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How the CSA Works

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 15 Jul 2015 | comments*Discuss
Csa Child Support Agency Payments

It is the Child Support Agency’s aim to reduce child poverty in the UK. The CSA provides a means by which parents with care can collect maintenance payments, for their child or children, from the non resident parent. As part of the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission the CSA is able to trace non resident parents and enforce financial responsibility.

What The CSA Does

By collecting information, regarding income and circumstances, from the parent with care, the Child Support Agency can assess and process a maintenance claim, collect periodic payments and distribute the funds to the parent with care. The agency’s aim is to support the main carer of the child, or children, throughout the maintenance set-up process. This is done by calculating the amount of payable maintenance and handling the payments from the non resident parent.

The CSA also has the power to track down absent parents who avoid paying child support maintenance. Tracking is done by accessing information held by government departments like HM Revenue & Customs, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and agencies like Jobcentre Plus. Specialist tracing companies are also used by the CSA, and the agency has the power to take someone to court and impose a fine of up to £1,000 for failure to provide information.

Child Support Agency Activities

The CSA maintains contact with parents with care and non resident parents in order to facilitate the maintenance process. The CSA will discuss the amount of maintenance that is payable and provide payment options for the parents to consider. The agency also ensures that the suggested periodic payments are continually made by monitoring maintenance and taking any necessary action to re-establish payments and recovery of child support maintenance arrears.

When enforcement action has to be taken the CSA will continue to provide information regarding the individual case, to the parent with care, so that they are able to consider all options and update claim application details.

The Action The CSA Take

Having collected relevant information from the parent with care the Child Support Agency then processes the application and requests maintenance payment from the non resident parent. The payment can be taken directly from the parent’s wages, if they refuse to pay maintenance. The CSA can also use the courts to claim the payment, and can freeze accounts, register the parent’s debt, force the sale of property, confiscate a driving licence or send the parent to prison.

How Parents Can Take Action

An increasing amount of liability orders are granted each year. Appealing against a CSA decision is a simple process that requires the parent contacting the agency and requesting an explanation of the decision. A formal appeal can also be requested by submitting the appeal to the Social Security Child Support Appeals Tribunal. Around half of the appeals currently made are resolved directly within the CSA.

CSA Improvements

It is expected that by Spring 2010 the CSA will have introduced a policy of disregard concerning payments received in conjunction with housing, council tax or out-of-work benefits. A new system of calculation is also planned.

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I'm single mother . Which farther of my daughter contacted the csa . For money I have 50% resident order and contact order . But he has her 2 night s more then me . Shared school holiday s . I have given the csa all info of income . I fell ill last October with a spinal problem was unable to work . Had a op in May . Been on the sick told the csa the clearly don't want to know . They have now freezed my bank account . When 3 weeks I spoke to csa they assured me it get sorted . Had nothing . Then I spoke to them again after learning from my bank what they had done . I nerther got told by the csa of this I got a letter 3 days later . Spoke again I was told they had not had any info from me when this not true my accounted sent my income year 14 and 15 of this year . Even got my MP involved . They bully and shout at you . All they are doing is charging me for not paying . As I said you need to get it right the time I have with my daughter 42% of the time . And my income . When explained if I did a job for some gave them the price then increased it they would not pay . So get it right and I'll pay . But they agnore this and repeatedly they charge me . When clearly they are wrong . The csa was sent up for absent parents . I went court 7 times 17000 cost then begain I'll with it all . And I could not do it any more what fight for a child . When both parents work and provide so why dose this country not allow 50% to both parents . Crazy . But I know now as it a money making game . If parent dose not want to take direct payment why is the none parent made to pay ? This veryunfair . I'm now in and out of hospital on many medication to help me . But nothing will help until the csa a stop hounding me . I'm at lost what to do I need help . Some please help :( . Terrie .
Terrie - 15-Jul-15 @ 1:09 AM
@Danny - I'm afraid child maintenance does not pay to children directly and children cannot claim. You don't say how old you are, but if you are over 20 years old, your mother would have had to have applied directly. If you are under 20, then she may be able to still apply if you are either at school, or studying full-time for a qualification up to A'Levels..
ChildSupportLaws - 29-Apr-15 @ 2:09 PM
So my father has paid no child maintince since birth how do I go about getting what is owed ?
Danny - 27-Apr-15 @ 7:01 AM
@mm - this is not really something I can advise on. You are going to have to let the CSA decide I'm afraid.
ChildSupportLaws - 19-Feb-15 @ 12:15 PM
Hi my daughter has been ill and unable to attend college due to anxiety disorder and OCD caused from myex-husbands violence. He has decided that as she was not attending further education then he should not have paid child support. He has contacted the CSA about this and they are looking into it. As far as I am aware she was not withdrawn from her college course but she did not attend enough t gain a qualification. He is saying to the CSA if they do not agree with his decision he will take them to court. I did not consider CSA payments at the time (this was 2013) as I was dealing with a daughter who was unable to leave the house, was spending 8 hours plus doing her OCD rituals and lost her hair due to anxiety. My ex refused to be involved during this time. I have provided some proof needed but I was not aware that I could have received child benefit for her, something that is now being held against me. I would have claimed if i knew i could. I am worried about if i am made to pay back any payments he made during that time (my daughter now is on medication and has had therapy and now in college thankfully)
mm - 17-Feb-15 @ 8:49 PM
I had 1 or 2 payments at the turn of the millennium and then he dissapeared .. Moving around and generally NOT BEING PURSUED BY THE CSA.15 years later they've reassessed our case because my eldest has hit 20.The contact I made with them about 8 years ago is not recorded and they can only look at attempting to collect arrears from late last year.Its clear they've not actually contacted him and I'm not confident that they'll attempt to. My daughters have been failed.
Mygirlsmum - 5-Feb-15 @ 9:09 PM
I have been a single parent for 16 yrs I have raised 3 children the youngest will be turning 16 at the end of the year. The children's father has never paid anymaintenance but for the first years he built up a debt with theCSA from which a charging order was placed on the jointly owned house we own,which he has also never contributed too. To say it has been a struggle to bring the children up and paying the mortgage and up keep of a house,with no help financially or otherwise is a huge understatement. My ex has always worked but avoids any payment by working cash in hand. I feel frustrated that his debt isn't growing as I would be able to collect any debt from his share from our home. That I will have to buy him out off after paying for it and brining up his children. Any help on this matter would be fantastic!!!
Forthekids - 29-Sep-14 @ 9:05 PM
My son turned 18 in June when should I hear from the csa that my payments stop.
Kettle - 22-Aug-14 @ 2:43 PM
HiIve just read all the comments and have to add some of my own.I met my current partner some 5 yrs ag o and at the start of our relationhsip he was npot able to see his child as his ex wife decided this. Througho9ut our relationship I have supported him in locating his daughter until now we are seeing her. However each weekend we have to pick up the pieces of a weeks worth of brasin washing from her mother and physical/emotional abuse from her adult sisters: I have been to social services, the police and sought legal advice. I am a psychiatric childrens nurse and my partner also works so we are entitled to nothing. Her mother starts and stops access when & if it suits her with no regard what imappct this may have on her child, she stopped a hoilday once it had been paid for and informed her child that her dad was in prison!! Just before xmas her mother allowed us to see her again, prior to this wer have always paid for her and my partner had an agreement that no maintence was needed but to pay for the things their child needs.I am unable to have children but we have now been given a bill from the csa for £12800 with a monthly payment of £567. MY wages have been taken into account as the csa state that he has not paid and has a financial obligation to his child.while I agree with this I also think mothers have far too much jurisdiction and power to abuse their own children as a way of getting bacvk at the ex partners. we are allowed to see their child when & if she sees fit.within these times if we make any contact she calls the police. She lives ina 3 bed house paid for by tax payers, while I pay £750 per month, and we are also expected to pay for their child when we are not allowed to have any contacthow is this fair?????
mcbabe - 9-Jun-14 @ 6:46 PM
The whole csa system is a joke. I've coped bringing my son up on my own with no financial help from his father ever!!! I have always worked to provide for my child...yet now I have a husband and a daughter to him...We both work full time to provide for our family and he has a son to a previous relationship whom he pays csa for...what I don't get is how the system can justify taking all this money from us to pay to her when she is not working and the government are so called giving her and her son enough to live on? Because that's what the social do isn't it? So why are we having to give her extra money for her to go on holiday and not even take her son? We pay csa and have to pay 100 pound a trip to see his son just because she moved hundreds of miles away where does this leave my children? We have to work to live and to try to give our children what we can including my husbands son as he gets treated the exact same as my children yet we are left with nothing every month because csa take the money we would of had spare to treat our children.A new system needs putting into place to ensure the children are getting what they need out of it like turning the money from the father into food and clothing vouchers for the child's age!
jodan - 11-Mar-14 @ 4:50 PM
I have bin split up from my partner for 8 or so munth . and Im bringing up my son ho is naw three . on my own . and I olso have a residence order for my son to stay lifing with me . how wood I go abwt claming csa . my mobil number 07930039564
ste - 13-Dec-13 @ 9:58 PM
I have recently split from my husband of 10 years. I want my son (10yo) to continue at private school until he is finished. I can't afford a mortgage and the fees - can I claim the fees as maintenance from his father.? He earns 160K plus? What happens of my husband retires as he is now threatening to do?
Kenya - 22-Nov-13 @ 9:37 PM
I always have paid csa and never missed a payment , i have recently been married now the ex has got awkward and now is demanding i have to provide clothes , shoes and pj;s when he stays with me . Am i wrong , but i thought csa payments covers all clothing needs or do i have to provide them for when he stays ?
Confused - 22-Nov-13 @ 12:30 PM
We have just had a baby and my partner pays csa to his ex, he notified csa of our child and they only reduced his payments by £20 and its taken them 4months to do this! however I don't think that's fair I am having to return to work early because we are short of money and really struggling, I buy everything for our son as my partner doesn't have enough money and yet csa think that £20 is enough for our son but he has £140 for his other child, how is this fair surely each child should be treated the same, I should not have to financially support my child on my own just because we still live together! what can I do? if anything?
flick - 30-May-13 @ 9:06 PM
My Husband has 2 other kids from a previous relationship and the mother of the children will not let him see his eldest and the 2nd 1 may not b his yet he pays £200 weekly to support his children and the csa are trying to take our house how can this b justified its a joke
sf - 29-May-13 @ 5:47 PM
My ex has not paid any csa for a year and a half. He went self employed with the intention of not paying for his child. He has access one evening a week and every second weekend. He is now sending solicitor letters and threatening court as I have objected to him taking my son abroad. He seems to be able to dictate what he does (changing week day access due to work ) I then have to work around him and pick up childcare costs. I'm so frustrated!! Any advice as to what to do next, he seems blinkered to the fact that I am singlehandedly bringing up our son financially. Help! .
shooby - 15-May-13 @ 12:08 AM
My wife and I are sleeping in separate rooms for at least a year now,she wants a divorce,mabe I'm silly love stuck,I have my volts to just as she,now she is saying I must pay her £500 a month so she can stand a chance for a morgadge,council says she can't get council house coz she does not count as urgent,hou stupid,she tells me if I don't pay her that money csa will get court order to get the money,she works from home has her own money and yet I must give her so she can get a house with our girls!should I be afrade. Can anyone give me some advise please?
Pie - 31-Jan-13 @ 3:56 PM
what going to happen if the NRP, ignore the CSA first contact or any contacts from CSA? Because sometimess the RP talk lie
andy - 5-Sep-12 @ 11:44 PM
I have been receiving child support for the last 2 years for my 2 children. Getting the child support allowed me to get myself back into full time employment all be it not on a great wage. My ex partner has recently remarried, bought a new house etc.I have recently recieved notification that my ex has quit his job and decided to go to Uni ( he's in his mid 40's !!)he can only afford do this because his new wife is able to support him. In the mean time my CS has been stopped! Does this really mean that because he wants to change he can just forget about his responsibilty to support his children??
Bogie - 20-Jun-12 @ 9:27 PM
my baby is now 10mths old, met her bilogical dad once, she has not had a penny of him, hes not even on her birth cert, he has changed all contact details, i have contacted CSA 3 times now, but they say they are unable to process the claim as i dont have his NI number, wtf i have given them all they need to know from date of birth to place of work, how can i get this sorted as its so not fair on my lil girl, advise would be great
ellie - 15-Jun-12 @ 11:57 AM
I'm 17 years old and my mum and dad are divorced my dad is paying CSa weekly but I don't really live at home I'm still looking for a job but have nothing to give to the people I live with I've spoken to my dad and think it would be fair to give me money to pay for food and get clothes and a little bit to the people I live with but my mum is refusing and is spending it on herself what can I do
jaz - 28-May-12 @ 6:28 PM
My partner has another child he has seen once (due to the mother) and the fact they live 7hours away. we now have a child and rent n so on to pay but yet he's still paying the same amount as before our child was born even though we have informed csa of our child and all our out goings so we r struggling
tay - 15-May-12 @ 3:31 PM
5 years ago I came to my sense and separated from the father of my 2 children. And since then he has not paid a single penny maintenance! What disgust's me is he can get legal aid so he can once a year take me to court with lies he has made up! Firstly he shouldnt be getting legal aid when it is myself and my partner that work to support the kids. And secondly why do c.s.a take so long to take them to court. It's ok though because hIs excuse is having a new family, therefore he dosent have to support his other children. When myself and my partner of 2 1/2 years decide to have a child of our own, I still INTEND on supporting my eldest 2. I'm very lucky to have met a lovely bloke, who supports my children and treats them as his own. Shame there father isn't a big enough man to stand up to his responsibilties, He far more interested then being bitter and twisted, and using his children as weapons. (actually just the one child as the eldest has the sense to see what his father has done) And yet again I'm the one that has to wipe the tears away when he has screwed up their heads. One day when it is far to late he will realise that all the time he was trying to spite me, it was the children that he was hurting!! Some men/ and women don't deserve to have children when they treat them like that!
In the west - 27-Apr-12 @ 1:30 PM
my ex owes me £65,000 he's not paid in 14 years , owns a nice home two businesses , and the csa put an order on his house 3 years ago (approx) but still OUR children have not seen a penny off their father as 'he has different priorities now' meaning a new family the csa are usless they have powers yet seem reluctent to use them !! mean while its the children that suffer and the nrp that laugh all the way to the bank
lou - 26-Apr-12 @ 11:54 AM
I divorced from my ex husband 5 years ago, and agreed upon child maintenance agreement at the time which he signed.He has never paid a penny, he is a self employed builder and he works about 7 days a week, dosn't pay tax ..it all goes straight into his pocket.He claims income support so that he gets his rent & council tax paid and yep you guessed it pays £5 a week in child support for his two sons through that. This is only ever occasionally that i get this £5, which i treat the boys to mcdonalds when we get it ...well not like i can go get a weeks shop or buy school shoes with it is it !! What am I supposed to do?I work partime, would like to go fulltime but am unable to as need to be there for the children when they finish school. He sees the kids every other week, this i arrange through his mother as i can't stand to be anywhere near him. Is this a case of i have to grin & bear it?it makes me so angry, that i sacrifice everything for my children and he does what he wants when he wants ....surely theres a way to enforce child support, USA do it, why don't we???Ive contacted the benefit fraud bods 4 times and the tax man, figured if i he is forced to pay tax or stop benefits then i might get something ...so far NOTHING !!!! ANY ADVISE WELCOME !!
Curly - 16-Apr-12 @ 3:31 PM
My child is now 8 his father was jailedyears ago. When will csa contact me to let me know about any changes
tiny - 22-Mar-12 @ 10:14 PM
ok i have 2 daughters and one of them have decided to live with her dad does that mean its quits on maintence now even though he earns a lot more than me
jannie - 12-Mar-12 @ 9:39 PM
The CSA has told my daughter they can't process any claim until her child's father has acknowledged the correspondence sent by them to him!In addition, any claim won't start until that acknowledgement is forthcoming.Can this really be true?!
Tups - 22-Feb-12 @ 12:05 PM
how does child support work when the child is overseas? Child was born in UK and then moved, does remaining parent have to pay child support?
uneasy - 14-Feb-12 @ 9:05 AM
My daughter is about to be placed on a Special Guardianship Order, with my support, to my parents. Am I solely responsible for CSA or can this be shared by her mother, who does not work but receives a lot of benefits for her second family?
HolyMatt - 24-Jul-11 @ 9:47 AM
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