Home > Child Support Defined > Income: Protected, Assessable and Exempt

Income: Protected, Assessable and Exempt

Author: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 26 November 2014 |
Income Child Support Csa Payment

Although there have been reforms relating to the way in which child support payments are calculated, any child support payments that were calculated in 2003 and before then are still classified as coming under the ‘old rules.’ These were very complicated calculations and took into account a large volume of information that sometimes resulted in surprising outcomes.

Under the old rules, there are several classes of income: protected, assessable and exempt income. These three classes of income are treated in different ways by the CSA under the old rules for maintenance calculations.

Exempt Income

Income is classed as exempt if it is necessary for essential expenses for the parent. This applies to both parents - resident and non-resident. The way the amount of exempt income is calculated is as follows:
  • a personal allowance for single people over the age of 25 years
  • an allowance for a child living with the parent (their own child)
  • if there is such a child, a family premium
  • a disabled premium for any qualifying child or parent
  • a carer premium
  • housing costs
  • travel costs for the purpose of employment, if travel for work is over 240 km per week.

Assessable Income

After basic living expenses have been deducted from a parent’s income, the rest of the income is assessable income. It is a portion of this remaining income that is used for the purpose of child support payments. If a parent is in receipt of benefits such as jobseeker’s allowance, income support or pension credit they are treated as not having any assessable income. Similarly, if a parent ‘with care’ is on working tax credit, they are treated as not having any assessable income.

The CSA does not take into account the non-resident parent’s partner’s income when calculating the amount of assessable income. If two people (the non-resident parent and his partner) work together, for example, in a joint business venture they will be treated as earning half of the total amount of income each.

Self employed non-resident parents’ income is calculated on taxable profits from self-employment. The CSA can demand a copy of the tax calculation notice (and any amendments thereto) for the purpose of obtaining the amount of assessable income. In the alternative, the parent can provide gross receipts instead. The calculation is then made by taking this figure and deducting tax, NI contributions, half of any pension premium, any VAT paid over that which has been received, and reasonable business expenses.

Protected Income

Once a calculation for child maintenance has been made, a figure will be proposed that is the suggested maintenance payment for a particular parent. However, it is also the case that non-resident parents will never be made to pay more than 30% of their net income for the purposes of child support. If the proposed maintenance amount totals a greater percentage of net income than 30%, it will be reduced so that it does not exceed the 30% cap.

A further calculation that is made in terms of protected income is intended to prevent the non-resident parent and his family being left below the level of income support because of paying child maintenance.

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@£Betty£ - If you think you have been unfairly treated you can access the complaints and appeals Gov.uk page here. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 27-Nov-14 @ 11:30 AM
My ex husband opened a case with the Child Maintenance Service so they could over rule our consent order(which I battled for 3 years to get and cost me ££££) which detailed my child maintenance payments. He did this because he chose voluntary redundancy and received a 6 figure lump sum. I've been told by the CMS that he no longer has an income and he's been given a nil assessment. I work full time and juggle two young children by myself and he no longer sees them through his choice. I am exempt from any benefits due to my full time employment. He has numerous holidays...Dubai, Spain, France Egypt and many more skiing holidays, he rents a luxury apartment and is living a fruitful lifestyle. Because he opened the case with the CMS to use their blanket legislation to his advantage, I cannot close the case, it has to be him, but why would he!! After 6 months of pure upset and worry, I had nothing to do but to write to my MP. A blanket "one size fits all" approach cannot work in everyone's scenario. I was listening to a national radio channel a few months back about the CMS and I was able to air my concerns to the Work and Pensions Minister Steve Web. I was reassured and was informed that redundancy money was taken into consideration and that they has access to HMRC records and check them regularly. Calling the CMS with this information "from the horses mouth" so to speak, the staff knew nothing about it and contradicted everything he said. No action was taken. My ex husband was a perpetrator in which I suffered many years of emotional and financial abuse and and support from the Police. 3 years of a battle of a divorce, for it to end up him being assisted to walk away from his responsibilities. The government/CMS have supported him through this process. I'm left speechless.
£Betty£ - 26-Nov-14 @ 3:08 PM
Can you advise how CSA is calculated for self employed people and what expenses are taken into account. I'm self employed, I have a daughter from prev. Relationship but also have two children and a partner who is currently off on maternity leave. I'm providing for my family with no help or benefits. They now want me to pay £50 a week which to me is unaffordable in my current situation, my newborn has a temporary disability which we are having to attend hospital for regular appointments/treatment and to be honest they are just adding to my stress and worry. My current relationship is being affected by all of this and I'm working 6 days to be able to afford to live!!
Confused1 - 2-Mar-14 @ 9:45 PM
Hello Very simply, can anyone tell me whether the CSA are right? I am currently off sick and receiving Statutory Sick Pay which the CSA are using as 'earnings' for their calculation and this is fine. However, I have an insurance pay-out due to being off sick. This is tax-free, I pay no NI or contributions in relation to this pay out and it comes in the form of a monthly cheque until I return to work. The CSA are insisting that I tell them how much I receive as this is classed as 'earnings' - despite it being a fund that doesn't take into account income tax, NI etc! Is this right?
Cosmo - 15-Feb-14 @ 4:10 PM
Can you tell me what the protected income level is please. I have just returned to work and csa hav re calculated my claim. with arrears they will be taking more than half my wages.
boomer - 2-Mar-13 @ 6:21 PM
I would appreciate some advice: My boyfriend currently pays his ex maintenance for their son (aged 17 and in full time education) through the CSA. If we were to live together would my income have to be taken into account by the CSA in the calculation of maintenance payments due? Thanks for your advice.
bobtop57 - 27-Sep-12 @ 2:08 AM
Hi, Just about to start paying through the CSA and been given my assesment( old rules CSA1 ) on the info i gave them that I was renting a room with no utility bills or council tax. Now I just moved in with my partner who is on contribution employment and support allowance so I will now be paying the rent/council tax/fuel bills and i wondered if each of these bills will be taken into account when they reasses me? I am in full time employment and earn £350 weekly/net. I did download a leaflet from there site but after reading it several times i am non the wiser and have a headache. Would realy appreciate some advice put simply. Thanks in advance.
glock182 - 21-Sep-12 @ 9:58 AM
My ex has property valued at well over half a million pounds and is still buying more property for cash,but only pays me (via CSA) £35 a week.No this is not a joke - this is real.How do I go about getting a fair payment each week for our son? He seems to think that if he buys him a vidio game or a new pair of footy boots or takes him to the pictures that he is "doing his bit" and sees no reason to contribute towards food,clothes,shoes,gas,water,electricity etc etc etc. What should I do to have a fair contribution?I am going out of my mind with worry.
Badger - 9-May-12 @ 10:10 AM
After I lost my partnership in a business I had built up over three years, my marriage and contact with my children I went into a physical, and emotional decline which I have only recently been fighting back from. I am now a full time student at University and live entirely on burseries, grants and loans. Previously, although I managed to go on working self employed as a labourer/handyman/gardener my income dwindled, because of physical ilness and injury, year on year to less than £4300 p.a by the time I decided to try university after finally having to give in and sign on. I have always known that I found forms and figures difficult but it was at university that it was discovered that I have a form of Dyslexia which makes understanding even basic mathematics a challenge. I have finally been served with a liability order for over £3677. I cannot afford to pay an accountant or employ a solicitor. I attended court for the summons but waited all day only to be told that the CSA representative had not even told the Magistrate that I was there and the whole thing had just gone through. I have two questions. Do grants, loans and burseries count as income? How can I respond to what has happened. I feel like I'm on the ropes and have no idea how to stop being hit.
John - 2-May-11 @ 2:27 PM
Does the protected income of 30% apply to old scheme claims.
AC - 20-Mar-11 @ 2:10 PM
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