take the word of Ms ****** who has blatantly lied.

* From the 8th January 2007 I was on £72.55 statutory sick pay a week, yet you continued to calculate payments of £54.36 a week over this period of 32 weeks totalling £1739.52 and added them to my arrears.

* You failed to recalculate my assessment when my wages dropped to less than half thus putting me in financial hardship and eventually forcing me back onto benefits due to ill health. This having the result of no maintenance being paid at all, depriving my daughter of any financial support.

* I don’t agree with the fact that you have 2 systems in place and if a child was born before a certain date then that father is put in financial hardship. Even though his circumstances are exactly the same as a father who’s child was born after a certain date and pays considerably less. This is not just unfair, unjust and immoral it is denying fathers their human right of giving their child(ren) a more comfortable and better life when they stay with them.

If you continue with your actions and I agreed to pay these arrears it would put me in severe financial hardship. I am finding it difficult at the moment and have to buy the basics for my daughter when she stays at weekends. I also have to pay towards petrol so she can be picked up. If my mother is unable to do this it will cost me £18 in buss fares a week and I have no idea where that will come from! Not only will I suffer but also more to the point my daughter will.

I agree that every father should pay for the upkeep of his children. However I feel that this should be in a way that does not put financial hardship on them, especially if they have shared care. The CSA are denying me that chance by their actions now and in the past. Your actions are also detrimental to my health, something I desperately want to improve and again the CSA is denying me any chance of this. Because of this you are costing the Government, Local Authorities and Tax Payer £1000’s in benefits. This makes no sense at all! The only one suffering is my daughter, someone the CSA were put in place to help.

I want to be off benefits and I want the chance of self-employment to be able to achieve this. I want to be able to buy my daughter things I can’t afford now and I want to take her on holidays. I want to also contribute to school holidays that she may not be able to go on due to financial reasons. Therefore I am asking the CSA for common sense to prevail and to allow me the chance of achieving this.

I will be forwarding a copy of this letter to my Local MP Mr ***** ****** and also the Lib Dem and Conservative Shadow Ministers for the DWP asking for advice and help. I am also debating whether to publish every letter I have sent and received from the Child Support Agency on the Internet. I now feel I may need to publicly get over my case to as many people as possible. As I stated earlier it feels like I have been backed into a corner! I will however be asking for legal advice on who I can publicly name before doing so from my solicitor.

As I now feel like I have got no-where by personally writing to the Child Support Agency I have now instructed a solicitor to act on my behalf. I would be grateful if all future correspondence is sent to her. Her name and address is as follows:

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Yours Faithfully

***** *******

Comments

  • rachel forrester says:

    My family are in the same situation albeit for a smaller amount. My husband has just called me after receiving a threat from the baillif who is coming to remove our belongings. We have three children together and he has two from his previous relationship. We pay £50 per week towards CSA who want over a hundred pounds per week to clear the arrears he owes from when one of his sons lived with us !!!!!
    One child with his ex and one with us I would have thought meant we woldnt have to pay but oh no because his ex is on benefits (and has been caught cheating the system) we receive nothing and still have to pay her.

  • rachel forrester says:

    (my comments were in response to the lady whose husband owes 43K)

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