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What Happens When the CSA/CMS Gets it Wrong?

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 1 Dec 2020 | comments*Discuss
 
Complaints Review Team Csa Child Support

As with any organisation that relies heavily on administrative resources, the Child Support Agency or Child Maintenance Service may, from time to time, cause parents to become frustrated, disappointed and annoyed. A parent with care may express concerns over the lateness of payment distribution or the lengthy application process, whereas the non resident parent may feel stressed at having to provide so much personal information. Understanding there are times when the CSA/CMS gets it wrong will help parents deal with resolution.

How To Complain About Service

The first thing a parent should do, if they are not satisfied with the level of service the CSA/CMS provides, is to contact them direct. Contact can be made by phone or in writing. Communicating in writing provides the parent with a visual record which can be presented at a later date if required. When writing a letter of complaint it is worth photocopying the original letter, if a PC document is not used and stored.

If CSA/CMS staff are unable to resolve the issue and a parent wishes to pursue the matter further, details of the individual’s case will be forwarded to the Complaints Resolution Team.

Taking A Complaint Further

Once a parent has received a response, to their complaint, from the Complaints Review Team they have the option to take the matter further by writing to the Independent Case Examiner. This service is free to all parents, although the Independent Case Examiner will only consider accepting a case if they are satisfied the complaint has been reviewed appropriately and according to strict guidelines. In order to use this service however, parents must contact the Independent Case Examiner within six months of receiving the Complaints Review Team’s response.

Appealing Against A Decision

If a parent feels a decision is unjust or unacceptable they must contact the CSA/CMS and ask them to explain their decision. Parents can also request a formal appeal. It is worth bearing in mind that any new decision that the CSA/CMS make may increase or decrease the amount of payable maintenance.

Whilst the decision is being examined, the original decision remains in force and all maintenance payments will be collected and distributed accordingly.

Are Parents Compensated?

A complaint may highlight a lengthy period of processing, incorrect information or even a serious mistake. This is formally known as maladministration, and if this occurs an apology is usually not enough. Some parents may have lost money through the Child Support Agency’s or Child Maintenence Service's negligence and will expect to be compensated for the inconvenience.

In cases where financial compensation is paid out this will be treated as part of handling the complaint. A parent, however, has no legal right to compensation and must wait to have their complaint assessed. The CSA/CMS decide this by using a set of rules that have been agreed by the HM Treasury and the National Audit Office.

In the financial year 2006/07 the CSA paid out around £3.5m in compensation to parents.

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I have contacted CMS to let them know about my other child they didn't considered when making calculations. After calling them at least 3 times to remind them about it and them telling me they ll do so, they have not done it. Now I called them again they are asking for my child address which I don't have as agreed in court. I have them the name, date of birth and number of the parent but they are telling me I need the address. Why should I go and find an address I am not allowed in court to have? Reading everywhere it seems like CMS do as they want like a dictatorship organisation. Do I need a solicitor to resolve this matter?
Shame on CMS - 1-Dec-20 @ 7:08 PM
CMS are bunch of idiots, they caused more problems than solution their wages is waist of tax payer money, the only goal is making the paying parent pennyless, were given too much power!they are incompetent, their decision or incontestable!! Even they unable to do simple calculation, the law should change how they operate, should be held accountable making many paying parent homeless for a sake of the receiving parent having champagne life style because they hold the children’s hostage of the situation.
Bentan - 29-Nov-20 @ 3:55 PM
Ladies and Gentlemen, I understand your anger and frustration at the complete incompetence of the CMS, It is a waste of time talking, writing or negotiating with these muppets totally. They don't care if you are resident parent or non resident parent, they are a government body set up to recoup money given in benefits. You all wasting your time. You didn't need government or CMS when you made a child, why do you need them after? There comes a time in your life when you gotta make your own realistic arrangements with your ex partner and take on your own liabilities. You know some relationships last, and some simply don't.If the child was not made from a one night stand then bang your bloody heads together and stop bickering. You are all just lining the pockets of the government.
Ozzy - 22-Nov-20 @ 7:29 PM
My partner ex has recently made a new claim , he hasn't seen the kids for over 7 years as she moved ,changed their names and she married , we did find her on FB but blocked us , my partner called CSA to discuss , explained that he has a step child in education ( my eldest doesn't count as 19 but in uni) but he has to pay for his if in further education until 20 ???? So following the conversation received paperwork !!! 600 a month, no dependant on , and taken from 2018 p60 , he doesn't even do that job anymore due to ill health !!!Complaint and appeal in , any advice , I have been told best to start a pension And put large amounts in ! Shedoesn't work never has ! Her marriage has broken down , He can't even have a relationship because she has poisoned them , the law is so wrong ,
Cat - 22-Nov-20 @ 2:23 PM
I’m at my wits end Ex telling lies about claiming. She hasn’t paid mortgage for 2 years. Csa now claiming off me. Eldest is working and college for 16 hours a week drives a bmw and he’s 19. Csa taking £600 month DEO for 3 years and I hadn’t missed a payment ex rang them and they believed her I had solicitors and they couldn’t help. I sent all proof I hadn’t missed any payments CSA just don’t listen to the paying parent. I’ve had letters with all different arrears amounts and all different deferent reference numbers
Screwedova - 8-Nov-20 @ 1:04 AM
I need to know what to do, this has been going on for 10years,my partner told cms he wasn't working, but instead they put him at earning around £700 a week, We have been shoved about with all this and the csa will not do anything about any complaint put to them, we can't go to ice as the csa haven't given us a letter to say they will shut the case although they have, so after all the earnings they have put him down to which he wasn't, they say he owes £40.000, we have the SAR here and all his work history off hmrc, but they still say they are right, which they're not They are totally useless
Lisa - 6-Nov-20 @ 12:18 PM
The CMS are not fit for purpose, its clear that they abuse their position and clearly have no ethical, moral or even aprofessionalism in the way they conduct their 'business'. I've also been a victim of their fraudulent claims and action to the point of wanting to commit suicide. Ficitiocious earnings, ficticious arrears, bombardment and harassment with unsigned, conflicting letters 4 in 1 week stating I owed different amounts of money. I've lost my complete faith in the legal system as the CMS are in cahoots with the magistrates hiring out rooms and magistrates for the day so they can rubber stamp fictious liability orders. Disgusting shambles, the best you can do is completely ignore them, their actions are simply unlawful it's not worth your life. They seem more interesting in racking up fictious fees and arrears so they can claim (steal their) 24% of a inflated ficticious earnings and arrears. All for the kids, really? Destroy families in both side, turn PwC into carnivorous cretins hungry for cash and NRP and their families into poverty (yes families / kids). If I could reset the switch I wouldn't even have bothered to contact them in the first places... They are not impartial and seems anti Men as NRPs.
Thieves - 4-Nov-20 @ 6:10 PM
My ex partner,has taken me to the child maintenance services,as soon as i moved,into my new house after the joint house was sold,which she had 70% of the equity,she refused to let me seen my Son properly just giving me a few scrap hours here & there & no over night stays,she obviously knows how to play the system,I had to take her to court so I can see him,which in turn I had to pay for the solicitor & court fees,money I could not afford,I have made regular payments since she made the application in Feb 20,I did not pay the full amount because of financial & dispute issues,I had a slight deduction in the payments which i was still not happy with,..my ex unknown to me & no consultation & C.M,S online logging on site is a nightmare to understand & get onto,I've had no letters,they said they had sent,so now,I've amassed some arrears which I said I would pay in full,she refused,I now have a DMO which supposedly has to stay for 12 months,Its on a pay & collect system where they take 20% & she's pays 4%,they said I would have to pay an amount which would start from Dec 20 & taken straight from my wages,but know I paid her the correct amount £333.652 weeks ago & now they have taken a further £637 of me when I got payed yesterday 29rh Oct,I am now out of pocket,can't live & pay all my bills properly,I have ONE child,why so much ??,& on top of that I have a heart condition where I almost died last year,i had to have a ICD fitted & now I'm on medication for the rest of my life,I'm at my wits end I don't know what todo have phoned C M S several times,they are not interested on what you say or your personal circumstances,just cold & unhelpful,I'm been forced to work more hours thus me seeing less of my Son,who I adore,I have never been in this situation before,so don't understand the logistics of it all,my ex just wants me in the gutter & I did nothing wrong,apart from not loving her anymore & her having the affair,...where do I go from here,help.
Dickie - 30-Oct-20 @ 8:09 AM
I am in the UK and my son and his mother live in Norway. Not what I wanted but I’ve tried to make the best of it. Norway have made child support calculations which equate to double that of here in the UK. And due to arrears of payments made to the mother which I had no idea was being made, they now want that back. I take home just under £1700 per month and they want me to pay £480 a month. I rarely see my son which has sunk me into major depression. I do want to contribute but I was advised not to throughout this year due to a legal case I was preparing to get my parental responsibility back - which I got, in a court in Norway. I find this hugely unfair and Norway are basically demanding I pay for the cost of living there, on a UK salary. It seems the UK are quick to get on my case about this but surely it’s screwed up when a foreign country can dictate to a UK citizen like this. I just want to pay an amount that is fair. Now I need to try to find someone who can help me with this which is proving difficult. It’s like I’m being treated like a father who has refused to pay and that my life doesn’t matter!!!!
PH - 23-Oct-20 @ 9:51 PM
October 2019 the mother of my child decided to cancel her claim and write of the arrears. I had few letters stating that they have removed the arrears and removed them from there record they are permanently deleted and was unable to get them back. Fast forward a year later she decided to change her mind Child maintenance have allowed her to continue with her case and state it wasnt closed and have the arrears back after stating number of letters they have permanently been deleted . They rang me to day and and send its was illegally deleted because she did not receive a letter. So therefore I owe the arrears . I asked the women on the phone how long does it take to close a case and when stated 6-8 weeks so the mother to my kids had 11months to appeal her dicision. I have made regular payments to her aswelwhile I was informed the case was closed and the arrears where wrote of. I have no idea what to do because I thought once the arrears wheregone the gone nope . So any help with this one before I just give in and let them clean me out again
Carljones - 7-Oct-20 @ 7:40 PM
I have ripped off by CMS for a few years now, most recently I know my son has been working for over 2 years. When I ask CMS to investigate their investigation goes as far as phoning up the mother to ask if he is still in full time education, she lies and just says yes. I'm at my witts end I can not carry on like this, I've never failed to pay for my boys but CMS and my ex are leaving me suicidal.
Digger - 3-Oct-20 @ 11:19 AM
Any solicitors out there to take on the CMS (csa) get on me i need to take CMS to court for there fraudulent behaviour and there actions they took upon me. Any solicitors/barristers able to take my case on?
Chris - 28-Sep-20 @ 2:27 PM
CMS have changed my address completely (not just a typo like they did the first time) and allegedly sent letters to inform me that I have to pay. I have no issue paying for my child however when I have a vindictive ex who is 13 years older than me and knows how to play the system it becomes an absolute joke! Not only do they change my address but they have the cheek to send me a text saying I need to pay xyz so when I check the online calculator it states I have to pay less than half what they texted. I pay what I'm supposed to into my daughters account (I don't have my ex's details and we don't get along at all) I reference it as CMS as advised I pay for several months only to find CMS have put a DEO to my employer without my knowledge! (I should mention it's still not paying anywhere near what they originally texted). Fast forward on months later and several complaints and still no answer. So far they have claimed letters were returned to them (that's a lie as I have all letters up until you changed my address) they claimed they didn't have my number (how else did I receive not just 1 but several text messages from you?!?) It seems they feel they are untouchable and exempt from the same rules as the rest of us. I claim that they have commited fraud...by changing my address (falsifying evidence) in order to make a benefit (they add 20% on paying parents case and deduct 4% from the receiving parent) not only that but by changing my address they have put me in arrears due to me believing the case was closed due to no contact for over 3 years. It also gets worse where they have just put on a DEO for the past 3 months yet the financial statement I have got shows they have added collection fees on three different dates and several transactions at a time with varying amounts and the total is over £4000 collection fees.... Now tell me that is not fraud!!! I am looking at taking legal action and I am looking to see if anyone else has been in a similar position as I aim to get the system reformed as it clearly dies not work and it's only geared towards getting money by any means necessary including fraudulent behaviour!
Frustrated - 27-Sep-20 @ 1:11 AM
CMS have changed my address completely (not just a typo like they did the first time) and allegedly sent letters to inform me that I have to pay. I have no issue paying for my child however when I have a vindictive ex who is 13 years older than me and knows how to play the system it becomes an absolute joke! Not only do they change my address but they have the cheek to send me a text saying I need to pay xyz so when I check the online calculator it states I have to pay less than half what they texted. I pay what I'm supposed to into my daughters account (I don't have my ex's details and we don't get along at all) I reference it as CMS as advised I pay for several months only to find CMS have put a DEO to my employer without my knowledge! (I should mention it's still not paying anywhere near what they originally texted). Fast forward on months later and several complaints and still no answer. So far they have claimed letters were returned to them (that's a lie as I have all letters up until you changed my address) they claimed they didn't have my number (how else did I receive not just 1 but several text messages from you?!?) It seems they feel they are untouchable and exempt from the same rules as the rest of us. I claim that they have commited fraud...by changing my address (falsifying evidence) in order to make a benefit (they add 20% on paying parents case and deduct 4% from the receiving parent) not only that but by changing my address they have put me in arrears due to me believing the case was closed due to no contact for over 3 years. It also gets worse where they have just put on a DEO for the past 3 months yet the financial statement I have got shows they have added collection fees on three different dates and several transactions at a time with varying amounts and the total is over £4000 collection fees.... Now tell me that is not fraud!!! I am looking at taking legal action and I am looking to see if anyone else has been in a similar position as I aim to get the system reformed as it clearly dies not work and it's only geared towards getting money by any means necessary including fraudulent behaviour!
Frustrated - 27-Sep-20 @ 1:11 AM
My Brother is a great Dad, loves his kids. He moved across the country to be closer to them because his ex moved. He has always paid. She is running him into the ground. Somehow she is able to call up CMS (like she did already) and say that she wasnt happy with what he was paying so they they increased the amount and back dated it 6 months. Because the backdating immediately put him into arrears, they went to the employer and take 40% of his salary. He is now working full time, sees his kids every other weekend and has to manage on around £500 per month after her deductions. She is working full time, has a salary of £50k, owns 2 houses.. She plays the system. for example, he could get a reduction as he has the kids more than 52 nights a year so she changed it. Now he gets them every 2nd weekend Say & Sun but has to take them home by 7pm. Because they dont 'stay overnight' he is not eligible. Why is it so easy for the mothers to rip of the dads through CMS? There is nothing in place that promotes joint parenting.
MyBrothersBrother - 19-Sep-20 @ 4:33 AM
CMS have been an absolute waste of time, i paid for them to help me get child maintenance off my ex but i still have not received by back pay which has been going on since 2010. My ex still owes me 2K back pay How can i get this because they have stop taking payments from him and he still owes me money
DB - 17-Sep-20 @ 9:29 AM
Took all my mums money out of my account ,she was using to look after it ,I haven’t worked on the cards for 6 years , down as not working , No Csa calls for 6 years now they have cleaned my account she was using of all her money , 10k , feel like this is the end of the road for me , I’m already homeless living in a hotel , she is supporting me as she lost the house, while I find somewhere now we’re destroyedsurely this is illegal as I’m not working have no taxable income ?
C - 16-Sep-20 @ 11:52 PM
The CMS used figures for my annual review that were over a year old.When I raised a mandatory review they advised that they can use any figures of my earnings from the last six years to calculate my payments. I understand that an upper court ruling says that they must use evidence of the most recent earnings to calculate, this being my last year's P60. Surely it is time for a parliamentary review to look into the incompetence of this department?
Mr t - 16-Sep-20 @ 6:53 AM
I have been trying to justify my missing payments for 10 years, especially when evidence has been sent in.No one can tell me where they have gone. It seems very unfair that after receiving CMS messages that they will seize assets if I don't pay and that I have to pay the missing amounts again. It seems no one is bothered where my missing payments have gone.
Injustice - 15-Sep-20 @ 1:02 PM
I have been trying to justify my missing payments for 10 years, especially when evidence has been sent in.No one can tell me where they have gone. It seems very unfair that after receiving CMS messages that they will seize assets if I don't pay that I have to pay the missing amounts again. It seems no one is bothered where my missing payments have gone
Injustice - 15-Sep-20 @ 12:06 PM
Child maintenance are an absolute JOKE! 3 years my partners ex wife is still trying to ruin our lives! We have the children on set days like agreed in court he still provides for them But they are not allowed to take things home because ‘mummy puts them in the bin’ so we stopped buying things for them. We were having £400 A WEEK! Taken out of the account only way we stopped this was by going self employed we have been to court explained about our situation and our circumstances baring in mind we have 2 babies together and they do not give a flying monkeys!! They wrote to us saying they are taking money from the account every week and to get in touch with them .. so I try to contact them and surprise surprise they won’t talk to me as I’m not a representive on the case yet they can take money from a joint account which has my name on it! They infuriate me and are trying to leave us and our babies homeless and starved absolute waste of space this system is!
loulouxo - 14-Sep-20 @ 12:14 PM
I am currently logging a complaint with the CMA as they want to right off my kids fathers arrears which currently stands at nearly £22,000. He has not paid any maintenance for nearly a year and I have been in the system since 2003 I think. Catalogue of errors and I will take legal action if I have too. They are not always on the mothers side, this man has lied and evaded them and they have done nothing
Deli - 11-Sep-20 @ 12:03 PM
how is it that they help the women but not dads who have to pay iv been paying for 7 years and now because I have a better job I have to pay double when the mother hasn't worked a day in 16 years its a joke I have mortgage car another child this is so wrong my other children don't go without
andy - 7-Sep-20 @ 4:31 PM
my ex has rarely paid and is tbousanda in debt and the CMS arebdoing nothing. They seem to be working on his side and not the kids. He is around 8k in arrears over 10ish years and still they won't try and get it. They want me to go direct pay but he consistently stops paying when suits. I have refused on the grounds that I was abuses mentally and physically and don't want him having my details. Doesn't even bother his arae with his kids and blocked them on social.media after friend requesting them. My partner gets screwed over by them constantly but my ex walks away scot free!!! They need to be accountable for this shambolic state. I'm.signed off with stress and worried sick about finances as I can't tell my kids they can't have clothes they need etc.... they need clothes for school.
kmwkd79 - 6-Sep-20 @ 4:20 PM
I’ve been furloughed for 4 months so my payments dropped I’m now back at work and they state I’m nearly 3000 pounds in debt to them ..... how can this be as I was only earning the furlough they are driving me close to bankruptcy
Fordy - 5-Sep-20 @ 7:20 AM
Im a paying father. The CMS are protected in law against financial abuse. They deemed my payments at £838. Then when I took deductions cos the ex wasn't paying the £500 mortgage as ordered by court, I took out the difference out. She squealed to the CMS. They put me on their pay and collect "service". Added charges and now I'm up for £1260 /month. Oh yeah - their original £838 estimate was wrong - it should have been £720 based on my actual P60. So I tried to take out a court injunction against the CMS to resolve the matter but it looks like the court does not have the power. I've been to court 14 times, but nothing compares to the abuse, financial rape, and mental torture the CMS inflict. There are no suitable words to describe what contempt I have for them.
cms-hater - 4-Sep-20 @ 1:38 PM
What a complete and utter shambles this lot are, I went self employed a few years ago, they gave me a nil assessment, they now say 3 years later that they assessed me on an employed basis not self employed, they have backdated the debt and added collection fees, I’ve actually shown that I have paid monthly payments privatelyand they claim that does not matter and they won’t take it into account, they state they have to keep the collection fee on the case actually laughable, never the same person deals with the case, you call up nobody has a clue they want £7,000 laughable
Neilsy - 2-Sep-20 @ 8:15 PM
I have issues with the Child Maintenance Services rejecting my claim for the number of nights the children stay in my care. The COV-19 situation resulted in the children staying in my care 50% of the time since March 20 and this is known by the CMS but they will not take this into account for the monthly payments. I am hoping that a letter from the solicitors detailing the issue and the evidence can be done to help change CMS decision. Is this something you can do?
Johnson - 1-Sep-20 @ 5:24 PM
I am a full time carer on Carers allowance ! And a child I have! Whom I do not see at all. Lives with his aunt now! Due to a various attacks on his new brother is not allowed within 100ft of us! I am paying reluctantly the minimum towards him! He’s16 now ! They have with no explanation gone after my new partner and are taking £50 a week off her from her disabled benefits ! She’s not legally linked to him in any way ! Not blood related and not a stepmother or guardian! And when I get in touch they also have no idea why they they are taking this amount ! But can’t seem to sort it out or stop this! What can we do?
Annoyed! - 25-Aug-20 @ 5:22 AM
I have been dealing with the incompetency of this agency for over 3 years I have paid over 30thousandpound in child support yet I am 20thousand in arrears with no justification or explanation I am now reaching 10thousandin legal fees and have been advised by my solicitor that this could run into 100thousand before I get justice with no way of claiming costs back from CSM where does parliament stand on this it’s wrong a parent wrongly claiming CMS for a child that doesn’t even live with her and also has a job but I am still left paying
Simmo - 18-Aug-20 @ 8:39 AM
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