CSA Ongoing Cases: Periodic Case Checks
It is standard procedure for the CSA to carry out periodic case checks on each of its calculations. Normally these checks are carried out once every two years. Whether actual checks occur at these intervals in individual cases depends on the CSA’s decision maker in question, as well as the circumstances of the particular case and the likelihood that changes will take place. It is pertinent to note that the 5% tolerance rule does not apply to periodic case checks (i.e. no change will be made in the event that the non-resident parent’s income has gone up or down by a variable of 5%).
The CSA’s DiscretionThe CSA does not have to grant periodic case checks in all cases. For example, if the non-resident parent remains on benefit, there will be no point in checking the file. However, information from the Citizen’s Advice Bureau states that reviews occur at intervals that are ‘appropriate to the client’s case.’ This could mean as frequently as every twelve months, up to only once every four years. It follows, therefore, that non-resident parents who have been obstructive or who have not complied with the CSA’s requests in the past will be subject to more frequent reviews than those non-resident parents who have been fully cooperative throughout their dealings with the CSA.
SupersessionIf the case check reveals information to show that there may be grounds for instigating a supersession, the CSA will do this. In the event that there is a further change in circumstances after the periodic case check, this will be treated as part of the check, rather than requiring a further supersession, as long as it occurs within 26 weeks of the case check.
ProcedureIn cases that result in supersession, the CSA should give the parties involved 28 days notice either orally or in writing. If the parties are informed on different days, the 28 day period commences on the date of the later notification.
On notifying the parties about any intended supersession, the CSA allows parties to make representations about any changes within 14 days. If the CSA does not receive any responses, or if the responses signal that there are no relevant changes in circumstances, then no action will be taken. In the event that there are changes reported, the CSA may decide that this new information has to be verified.
Once in possession of this new information, the CSA will decide whether there are any grounds for supersession. It is important to note that the CSA will not notify you if there is no new decision. If there is a new decision the parties must be notified, and the CSA is under certain obligations to provide information in this notification. The notification must:
- include details as to how to seek a revision, a supersession and how to appeal. These rights are the same whether or not a new maintenance calculation is made.
- include the date on which the decision becomes effective
- the net income of the non-resident parent
- details of the children, whether qualifying or not
- the rate of the calculation
- any variations made to a previous calculation
- any adjustments made to the rate because of shared care, or any time spent in local authority care or other type of care.