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CMS Complaints, Appeals and Tribunals

By: Mary Williams BA (hons) - Updated: 16 Oct 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Child Support Agency Csa Maintenance

Many lone parent families rely on periodic maintenance support in order to be able to provide all the necessary things a growing child requires.

The Child Maintenance Service (CMS) can assess and distribute maintenance payments to the parent with care, from the non-resident parent and this regular payment is used to cover the costs of raising a child.

However, sometimes collecting child maintenance payments might prove difficult or an award may be thought to be wrongly calculated. On these occasions disputing, complaining or appealing a decision may be required.

How to Complain

If either parent wants to complain, dispute or appeal against a decision made by the CMS or Child Support Agency they must get in touch directly with the agency in question. The first thing they should do is contact the the team that normally handles the case. Hopefully, the team will be able to deal with and resolve the issue immediately (the majority of cases are concluded this way).

If the issue cannot be resolved immediately, the office managing the case will contact the Complaints Resolution Team who will attempt to sort the matter within 15 working days. The individual making the complaint will be kept updated with regards to progress. If it is anticipated the matter may take longer, the team will agree a timetable with the parent.

Parents should also be aware that the amount of maintenance that is expected to be paid may increase, as well as decrease, as a result of an any dispute, complaint or appeal.

Independent Case Examiner

If the complaints Resolution Team is unable to deal with an issue, the parent can ask the Complaints Review Team to look at it. Once the parent who has lodged the dispute has been though the full complaints process and if the issue remains unresolved, the parent can request the Independent Case Examiner (ICE) looks into the complaint. In order to get to this stage, the parent must have been issued with the final response from CMS or CSA and have been given permission to contact the ICE. The Independent Case Examiner acts as an independent referee in any onward decision making process.

Mandatory Considerations

If a parent wishes to complain about a child maintenance payment decision because they disagree with it and think they have a case, the parent can ask for it to be looked at again. This is termed a mandatory reconsideration. If there is a disagreement with a decision, the parent should ask CMS to look at the matter within one month of the date on the decision letter. Where any mistake is made by CMS, the decision will be rectified as soon as possible.

Appeals

Appeals also have to be lodged within one month after CMS has looked at a decision again and informed there is no change to the original decision. If appeal hearings are not resolved prior to the tribunal-stage, they will be heard in front of a judge and by a First-Tier Tribunal of the Social Entitlement Chamber. An appeal can take nine months or more to get to this stage. The 'paying parent' must continue paying child maintenance payments until the case is resolved. The ICE is legally bound to adhere to the decision the tribunal reaches. If the ICE feels the original decision was wrong - it will inform CMS/CSA what it should do to rectify the decision.

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[Add a Comment]
Mag - Your Question:
I separated with my ex in 2013 and we had agreed in writing that my ex will contribute 50% financial contribution towards upkeep of the child. Since the signing of the contract he has not made any payment on the grounds that he was not informed of how much he was supposed to pay. All he has been paying so far is school dinner money, monthly bus card and his daughter's phone bill and some few school related costs. I stay with the child 95% of the time. I have not received any Monet directly from him towards food costs and provision of shelter costs.His argument is you did not provide me with figures but my response was it is not my duty to inform you of yr moral duty as a parent of the child. Can I be assisted to claim all arrears back to 5th of October 2013 when we officially agreed. Please advise me what I should get. My ex is a difficult person to discuss with him. Please respond to my email as soon as is practical for me to take further steps

Our Response:
If you have a family-based arrangement, then you can not legally enforce your ex to pay any arrears. All you can really do is ask him to pay arrears for the weeks he has missed. Alternatively, if your ex is 'difficult', you can request payment through the Child Maintenance Service. This way, CMS would collect arrears on your behalf should he fall behind. Another option would be to discuss an agreement through mediation. However, again you would not be able to claim arrears if he falls behind as it would not be enforceable. But what you could do is specify that if any point he falls behind on an agreed payment made via mediation, you will go immediately to CMS.
ChildSupportLaws - 17-Oct-17 @ 10:07 AM
I separated with my ex in 2013 and we had agreed in writing that my ex will contribute 50% financial contribution towards upkeep of the child. Since the signing of the contract he has not made any payment on the grounds that he was not informed of how much he was supposed to pay. All he has been paying so far is school dinner money, monthly bus card and his daughter's phone bill and some few school related costs.I stay with the child 95% of the time.I have not received any Monet directly from him towards food costs and provision of shelter costs.His argument is you did not provide me with figures but my response was it is not my duty to inform you of yr moral duty as a parent of the child. Can I be assisted to claim all arrears back to 5th of October 2013 when we officially agreed. Please advise me what I should get. My ex is a difficult person to discuss with him. Please respond to my email as soon as is practical for me to take further steps
Mag - 16-Oct-17 @ 6:53 AM
Tee - Your Question:
Iv asked my exs payment to be reviewed as I know he's is earning more than 500 per week. I was told cms wrote a letter to my ex and his employer and got no response this had been going on a year and a half. In Aug 17 I was told they put a tax check on his earning but they only have information from 2015 tax year. This is completely unfair as he does pay tax and does work and earn loads but he has been told by yourself a that he only needs to pay 20 per week for 3 kids due to him earning less than 100 a week. This is all false information from 2 years ago! What can I do I asked for this to be reconsidered but no one really seems in the slightest bit interested? Please help

Our Response:
You can complain via the gov.uk link here . If your ex's wages have risen above 20%, then your ex should inform CMS, as when the next tax year comes he could be subject to arrears, please see link here. As CMS work on HMRC figures, it can only take taxable earnings from the year previous, meaning it is always working a year in arrears.
ChildSupportLaws - 10-Oct-17 @ 12:25 PM
GodlyG - Your Question:
Hi, I have written to the CMS on the 26/06/2017 in relation to my detailed dispute. They never even looked at my letter until I'd called them back on 25/08/2017. When I'd questioned them they claim that I had no case, they never went through the letter, when they did call me back the following day 26/08/2017 the case worker threatened to add 20% charge to the account and slammed the phone within 4 minutes and 29 seconds of the conversation beginning. I know of a certainty that I have a case that needs to be heard and I find that the CMS want to think that they can bully me into paying something that I will never, ever be doing. What Is the way forwards for me? what is the next step in the process? what would you advise?

Our Response:
Have you complained? Please see link here, which may help further.
ChildSupportLaws - 10-Oct-17 @ 11:38 AM
Iv asked my exs payment to be reviewed as I know he's is earning more than 500 per week. I was told cms wrote a letter to my ex and his employer and got no response this had been going on a year and a half. In Aug 17 I was told they put a tax check on his earning but they only have information from 2015 tax year. This is completely unfair as he does pay tax and does work and earn loads but he has been told by yourself a that he only needs to pay 20 per week for 3 kids due to him earning less than 100 a week. This is all false information from 2 years ago! What can I do I asked for this to be reconsidered but no one really seems in the slightest bit interested? Please help
Tee - 9-Oct-17 @ 6:17 PM
Hi, I have written to the CMS on the 26/06/2017 in relation to my detailed dispute. They never even looked at my letter until I'd called them back on 25/08/2017. When I'd questioned them they claim that I had no case, they never went through the letter, when they did call me back the following day 26/08/2017 the case worker threatened to add 20% charge to the account and slammed the phone within 4 minutes and 29 seconds of the conversation beginning. I know of a certainty that I have a case that needs to be heard and I find that the CMS want to think that they can bully me into paying something that I will never, ever be doing. What Is the way forwards for me? what is the next step in the process? what would you advise?
GodlyG - 9-Oct-17 @ 3:31 PM
Andy - Your Question:
Currently in dispute with CMS over pension contributions. Mine are taken out of my wage after tax and NI. They do not show on my P60 not do HMRC seem to see them. The figure CMS then get from HMRC is my gross pay before pension tax and NI is taken off. I have sent them my pay statements which show what pension I pay. But the CMS are saying the figure from HMRC is after pension contributions. And thst is the figure they must use. Toyally frustrated and out of pocket. Can anyone advise/help. Cheers

Our Response:
If you think you are being treated unfairly, you can complain, please see link here. You would need evidence from your employer regarding this.
ChildSupportLaws - 5-Oct-17 @ 2:22 PM
Hi, have recently been subjected to yet more child maintenance service failings, I am a father who has paid for my children on time and the amount asked for the last 18 years. I have two children that I pay for with different mothers, my first bit of trouble occurred a couple of years ago when the cms disclosed information of one case to the other cases mother, due to the nature of what was disclosed I have had no contact with one child since then and minimal contact with the other. At the beginning of this year I requested a subject access request from the cms, this meant I received copies of papers and recorded telephone conversations that I have had over the years, on opening the rather large envelope that was delivered I found that amongst my papers were also those of a gentlemen from Scotland for which I have no connection with. If all this was not bad enough at the beginning of this year I found out that my son had left college to start work, I contacted the cms with this information and they promised to look into it, they did and phoned me back the next month to say that he was still attending college and that I would still have to pay, so I did. Two weeks ago I received a call from the cms to tell me that they had made a mistake back in January and that I should not have been paying for my son, they also informed me that as I should not have been paying for him that my other case now had arrears ( as this would have been getting more had I only been paying for one child ) to the tune of over £1,000, not a problem I said, I’ll pay that with the £2,000 that I paid for my son but shouldn’t have been, it was then that the cms informed me that I will not be getting this money refunded, due to the subject access request I have both telephone calls on cd, one in January telling them I shouldn’t have to pay for my son anymore and the reply from them in February telling me that I must continue to pay, this makes no difference, I will not be getting my money back......... how criminal is this organisation!?!
Tommy46 - 4-Oct-17 @ 6:14 PM
Currently in dispute with CMS over pension contributions. Mine are taken out of my wage after tax and NI. They do not show on my P60 not do HMRC seem to see them. The figure CMS then get from HMRC is my gross pay before pension tax and NI is taken off. I have sent them my pay statements which show what pension I pay. But the CMS are saying the figure from HMRC is after pension contributions. And thst is the figure they must use. Toyally frustrated and out of pocket. Can anyone advise/help. Cheers
Andy - 4-Oct-17 @ 3:38 PM
Hi, I am the non-resident parent and pay the ex via the CMS. She has recently come under financial difficulty and so has reduced my access with my children to gain more child maintenance from me. I have not agreed to reduce the number of nights my kids stay with me and there is no court order. It will be difficult for me to prove all of this but what can I do? Help! Thanks
Jj - 2-Oct-17 @ 10:45 PM
I made a private arrangement with my ex partner the CSA was informed of this and the arrangement was in place for 20 months the CSA did not update the system and was charging me during this period witch came to over 2500 pounds this was cash payments now I have to prove I made these payments
Scotty67 - 29-Sep-17 @ 4:57 PM
@4891 - if CMS took outgoings into consideration as well, lots of non-resident parent would be taking on high rents or mortgages and buying flash cars on HP etc to avoid paying child maintenance. The most a NRP pays (unless they are in arrears) is 19% of their income, which is supposed be be comparitive with the amount of money spent if they were living at home with them still. Dan.
SumnerD - 8-Sep-17 @ 2:53 PM
Why are my outgoings not taken into consideration? Why is my over time money put towards CSA when its not definite overtime? My company can stop over time at any point. Surely the CSA money should only be based on my regular basic pay? That way my ex knows what she is getting on a monthly basis and I know what I'm paying. I have high out goings I.E- rent, bills, travel costs per month. I'm now working 6-7 days a week to be able to afford to live. This extra money will only be taken off me again next year when my wages are looked into and CSA see I've earnt more (to provide for myself to live and put a roof over my head) why is CSA trying to bankrupt me? Surely this needs to be looked into. Fathers are being totally screwed over.
4891 - 8-Sep-17 @ 5:44 AM
I have current appealed to the courts regarding my ex partner & his earnings. He is a self employed taxi driver & says he earns £128 per week! This is lies! He never sees his two children but thinks £14 is acceptable to pay per wk for two children. Does anybody know how the courts would be to investigate his earnings? I think it's totally wrong that self employed people are avoiding paying correct amount of child maintenance or tax. Thanks
Daisy - 20-Jun-17 @ 2:09 PM
Hi I've been asked to attend a meeting and don't know what to expect? Is it advisable to have a lawyer. I have record of what my ex earns he is opening a pub currently paid for lease and refurbishment and has three flats in good areas two are rented. He resfused to put in accounts to CSA and says now he no longer works in the oil industry his income is Nil CSA have disputed this. I don't know I expect to do I haven't had any papers regarding is contra statement. He stop paying me in Bec 16 yet seems to live a lavish lifestyle for someone with NIl. Do I really need a lawyer? I don't qualify for legal aid so it's more money I don't have but I want to be proper armed. Alll I want is what my son is due. Can you advise? What do they do? Do they assess my income too. He does also pay school fees but this is in our a divorce agreement and quite frankly I'd rather eat and heat out our house that put my son to a private school. Thanks
Jill - 19-Mar-17 @ 9:21 AM
Frustrated- Your Question:
Hello all, Need help! My partner has his children 2 nights one week, 4 nights the next week , he has often asked for another night but the ex won't allow another minute over the allocated time , she has now gone behind our backs and claimed CSA , at £414 per month for 2 children , I also have 2 children who live with us. We are really struggling to understand why a parent with more willing than anyone I know to have his children more would have to pay her that much money when they have the same outgoing costs for the children. She does nothing with them , my partner is never at home when he has them but unfortunately this will have to stop if he has to pay her this money , Please help !

Our Response:
Regardless of whether your partner sees his children or not, he is still responsible for paying child maintenance (which is based upon his earnings - not the children's perceived needs). If your partner reduces the nights he has his children he may be liable to pay yet more child maintenance, as child maintenance is reduced over the number of nights the non-resident parent has the children overnight. If your partner thinks he is paying too much, he can check here.
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Jan-17 @ 2:48 PM
Hello all, Need help! My partner has his children 2 nights one week, 4 nights the next week , he has often asked for another night but the ex won't allow another minute over the allocated time , she has now gone behind our backs and claimed CSA , at £414 per month for 2 children , I also have 2 children who live with us . We are really struggling to understand why a parent with more willing than anyone I know to have his children more would have to pay her that much money when they have the same outgoing costs for the children. She does nothing with them , my partner is never at home when he has them but unfortunately this will have to stop if he has to pay her this money , Please help !
Frustrated - 15-Jan-17 @ 10:46 PM
I have 1 son with my ex, we still live together but after our son was born he has done nothing to help. didn't feel taking paternity leave was necessary, our son was early and spent 3 weeks in hospital and i spent all day every day with him. He would drop me to the hospital at 9 and come back around 6pm for me. Whilst on maternity leave I maintained the house, looked after baby, did all shopping, cooking, washing, cleaning, looking after his elderly cat. He doesn't wash bottles, doesn't cook meals, doesn't buy groceries, doesn't wash dishes, has avoided holidays, made excuses for years why we can't get married or buy a house or go out with friends or have a joint bank account. After I returned to work full time he has actually become less helpful. Doesn't help with bathing, asks why I haven't cleaned little one's shoes if they are dirty, never puts child clothes away, doesn't put him to bed at night as he has informed me he has a stressful job and needs the downtime.i've tried to talk to him several times as it's making me so unhappy and stressed and he gives me the silent treatment. I have a cake hobby and had a few orders from friends for their kids birthday's and he said I should check with him first as it impacts on him as he has to look after LO. He comes home every day after 8pm and I have to pick up our son from nursery by 6pm so have to leave on time every day. He has mentioned that he gets stuck in the office chatting with people. I've also seen him sitting in the car on front drive for up to 30 mins on his phone. I told him last year that I wanted to leave as he goes out of his way to not help and to make me feel irrelevant - our son is 3 and this year was the first present I've got for mothers day ever and then he spent the day with his family and I was left with the little one till he returned at 7pm - no word form him all day. When I told him I wanted to leave he asked what would happen to our son and I said he would come with me obviously but he felt it's best if little one stays with him as he has always lived there and it's where he feels safe. Also said he will contact his lawyer. My ex has saved all his money and owns the flat (small mortgage) and also works full time...I just don't know how to start and am concerned he will look like the better parent. He has now started to do everything for his son, dropping him to nursery, made him a bedroom and bought him a bed and wardrobe, sometimes helps him get dressed so now he thinks I should just move out and can come and see little one, thinks all records should remain at his address even though little one's bank account is on my account, his GP is my GP, I registered the nursery and school details. LO starts school next year.I just wished I'd left a long time ago but never had the money saved...I'm from Australia so have no family here but his family don't want to help at all. I just don't know where to start the process to get away - I don't feel it's fai
Kirst - 23-Dec-16 @ 10:10 AM
I have 2 children, 1 lives with meand always has. She is now 17 anddoing A levels. Out of the blue I get a letter dated Aug 2016 telling me my CSA payments have stopped and backdated it to 5 years ago saying that no child lives with me! It'sdated around the time that I sent my young teenager to her Dads to sort herself out. She stayed there just over 2 months. I made the CSA aware. Throughout my daughters life I received child benefit andtax credits, told this to the csa. They did a mandatory reconsideration and said the case is closed!It appears that because the incident was not implemented, then by the csa,I'm being penalised. And so even though I have to finance my child's education, my ex's financial contribtion has stopped. The only thing I can do now is to go to tribunal and I'm scared because I don't know what to do. Can anyone help? I have these questions - I'm disabled and cannot work. Even though I havebeen the major career for my daughter,,will I have to repay my ex partner 5 years maintenance? - What evidence do I need for the tribunal? - How much would legal representation cost and/or help? HELP!! PLEASE.
Chrissy - 27-Oct-16 @ 4:24 PM
Annoyed. - Your Question:
I have 4 children with my ex wife. 2 live with her and 2 live with me. One of the children who live with me was removed from her mothers home and sent to live with me by the police and social services due to my ex wifes partner being violent. Dispite my ex wife and myself having 50 percent each of our children I have to pay her nearly £300 per month yet she pays me nothing. Is there anything I can do about this as how can a household who works be worse off than a household who doesnt?

Our Response:
You can see how much you should be paying via the CMS link here. Much depends upon whether your ex is earning. The CMS does not assess child maintenance by 'households' but by the non-resident parent and resident parent's earnings.
ChildSupportLaws - 11-Oct-16 @ 12:52 PM
I have 4 children with my ex wife. 2 live with her and 2 live with me. One of the children who live with me was removed from her mothers home and sent to live with me by the police and social services due to my ex wifes partner being violent. Dispite my ex wife and myself having 50 percent each of our children i have to pay her nearly £300 per month yet she pays me nothing. Is there anything i can do about this as how can a household who works be worse off than a household who doesnt?
Annoyed. - 10-Oct-16 @ 10:24 PM
Ash - Your Question:
My sons father has several companines which according to his message I received earned over 50k in one month yet I have just been informed by the CSA the payments are being hugely reduced do to a drop in his income. Now I know this is untrue as he has already stated he will be telling them he's on a reduced wages. He currently has 2 properties In the uk he receives a monthly income from and 1 abroad. Also has the house he lives in. He drives around in his flash motor yet now will only be paying the minimum he can for his son. CSA say I can appeal but will need evidence and I'm unsure what it is I will have to supply to prove my ex's extravagant lifestyle and tax dodging. Can anyone help.

Our Response:
You will have to be able to prove your ex is earning more than he says he is, as child maintenance is based upon earnings not assets. However, you may also wish to seek legal advice regarding this as if the CSA cannot extricate the money a court may be able to.
ChildSupportLaws - 22-Jun-16 @ 11:55 AM
My sons father has several companines which according to his message I received earned over 50k in one month yet I have just been informed by the CSA the payments are being hugely reduced do to a drop in his income. Now I know this is untrue as he has already stated he will be telling them he's on a reduced wages. He currently has 2 properties In the uk he receives a monthly income from and 1 abroad. Also has the house he lives in. He drives around in his flash motor yet now will only be paying the minimum he can for his son. CSA say I can appeal but will need evidence and I'm unsure what it is I will have to supply to prove my ex's extravagant lifestyle and tax dodging. Can anyone help.
Ash - 21-Jun-16 @ 3:06 PM
nic - Your Question:
I am a mum of four. I have brought up and provided for my children. I have had problems with my sixteen year old daughter and had no support from her dad. We split 15 years ago. Since then I have had abuse from her dad and he condones her behaviour and goes against every decision I make. She is currently staying with his parents due to her behaviour and they allow her to what she wants. They have took me to CSA and take £381.00 a month off me, I brought her up, provided for her and because she is going through the rebellious teenage phase, I feel like I am being punished more. To say I am a mum of four and financially provide for my children, I feel this is unfair. Her dad does not financially support her and takes no responsibility. I have asked csa why don't they take money from him, and they stated that his parents have chosen me to be the one to pay. I find this unfair and the system abused. Please advise. Thankyou. Nic

Our Response:
I can only suggest you complain or appeal, please see link here. You don't say whether your ex is earning, if he is, have you thought of claiming for your other children from him?
ChildSupportLaws - 18-Apr-16 @ 12:25 PM
I am a mum of four. I have brought up and provided for my children. I have had problems with my sixteen year old daughter and had no support from her dad. We split 15 years ago. Since then I have had abuse from her dad and he condones her behaviour and goes against every decision I make. She is currently staying with his parents due to her behaviour and they allow her to what she wants. They have took me to CSA and take £381.00 a month off me, I brought her up, provided for her and because she is going through the rebellious teenage phase, I feel like I am being punished more. To say I am a mum of four and financially provide for my children, I feel this is unfair. Her dad does not financially support her and takes no responsibility. I have asked csa why don't they take money from him, and they stated that his parents have chosen me to be the one to pay. I find this unfair and the system abused. Please advise . Thankyou. Nic
nic - 17-Apr-16 @ 11:02 AM
Townsy - Your Question:
My daughter's father chooses not to be in her life and hasn't been for 3 years he doesn't pay child support knows where we live etc but we don't know his location can he lose pr rights?

Our Response:
It is rare that a person will lose PR rights and their parental can only be revoked if the matter is taken to court and the court agrees it is in the child's best interests.
ChildSupportLaws - 26-Jan-16 @ 12:24 PM
My daughter's father chooses not to be in her life and hasn't been for 3 years he doesn't pay child support knows where we live etc but we don't know his location can he lose pr rights?
Townsy - 25-Jan-16 @ 7:36 PM
My ex is now taking me to court for more access.. Our son is 13 months old and the father did not want to know for the first 5 months. He sent a solicitor letter which I responded to and set up every other weekend sat- sun as son is still a baby. We have been to one mediation.. And all father wants is to be on birth certificate and that's it. I did not have him on certificate in first place as he did a runner.. He now wants name changed can he do this? And I can not afford a solicitor anymore.
Bear - 29-Aug-15 @ 4:42 PM
I am due to attend a tribunal hearing as my Daughters Father has disputed the amount calculated on his current earnings. The truth is he has been self employed since she was born, has been able to buy a house, choose where he works, live a luxurious lifestyle, own a van and a car etc Meanwhile I have cared for & brought up my Daughter, limiting my job choices, still can't afford to learn to drive / run a car, and never been able to get a mortgage due to inconsistent small payments to support her which has in affected my credit rating etc. Her Father has tried to evade his responsibility by fiddling books for all his businesses over the last 16 years, his most recent franchise started 9 or 10 years ago and the CSA have been brushing off a reassessment until now. Would I be able to raise this at the tribunal or would I have to pursue retrospective payments through the courts myself?
Despair - 18-Dec-14 @ 12:21 PM
@Flip - This must be very painful for you as much as it would be a wrench for your grandson who knows only you as parents. I think the courts will definitely take this into consideration, especially if you have had him since a young baby. This hopefully should work in your favour. Look at Bob Geldof - he managed to get custody of his ex-wife's child to another man because he bought her up with her sisters at the most formative part of her life.
Lisa - 27-Oct-14 @ 10:12 AM
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