Latest Government proposals concerning child maintenance include charges to parents who need state help to agree child maintenance payments.
Under government proposals the CSA, part of the Child Maintenance Enforcement Commission, is to be wound down. The process is planned to begin next year. As part of the proposed new system parents will have to show they have taken reasonable steps to try to reach a private agreement with an ex-partner before being able to use the new child maintenance system. If parents were able to reach an agreement, then it seems unlikely they would have approached the CSA, or any subsequent replacement, in the first place.
The government proposes to charge for the service. If the planned proposals go ahead an application fee of £100 will be payable. If the parent applying is claiming benefits the proposed fee is £50, with £20 payable on making the application and the balance by instalments. Having crossed that hurdle the parent would be charged an ongoing amount of 7 – 12% of the child maintenance which they receive. The parents thereby stand to lose funds which should be available to support their children.
A charity which supports single parents has carried out a survey which found that 46% of parents currently using the CSA would not be able to pay the fees proposed. The charity is campaigning for the proposals to be scrapped.
Gingerbread Chief Executive Fiona Weir said:
“This shows the devastating impact that charging could have on the amount of child maintenance that will get through to children. If these findings were to be replicated across the whole CSA caseload, that could mean nearly 300,000 single parent families would go without child maintenance… “
Find out more about the campaign and Gingerbread
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