Home > Changing CSA Decisions > Can You Change a CSA/CMS Decision?

Can You Change a CSA/CMS Decision?

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 28 Oct 2017 |
 
Csa Change Decision Support Child Law

There are numerous ways in which a decision of the CSA/CMS can be changed. In general decisions change because either the agency is informed that there has been an error, or because there has been a material change subsequent to the decision being made by one of the parties involved. It is also the case, on occasion, that the CSA/CMS may decide to revisit decisions of its own accord. Before exploring these further, it is pertinent to look first at the types of decisions that cannot be changed.

Types of Decisions

‘Decisions’ of the CSA/CMS do not relate merely to maintenance calculations. Decisions are made in many other situations, for example, the way in which the child maintenance agencies collect money, enforce orders against parents, and in the way in which they collect information about people in order to make decisions. Those decisions that are incapable of being challenged are generally related to the gathering of information, CSA/CMS staff conduct or over extensive and repeated requests for unnecessary information. In these cases, the proper redress is to make a complaint against the agency or individual in question in the first instance. Your complaint should be made directly to the CSA/CMS. If this is handled in an unsatisfactory way, you may then take your complaint to the Independent Case Examiner.

Time Limits

In terms of decisions that can be changed, these vary and some have time limits attached to them. For example, challengeable decisions may be revised if they are challenged within one month, after which they will not, unless there are special circumstances. However decisions that do not meet the special circumstances requirement may be ‘superceded.’ However, it may also be possible to request a late application for revision.

If a CSA/CMS decision is wrong for any reason it can be challenged within a month from the date at which you were informed of the decision. If successful the decision will be revised.

CSA/CMS Mistakes

In some cases, it may be that the CSA/CMS made a mistake in the decision-making process. This may occur in three circumstances:

  • they made an internal error
  • they were mislead about a certain issue(s)
  • there was information available to them that would have influenced their decision, but the CSA/CMS were not in possession of this information at the time the decision was made.

Complaints

If you wish to make a complaint to the CSA/CMS you should at first contact the person who has been dealing with your case, or their manager. You can either make the complaint over the phone or in writing, but either way it is vital to keep records of your correspondence in the event that you need to take it further.

If you cannot resolve the matter in this way, approach the complaints resolution team at the same office. It is once this avenue has been exhausted that you can make a complaint to the Independent Case Examiner. In order to complain this way, your complaint must have reached this stage:

  • a) you must have received a final reply from the Chief Executive of the CSA/CMS AND
  • b) you received the reply less than six months ago.
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    Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
    MT - Your Question:
    My ex is claiming CMS for my 2 children, and whilst I have no issues about supporting my children, my issue is the following. 1. She wont let me speak to them, or see them for the last 4 years, despite attempts to try.2. The payments the CMS are taking from my wages, (my choice as I forget to pay things, and would rather do it this way), leave me with just about enough to cover the rent on my house. Nothing left for food, bills, or anything else.I live with my wife, and three children, and it is they that suffer. from a wage of £1909 per month, I bring home £767.84. How is this ok? My wife cannot work due to illness, but we dont claim state benefits, as we dont believe others should support us. Please advise, as we face the prospect of being homeless when we choose between feeding our children, and paying rent. thanks

    Our Response:
    In answer to your question; 1) Child maintenance and child access have no bearing on each other. Regardless of whether you see your children or not, you are still required by law to pay child maintenance to help support your children's day-to-day needs. You can see how child maintenance is worked out via the link here. Four years is a long time to let child access go without making any attempt through official channels to see your children. However, if you wish to apply for access, then you can either suggest mediation and if your ex refuses, then apply to court. If you are on a low income, you can represent yourself in court and you may also get a reduction in court fees. 2) With regards to you financial problems, you are entitled to claim both means-tested and non-means tested benefits. If you don't, that's your call. However, it would help you to financially ease your predicament. Therefore, my only advice is to claim any benefits where you can. You pay into the system, so in times of need you should let the system help you, especially if your pride is likely to make you and your family homeless.
    ChildSupportLaws - 30-Oct-17 @ 1:51 PM
    My ex is claiming CMS for my 2 children, and whilst i have no issues about supporting my children, my issue is the following. 1. She wont let me speak to them, or see them for the last 4 years, despite attempts to try. 2. The payments the CMS are taking from my wages, (my choice as i forget to pay things, and would rather do it this way), leave me with just about enough to cover the rent on my house. Nothing left for food, bills, or anything else. I live with my wife, and three children, and it is they that suffer. from a wage of £1909 per month, i bring home £767.84. How is this ok?My wife cannot work due to illness, but we dont claim state benefits, as we dont believe others should support us. Please advise, as we face the prospect of being homeless when we choose between feeding our children, and paying rent. thanks
    MT - 28-Oct-17 @ 8:14 PM
    Hi, I would like some advice I've had the CSA involved for 9 years now, had the typical line said to me "you wont see a penny from me". Here we are 9 years down the line and he has managed just to do that. The csa has said it my responsibility to find out if he is working. This can be very hard if you don't have contact. They then when I moved over to the new system said they where starting the process to take him to court. this has been going on the last year as he wont go through security with them. Well hes not going to because he doesn't want to face up to his responsibility and pay. He even told them well I don't see her why should I pay. This makes me so angry because it was his dissension not to see her and the government took my rights to fight him in court and put in place the csa who as much use as the letters I receives saying I wont receive anything again. I feel my daughter has been let down by this system and they really need to look into the way they work. What are my options now is really what I want to know?
    Jess - 25-Oct-17 @ 5:35 PM
    Hi, I would like some advice I've had the CSA involved for 9 years now, had the typical line said to me "you wont see a penny from me". Here we are 9 years down the line and he has managed just to do that. The csa has said it my responsibility to find out if he is working. This can be very hard if you don't have contact. They then when I moved over to the new system said they where starting the process to take him to court. this has been going on the last year as he wont go through security with them. Well hes not going to because he doesn't want to face up to his responsibility and pay. He even told them well I don't see her why should I pay. This makes me so angry because it was his dissension not to see her and the government took my rights to fight him in court and put in place the csa who as much use as the letters I receives saying I wont receive anything again. I feel my daughter has been let down by this system and they really need to look into the way they work. What are my options now is really what I want to know?
    Jess - 25-Oct-17 @ 5:34 PM
    Easo - Your Question:
    Hi' hope someone can help' im 41yrs old n my son is 21yrs' ive bn paying csa for the last 20yrs' I used to pay with payment slips which csa would send out' I had to phone them 1 day to order more slips' this has been confirmed about the call' and they could tell me no slips were ever sent to continue making payments' but was told that it had finished and I didnt need to pay anymore' So I never paid anything for 3 years then gets a phone call from csa' asking why I stopped paying and id gone into over £3000 pounds of arrears' I explained everything to them' but as usual im just a dad' they told me to start paying or an arrestment of wages was going to occur' I explained again about the call I made regarding payslips' they could confirm the date and time I called that day and could confirm no paymentslips were ever sent out' I told them this is purely there fault' but like usual they were correct and I had to pay money' so again I questioned the amount' and was given info' that my kid who ive never seen or met' had been working from the age of 17 at a sporting company' the csa told me theyed investigate this' they got back to me a few days later saying yes he started work but they only had info from when he was 19yrs old' and thats why the arrears are over £3000' so I then had to agree to there payments for arrears' so started paying this' and then gets a letter and so does my work after a few month of paying it' telling me everything was finished and they cancelled direct debit from my work n told me I had no more to pay' happy days thinking and the relief of not dealing with these mindless people ever again' so only last week I was in florida on holiday when I got a missed call' I reconignized this number cause it sends chills up my spine' I actually had to look twice' so I knew there n then I had to phone' cause if I didnt my holiday wouldve bn ruined' I called them explained everything again' and was told my arrears were now at nearly £3800 and had to start paying again' im at my tether with these people' this is down right appaling managment' harrasment ' n ive got to bend over when they say' surely theres someone or something I can do for these people to finally leave me alone' Thanks any help is appreciated

    Our Response:
    Unfortunately, if you haven't already, your only recourse is to complain/appeal, please see link here .
    ChildSupportLaws - 6-Oct-17 @ 4:04 PM
    Hi' hope someone can help' im 41yrs old n my son is 21yrs' ive bn paying csa for the last 20yrs' i used to pay with payment slips which csa would send out' i had to phone them 1 day to order more slips' this has been confirmed about the call' and they could tell me no slips were ever sent to continue making payments'but was told that it had finished and i didnt need to pay anymore' So i never paid anything for 3 years then gets a phone call from csa' asking why i stopped paying and id gone into over £3000 pounds of arrears' i explained everything to them' but as usual im just a dad' they told me to start paying or an arrestment of wages was going to occur' i explained again about the call i made regarding payslips' they could confirm the date and time i called that day and could confirm no paymentslips were ever sent out' i told them this is purely there fault' but like usual they were correct and i had to pay money' so again i questioned the amount' and was given info' that my kid who ive never seen or met' had been working from the age of 17 at a sporting company' the csa told me theyed investigate this' they got back to me a few days later saying yes he started work but they only had info from when he was 19yrs old' and thats why the arrears are over £3000' so i then had to agree to there payments for arrears' so started paying this' and then gets a letter and so does my work after a few month of paying it' telling me everything was finished and they cancelled direct debit from my work n told me i had no more to pay' happy days thinking and the relief of not dealing with these mindless people ever again' so only last week i was in florida on holiday when i got a missed call' i reconignized this number cause it sends chills up my spine' i actually had to look twice' so i knew there n then i had to phone' cause if i didnt my holiday wouldve bn ruined' i called them explained everything again' and was told my arrears were now at nearly £3800 and had to start paying again' im at my tether with these people' this is down right appaling managment' harrasment ' n ive got to bend over when they say' surely theres someone or something i can do for these people to finally leave me alone' Thanks any help is appreciated
    Easo - 4-Oct-17 @ 10:02 PM
    Bea - Your Question:
    I need some advice please. My partner received a letter from CSA telling him that he owes child maintenance. It's a big amonut. The only problem is that he hasn't missed one payment since his ex contacted the CSA four years ago and assesment has been made. All payments have been made directly to her account. His bank statements prove it. When he was first contacted about it by the CSA he explained that he doesn't owe any child maintenance. They asked him to send bank documents which he did. Next thing we know we receive another letter, now from CMS asking him to pay the alleged arreas. He calls them again. They would not provide any informations regarding his case. They say they don't have the bank statments he sent. That the CSA didn't forward them. He asks for break down of the alleged arreas but they won't provide it. They say it's up to him to prove he paid the required amount. He sent the bank documents again to CMS. And again, we receive a letter urging him to pay the arreas. There is no mention of the bank documents he provided them with. It's madness. We don't know how to proceed. They would not provide us with any information regarding his case. He doesn't even know what period it concerns. Every time he receives a letter from the CMS there is a different amount of the arreas. It differs, not by much but it's different every time. The first rate is due on Monday. He is not sure if he should pay it or just pay his regular child maintenance amount. But he doesn't want them to take any further action against him ex. deduction from earnings order. My partner loves his children. Supports them in more ways than financial but we think it's unfair for him to pay what has already been paid. His ex wife won't confirm that she received the money. She's a difficult person to say the least.Please advise what to do. I am desperate really. It greatly affects our life. I feel hopless. We did everything we could, provided all the required information and still nothing has been done. The CMS treats us like a nuisance.

    Our Response:
    I can only suggest your partner complains, please see link here .
    ChildSupportLaws - 18-Sep-17 @ 3:21 PM
    I need some advice please. My partner received a letter from CSA telling him that he owes child maintenance. It's a big amonut. The only problem is that he hasn't missed one payment since his ex contacted the CSA four years ago and assesment has been made. All payments have been made directly to her account. His bank statements prove it. When he was first contacted about it by the CSA he explained that he doesn't owe any child maintenance. They asked him to send bank documents which he did. Next thing we know we receive another letter, nowfrom CMS asking him to pay the alleged arreas. He calls them again. They would not provide any informations regarding his case. They say they don't have the bank statments he sent. That the CSA didn't forward them. He asks for break down of the alleged arreas but they won't provide it. They say it's up to him to prove he paid the required amount. He sent the bank documents again to CMS. And again, we receive a letter urging him to pay the arreas. There is no mention of the bank documents he provided them with. It's madness. We don't know how to proceed. They would not provide us with any information regarding his case. He doesn't even know what period it concerns. Every time he receives a letter from the CMS there is a different amount of the arreas. It differs, notby much but it's different every time. The first rate is due on Monday. He is not sure if he should pay it or just pay his regular child maintenance amount. But he doesn't want them to take any further action against him ex. deduction from earnings order. My partner loves his children. Supports them in more ways than financial but we think it's unfair for him to pay what has already been paid. His ex wife won't confirm that she received the money. She's a difficult person to say the least. Please advise what to do. I am desperate really. It greatly affects our life. I feel hopless. We did everything we could, provided all the required information and still nothing has been done. The CMS treats us like a nuisance.
    Bea - 17-Sep-17 @ 3:09 PM
    Hi hope somebody can help.. my brother and his partner split up.. he is paying maintenance for his 2 kids.. his oldest who's 11 has moved in with him... his ex has told csa that as well but she is also telling them that the youngest doesn't stay over nights with him which is a lie as he stays 3 nights 1 week and 2 the next... they believe her and he has to pay the same amount of money every month.. surly there must be a way for csa to help him and he's child that now stays with him... the men are banging there heads of a brick wall when it comes to csa it's all wrong.... I am now helping him out with money to keep his child fed and clothed but I can't do it forever . Hopefully somebody can help
    Shellie - 3-Feb-17 @ 8:22 PM
    Can you please advise I've had joint custody of my son was 5 days one week 2 days the second week. His mother had him on a Sunday night so I've been paying 100.00 a month. He is now 15 and a handful for his mum to give him a bit more stability I spoke to my son & he agreed one week with me (7 days) the one week with his mum etc . So we have him the same amount of time. This has worked and my son has improved since we started this arrangement in Feb 16. Last month I cancelled the csa payment and have now been contacted by csa stating I still have to pay her for the Sunday's although she doesn't have him. I don't care about the family allowance but was told as his mother gets it I still have to pay her. I don't understand as we have him the same amount of time. Can you please advise me on this matter. Thank you
    PG - 12-Jun-16 @ 9:09 PM
    How can you get access to the information given to them by NRP that they based their actions/decisions on? I have requested data prints and there are dedactions of the information the NRP gave them, so how am I supposed to dispute as they do no investigations of their own? I understand data protection, but they even dedact conversations I had with them if there is any mention of the NRP! The burden of proof seems to be with myself and not with him. "They have to accept whatever it is that he says and it is up to me to prove otherwise" I was told. How can I do so when I don't know what he has said?I have received no summaries of on what basis calculations made - ie he told them for a number of years that he had shared care - thus reducing his liability considerably, when in fact he had no contact at all but I was unaware of this until some years later requesting the bundle and scrutinising their own internal IT systems print outs. This is only small points in catalogue of issues that I was told would go to complex cases and be reviewed finally and never was. Instead the case shut down. There are many factors involved, but hardship doesn't even come near, we have been homeless during some of this time (my son & I)whilst he had at least 3 properties, 5 vehicles, 'holidayed' for a year and yet declared that he had nil income on many occassions and as 'self employed' there was nothing that they could do. Eventually he left this country and I thought at last I could go to court - no the CSA wouldn't release the case then... stating ' that he had responsibilities to the treasury still in terms of payment".....they only just closed the case it when finally I receiving an advocate to assist and pursuing an official complaint. Dealing with this along with other factors has contributed to attempting suicide twice and severe depression. A very serious situation. Upon closing the case CSA said I can go to REMO now, I do not have an address for him now over 3 years later since he left the country for Australia. REMO said there is nothing they can do without an address. None of this even looks at what he did in terms of emotional harm to my son whilst he was here in the uk - leading to no contact order (which I believe is unusual) after protracted court actions and CAFCASS involvement and child psychologist reports. His actions have been harmful to us both emotionally and financially. We are now looking at again losing our home again. A complicated matter as he has a legal charge on it and my son is soon to turn 18 years. Standard I am told, however I was in a position working, another job to go to and to improve our quality of life abroad ourselves after everything that had happened. We wanted to sell and move previously discharging his legal charge but without an address and contact for him we couldn't do so either. We found out in this time he also took all of my son's savings that he would get upon turning 18. I know you are
    Jakes' Mum - 23-Jan-16 @ 11:44 AM
    quinn - Your Question:
    Hi, the csa have been involved in my case against my ex-husband for many years now. we have five children. he also has 3 other children. at first instead of dividing the money fairly between all 8 children the csa gave my childrens share to his other 3 children. there has been error after error on this case, some months I got 64p for all 5 while the lions share went to the other set of kids. I had my MP involved but my MP says there is nothing really she can do apart from write letters. right now. my ex is earning cash in hand through jobs working for small businesses, a regular job that pays over £18000 pr annum, work for another agency too yet his maintenence stays at a default rate of £200. for my 5. his older kids are now grown up and all payments were made to them. I struggle to get any sense from the csa and get passed from pillar to post when trying to make a complaint or get help. my ex has no outgoings as he lives with his brother and mother. he refuses to be truthful to the csa as he doesnt want me to benefit in any way (even though the money pays for the childrens needs not mine) I gained proof of his hours and wages yet the csa still refuse to change the allowance the children are entitled too. I'm struggling financially to provide for the kids. what options do I have??

    Our Response:
    This is a tricky question to come in at, especially when you have exhausted all other avenues in order to try and get your ex to pay more child support and with us knowing little of the background. The job at £18,000 per annum is straightforward to assess. However, there is little you can do it your ex is earning 'cash in hand' or through self-employment as it is very easy set-off extra earnings with expenses etc. If you have been through the complaints system then you will know you can ask the Independent Case Examiner (ICE) to look into your complaint, if you’ve already been through the full complaints process. Or if you have reached this level of complaint and if you’re unhappy with the response then you can ask your MP to get the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman to look into it. I'm afraid this is all that we too can advise in the circumstances. However, child support is based solely upon your ex's earnings and has no bearing on whether your ex has few outgoings.
    ChildSupportLaws - 7-Jan-16 @ 11:36 AM
    Hi, the csa have been involved in my case against my ex-husband for many years now. we have five children. he also has 3 other children. at firstinstead of dividing the money fairly between all 8 children the csa gave my childrens share to his other 3 children.. there has been error after error on this case, some months i got 64p for all 5 while the lions share went to the other set of kids.. i had my MP involved but my MP says there is nothing really she can do apart from write letters. right now. my ex is earning cash in hand through jobs working for small businesses, a regular job that pays over £18000 pr annum, work for another agency too yet his maintenence stays at a default rate of £200. for my 5. his older kids are now grown up and all payments were made to them. i struggle to get any sense from the csa and get passed from pillar to post when trying to make a complaint or get help. my ex has no outgoings as he lives with his brother and mother. he refuses to be truthful to the csa as he doesnt want me to benefit in any way (even though the money pays for the childrens needs not mine) i gained proof of his hours and wages yet the csa still refuse to change the allowance the children are entitled too. i'm struggling financially to provide for the kids.. what options do i have??
    quinn - 6-Jan-16 @ 2:47 PM
    Mickey - Your Question:
    I need some advice, my income has dropped from £45256, to £35000 pa. CSA have said thats only a 23% drop and needs to be 25% to re look at my case. So rather than my payments dropping to £432 a month, they stay at £544. Which is going to be very hard to keep to, ive already had to move to a 1 bed flat to keep up payments over past 12 months, and this will cause yet more hardship. My kids are now aged 17 and 18. Is there an appeals process as it is so close to the threshold? Any advice would be appreciated.

    Our Response:
    Please see gov.uk link here. I hope this helps.
    ChildSupportLaws - 9-Dec-15 @ 11:47 AM
    I need some advice, my income has dropped from £45256, to £35000 pa. CSA have said thats only a 23% drop and needs to be 25% to re look at my case. So rather than my payments dropping to £432 a month, they stay at £544. Which is going to be very hard to keep to, ive already had to move to a 1 bed flat to keep up payments over past 12 months, and this will cause yet more hardship. My kids are now aged 17 and 18. Is there an appeals process as it is so close to the threshold? Any advice would be appreciated...
    Mickey - 8-Dec-15 @ 11:38 AM
    I have a S8 Order from the Court, giving full custody and residency for my daughter (made 6 years ago) There is no contact activity specified in the order. Previously my daughter lived with my ex, and child maintenance paid to her was spent on recreational activies, leading to neglect, hence the court order. My daughter reached 16 and left to be with her boyfriend, but her mum has made a CSA claim against me, despite owing me CSA money from 3 years ago (which the CSA are not collecting) They are now asking for CSA to go to my ex, and are not interested in the S8 Order. Im asking if I can pay my daughter, rather than my ex, as she will spend it on herself. CSA are refusing to look at it, and continuing to demand monies. Can they do this in spite of the S8 Order?
    mac - 11-Sep-15 @ 12:14 PM
    Please could you contact me in regards of the csa taking money from my wages and i have not been notified in anyway about this..I have been paying money,supporting and taking care of my 8 year old since she was born..I need your help as i am losing my mind.Thank you..
    Ruddo - 3-Aug-15 @ 5:47 PM
    @nicky - he will need to contact the CSA/CMS (if the money is paid this way) in order to have the money stopped. His ex may be liable to pay back this money, if she hasn't informed the agency of the changes in circumstances. If the maintenance is being paid through a family-based arrangement, then he need only stop the direct debit. With regards to his ex paying maintenance to him for your step-daughter's welfare then if his ex doesn't agree, he can go through the CMS in order to make it official. You can access the CM Options site via the link here. I hope this helps.
    ChildSupportLaws - 4-Jun-15 @ 10:38 AM
    Hello there, We could do with some advice please! My 11 yr old step daughter has now come to live with me and my partner as her mum has decided she does not want her to live with her anymore. My step daughter is happy to live with her dad as they have a very close relationship. Which I am very thankful for. The problem is that my partners ex is refusing now to help out with financially, she still recieves csa money from my partner direct debit bank account. My step daughter has been living with us now for 1 month. Is there a way we can stop this from happening? Any advice would be appreciated.
    nicky - 2-Jun-15 @ 4:14 AM
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