Where do CSA arrears come from?

December 22, 2012

Question for a friend….

May sound daft but where do CSA arrears actually come from?

Mate had a daughter with his wife in 1993,they split in 94 and she went to live up north.She wouldnt grant access to their daughter and “dobbed” him to the csa.

After his wife left him and took their daughter up north he bacame extremely depressed and after being constantly hounded by the CSA almost succeded in taking his own life. His doctor signed him off and he was on long term sick with mental health problems for nearly ten years.

He got unemployment benefit and sickness benefit as far as i know.

He finally managed to pull himself round and got a job in 2004. He did the right thing and informed the csa he was back in employment,his payment was £45 a week + £27 arrears.

He asked for a full payment breakdown and asked why he had accrued arrears,he never recieved a reply.

In 2007 he was sacked for gross misconduct (i wont go into details) Suffice to say,he sunk into severe depression and was off work until 2009 and claimed incapacity benefit due to a back injury.

Unbelivably,he started back at the firm that sacked him in may 2009!
Again he did the right thing and informed the CSA he was back in work,they recalculated his payments at £88 a week,including arrears.

Again he asked for a payment breakdown,asked why he had accrued arrears and asked for a full audit to be done on all payments he had made up to present. The csa wrote to him and just gave him a list of payment and payment dates without any actual mention of how the arrears where calculated or anything.

He continued to phone them asking where the arrears had come from and was told not to phone again as they (the CSA) would contact the police, he was also told that they (the CSA) could force him to sell his house if the arrears were not settled.

Two months ago he recieved a phone call from the CSA saying his daughter was now in full time employment and that he could now cease payments.

Again mate asked for a full breakdown and again recieved a letter which just gave him payment dates and details without any mention of arrears.

About 3 weeks ago he recieved a phone call from the CSA saying that he had overpaid by £5800 and that he would be recieving a refund directly into his bank account.

Just last week he again recieved a phone call from the CSA saying they had miscalculated his refund payment and that now he would only be recieving £2800. Again my friend has recieved no confirmation letter or anything in writing.

The refund for overpayment has gone in today.

Despite constantly asking where the arrears have come from, to this date some 16 years on,he still doesnt know where the arrears have come from and how the arrears payments were calculated.

My friend is still in a fragile state of mind and i fear for him. He should be joyous that his payments have now ended,but to be told that he would be recieving £5800 and actually recieving just more than half may just tip him over the edge.

Can anyone help regarding how he has accrued these arrears.

The CSA still doesnt want to tell him just how he has accrued these arrears.

I thank you in advance


  • chall says:


    ‘She wouldnt grant access to their daughter and “dobbed” him to the csa.’

    Did she dobbed him in or was she in receipts of benefits?

    Your friend should maybe consider requesting a copy of his Data Protection file and a complete account breakdown, with note pad sections dated. There is a £10 fee for such, but once in receipt, he should be able to establish what has been happening on his case.


  • j says:

    These are various comments taken from chall (know it all) website –

    “avoid http://www.afairercsaforall.co.uk at all costs
    Please be aware http://www.afairercsaforall.co.uk was set up by two people who worked for the csa.they contradict themselves.when giving advice to the nrp they say one thing and when giving advice to the parent with the children they say something else.I belive they are in it for themselves.”

    “i have been into your forum via a coleague.What i found was alot of contradictions.Dont get me wrong anyone who is fighting the csa is doing the right thing but i wasnt particualy impressed with your site having checked out everything thats on the web.I think the thing that turned me off the most was your attack on another organisation.i found it inappropriate bearing in mind your both fighting the same battle.”

    “Do you not find it hypocritical that you dont like things put out about your site yet you blatently slate others.As for defending a site i dont belive i am.Im not affiliated to any site i simply have looked at all the facts and information before me and come to my conclusions.For a group representing nrp and pwc you seem naive when you say that most people prefer to have there case dealt with by the agency in a correct lawful manner.As you should well know this is not happening,Which is why your site exists.The csa and court system acts in an unlawful and discriminating way.Why do you call others extremists?.”

    If you annoy chall (know it all) you get stalked and sworn at by this internet ‘hero’, I would be very careful giving this person any details of your case, just in case they do work for the csa.

  • wilf says:

    Steven:- Did your mate inform the CSA about his sickness and receipt of unemployment benefit at the time they occurred because if not under the old rules operating at that time if he did not the old assessment would continue until he told them of any change and this is when the arrears may have occurred.
    The benefits agency do not automatically inform the CSA that anybody is in receipt of benefits and the CSA would only check if requested by a client.
    Account breakdowns tend to consist of maintenance required and payments made and need some patience to decipher.

  • j says:

    “wilf on December 22nd, 2012 11:19 pm

    Steven:- Did your mate inform the CSA about his sickness and receipt of unemployment benefit at the time they occurred because if not under the old rules operating at that time if he did not the old assessment would continue until he told them of any change and this is when the arrears may have occurred.
    The benefits agency do not automatically inform the CSA that anybody is in receipt of benefits and the CSA would only check if requested by a client.”

    Hi Wilf (and steven)

    Quick update for you – regarding the being sacked bit, the csa would send out a form to his former employer for confirmation of the situation, (csa 191 under old rules, (didnt you tell me that wilf?) (or – the letter CFS408, 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.) according to ‘Alice’ who says he/she works for the csa, and this recently confirmed by a solicitor so should be correct. This is procedural and csa should have done this, you can check in your Data Prints. Also check out the rule in Kerr [2004] which states that the csa should act on information received from other government departments, so you need to confirm if the csa contacted your local jobcentre or the other way around, dont believe a word you are told, get your Data prints, it should be in there. PS get a full transcript, written records, computer generated letters etc.
    PPS If it was you wilf (csa 191) then thanks, it has come in handy. (and no they didnt send it in my case)

  • sjs says:

    Chall, Yes she was in full reciept of child benefits,rent and council tax paid etc,etc for almost 18 years.
    Mate has had several breakdowns from the CSA none of which actually tell him where the arrears have come from.
    He has also had a few mental breakdowns of his own,there is much more to this case but out of respect to my friend i will stick to the basics.
    Wilf,i would have thought that in his fragile state he wouldnt have informed the csa that he was sick/unemployed.
    I asked him the very same question today and he still doesnt know.
    When he went back to work his auntie was looking after his affairs so again it is doubtful that the csa were informed.
    They did however DOE him as soon as he went back to work and payments were roughly double than what he should have been paying, about £90 a week if memory serves. (arrears?)
    Just to avoid any confusion,he was originally on csa1 and when he went back to work went onto csa2.

    I have read the breakdown letter(s) he got from the csa from day one as for the ten years he was out of work it does say £0.00 for payments due,so either he informed them or they knew he was unemployed,he doesnt honestly know!

    He recieved a phonecall saying he Hhad overpayed and would get £5.8k and the next week another saying he would get £2.8k (as previously mentioned) despite not having a pot to p**s in he has saved the money as he is convinced they have got their calculations wrong and still thinks that he may owe them money.
    He has started the complaints procedure,i dont know how far he has got as he gets upset every time i mention it

    I think the next step would be to ask for the data protection file (which i will pay for naturally) if anyone has the details how to obtain this and how to pay etc then please feel free to post the details on here.
    AND apologies in advance as i am a newb on this site!

    Thanks to everyone that has replied,the fight goes on,he may not owe anything but the way he has been treated is totally unforgivable.
    All he wants is a confirmation letter saying that he has paid his dues, the csa havent even sent him that!

  • wilf says:

    j:- A CSA191 is sent to the NRP or PWC requesting information.
    An employer would only tell the CSA about cessation of employment if the CSA asked about a non payment of a DOE if one was in place.
    At that time changes could not be instigated by a 3rd party,only by the two clients and the secretary of state.
    As previously indicated the CSA would not be made aware of any payments of benefits unless they made a specific request instigated by the client.
    The onus is still and always has been for the client to keep the CSA informed of all changes that might affect the assessment or ability to communicate.
    Most arrears accrue when clients neglect to keep the CSA updated or ignore requests for information.

  • KMcQ80 says:

    The is a reoccurring problem on this forum, The Phantom Arrears.
    Over the years I have had my fair share of these computer-generated letters – not phone calls as I no longer deal with the CSA by phone, only by letter.
    And that is my advise to you.
    Do not deal with the CSA by phone at all.
    Send a letter by recorded delivery asking for a breakdown and how the alleged arrears have been calculated.

  • Alice says:

    as stated in some of the above posts I can confirm

    1. CSA clients have an obligation to advise the agency of any changes intheir circumstances.
    2. CSF408 is the standard letter sent to both clients (PWC and NRP) when a 3rd party (employer or Benefits agency usually) reports a CoC on a case. If a 3rd party notified change is reported the effective date for the change will be set as 28 days after the date the CSF408 is sent, however if the NRP contacts the agency within those 28 days and confirms details of the CoC this changes it to an NRP notified change and the effective date is set as the date the NRP contacted the agency. If an NRP fails to respond to the CSF408 and the effective date is set for 28 days from CSF408 being sent out and the NRP thencontacts the agency at a later date and states that they did not respond due to them not receiving the CSF408 because they had moved and the letter was sent to the old address the effective date will not be changed unless the NRP had previously informed the CSA that they had moved and the records had not been updated. (csa CS2 is linked to other govt agencies and will automatically update addresses via data link so if an NRP/PWC registers for benefit and gives an address different to that held on CS2 and the the BA will update their system and it in turn will update CS2 – as such anyone claiming benefit to an address at which they do not live at their CSA letters will automatically be sent to the address they provided to the BA)
    3. Benefits Agency will not report a client as being in receipt of benefit – if the NRP is on benefit and there is a DFB (deduction from Benefit) in place and the NRP claim ends the BA will inform the CSA of the CoC, reports will not be individual cases, it will be a weekly scan of all DFBs which cannot be paid.
    4. An employer will only advise CSA that an employee is no longer working for them if there is a DEO (Deduction of Earnings Order) imposed on that employee.
    5. A breakdown or explanation of where the arrears have accrued form will be in the format of a client statement, this will show all money due and all payments made – there may be adjustments either plus or minus – these are where a new assessment (higher or lower) has been done and the accounts self-adjust accordingly.
    6. CoCs which result in a new MC will be effective back to the FDMP (first day of the maintenance period) according to when the agency were notified of the change or the FDMP prior to the date the change occurred (after the introduction of Spring Regs July 2011) multiple changes will be done as 1st change being a supersession – effective to notified date, and all subsequent change will be done as Sch1 para 15, effective back to date change occurred but not earlier than the date of the first change. ALL on or off benefit changes will be subject to Spring Regs.
    7 If a CoC is reported such as new employer, a new MC will be required, to progress the case to new MC details of new income will be required, the CSA need a minimum of 5 weekly payslips or 2 monthly payslips. Any wage slips which does not reflect the NRPs average weekly/monthly wage will be disregarded (examples are nrp is paid monthly and starts new job on 15th of month so 1st payslip is for a part-month) CSA may require to obtain further wage slips in order to set a true and fair average weekly income for the MC to be based on.
    8. When a MC is progressed and implemented on the case and the new MC is higher than the last MC there will be arrears accrued back to the effective date of the new MC. So if for example the new MC is £10 higher than the last and the effective date is 20 weeks ago there will be a +£200 adjustment. Equally if the new MC is £10 lower than the last one and again it is effective back 20 weeks ago there will be a -£200 adjustment.

  • chall says:


    If your pals ex received benefits, the chances are the CSA automatically became involved.

    The address for a SAR is;
    The Child Support Agency Data Protection Unit
    Room BP6002
    DWP Benton Park View
    Newcastle upon Tyne
    NE98 1YX

    Be sure to request that all notepad sections are dated.
    There is a £10 fee, do not send cash. Cheques or postal orders should be made payable to; CSA
    Once in receipt of the request, the CSA will have 40 days to supply such.

    Hopefully, once in receipt of the DP file, you should be able to establish any errors and get a better idea of what’s been happening.


  • sjs says:

    when he was in reciept of benefits (for almost ten years) i know that he didnt have any deductions for csa from his money.

    Reading between the lines it looks like he hasnt informed the CSA about being on benefits,so perhaps that is where the arrears have come from?

    If he hadnt paid anything during the time he was unemployed then would he still owe arrears at the full payment amount (e.g £37 P.W) or arrears at the reduced rate of £5 whilst he was on long term sickness/invalidity benefits ?

    I also understand that arrears would also accrue during the “Migration” Period by the time the CSA eventually managed to calculate his payment to eventually getting the payment arranged etc.

    It was roughly about six months so he would have had 6 months of arrears to pay,i now know he was DOE’D as soon as the CSA sorted his case out (wanting their pound of flesh!)

    Again he was on benefits when he was sacked and can assume his auntie that was looking after his affairs didnt inform the CSA he was on benefits.

    Again,If he hadnt paid anything during the time he was unemployed then would he still owe arrears at the full payment amount (e.g £37 P.W) or arrears at the reduced rate of £5 whilst he was on long term sickness/invalidity benefits ?

    He went back to work and was DOE’D a few WEEKS after going back to work inc arrears,rather suprisingly!

    He rang the CSA and was told that his arrears were paid off and was told NOT to pay ANYTHING else.

    He has still continued to save the money that he has been paying every week just in case the CSA get back in touch saying they got it wrong.

    As far as i know the case is now CLOSED.

    The main thing he needs to know is was he liabel for FULL payment arrears or arrears of £5 p.p.w whilst being on long term sick/unemployed,thats the thing that needs nailing.

    IF he has accrued arrears for the full payment and paid the arrears of the full payment then can he claim them back as he should have been paying £5 a week on benefits?

    Again, many thanks for your kind replies,believe me it is just as frustrating for you trying to fathom something out only knowing half a tale!

    I’m going to start the ball rolling with the DP file asap.


  • Alice says:

    @ sjs – do you know if your friend’s case is on old Rules or was it moved over to New Rules?

    If he is on New Rules I can perhaps offer some information, I have no training in Old Rules, but there are others on here who may be able to offer information.

  • chall says:

    Re; j on December 22nd, 2012 10:34 pm

    You really are mealy mouthed, especially as I have also assisted you with your issue …

    Here’s the link to your quotes https://www.csahell.com/forums/topic/avoid-wwwafairercsaforallcouk-at-all-costs
    Where you claim ; ‘These are various comments taken from chall (know it all) website’ ~ It’s NOT my website, where the comments were made..

    Hopefully, other facts you attempt you ‘share’ with others are not so misleading.

    You should also google the word stalker – as your posts are usually after mine and derogatory nature, it’s very obvious who is doing the ‘stalking’.

  • Alice says:

    sjs – having re-read some of the points in your post it sounds as tho your friend has some serious issues in his life. Perhaps in view of that it would be an idea for him to appoint a representative who can act on his behalf if he is unwell. If he wants a rep on his case he must write to the CSA giving that person’s name and contact details. Once a 3rd party rep is appointed they can contact the CSA at any time and discuss the case, the security check at the start of the call will be the same as if the NRP was calling himself so the rep will need to know your friends NI No etc

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