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Now that my daughter is a mother herself....

Why does C$A not count Centrelink payments as income?

My 16 year old daughter lives with her mother (payee) and my two other daughters.

My 15 year old son lives with me and my new partner and so does my partner's 7 year old son (he is not part of the C$A assessment).

My 16 year old daughter has just given birth to a beautiful baby girl herself.

Now my daughter is (going to be) receiving single mothers pension, family tax benefit (A & B) plus the "Baby bonus" payments.

The total payment she will receive each month is approx. $2,200. Not a bad income.

My daughter has to pay her mother back for any baby equipment my ex-wife has bought (about $1,500 bucks worth) and is now paying board ($50 a week) to my ex-wife.

BUT… the C$A doesn't count Centrelink payments as income and doesn't take into account the fact that she is now an adult in the eyes of the (Centrelink) law.

My payments will not change one cent according to C$A.

I've now got (allegedly) the top "assessor" working on this to try and find a solution but its not really looking good for me.

My question is, has anybody else been in this situation where there child has become a parent and what C$A determined in their case?

Also, is there any way, without going to court, to fight a decision handed down by C$A?
First question, is your daughter in full time education? I'm not sure if this is pertinent or not (it is for FTB to the girls mother).
Cam and Mike

Education is not relevant until the year she turns 18.

Take a look at change of assessment reason 4.

That would not take her off the assessment altogether but could reduce it dramatically.

Centrelink income is taken into account in change of assessment.

Mike - that's it, you are on your own till Wednesday.




Cheers BR and have a good couple of days away and take care.
To use CSA's own words, I am in a "grey area" and they are basically at a loss to decide what to do.

Of course, when CSA doesn't know what to do, their automatic response has always been to side with the female parent.

Please don't take that as mum-bashing or anything of the sort, but I am NOT a deadbeat dad and I am sick of being treated as a lower class citizen by the CSA purely because of my X chromosome.

BriarRose, according to CSA, the changes to 'reason 4' also dont apply as the income is Centrelink, not a 'real' wage.

A mix of Political and Practical considerations

As I understand it - the Parenting Payment is taxable (should the recipient receive other earned or investment income), FTB is not taxable. The next is a political question - when does a child become independant. Marriage of the child is a terminating event for the purposes of C$.

I would suggest arguing that as the Mother is eligible for "Income Support" being a mother herself, she should should be considered independant. Getting C$A to listen is another issue. It will largely depend on how the argument is constructed and presented.

For me - Shared Parenting is a Reality - Maybe it can be for you too!
I would think the only real proof that she is living independently in the house. This would mean confirmation that she is paying board for her and the child.

This way you could suggest that she is living independently under the same roof.

It's simply not going to happen unless there's a declaration from your X.

Because benefits are considered a living allowance and not an income I can't see that avenue working, to rationalize this look to the fact Ausstudy falls into the same category.

The best you could hope is that soon enough she looks to get a nest of her own then will be independent of her mother therefore your X will not be entitled to claim for her.

It could be cheaper for you to set her up in her own place close to mum but independent, this may be the only way to reduce the extra income your X is utilizing for her own benefit.

       
I guess you could bite the bullet and keep paying it, after all, when children have children it is always the grandparents who pay, as it seems that your daughter is after all very dependant on her mother.

as is the experince with my defacto and his ex who had their baby when they were 18 (legally adults), as far as i know the thier parents have provided private health insurance, a house, two cars, white goods, legal money, $100's of $$ cash on regular basis, furniture.i would judge your duaghter as bieng more dependent than ever.

this also shows me how the cs are a law onto themselves

Rarghhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!

Han Solo routine "We're all fine here, thanks. How are you?" *weapons fire* "It was a boring conversation anyway!"
An interesting point, if the child has a father identified on the birth certificate, wouldn't the father be paying CS to your grandchild?

If this is the case, is this income that needs to be taken into account?

A note of interest; birth certificates can be purchased from the Qld registery.

It does seem unfair - either the 16 year old is having her care needs met by the parenting pension, or through child support.

You should also be aware that if the 16yr old lives in a defacto relationship, you are not liable for CS.

Junior Executive of SRL-Resources

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (Look for the Avatars). Be mindful what you post in public areas. 

Haven't looked for ages

But I recall that to qualify for benifits - ie Austudy or Newstart, a person has to prove they were living indepedantly of their Parent(s)

For me - Shared Parenting is a Reality - Maybe it can be for you too!

COC (Child of Case) having a child under the age of eighteen

In order for the assessment to end for your daughter, and it is very unlikely the receiving parent will willingly admit that your daughter is "self-supporting', particularly if she is paying board, your daughter would have to be working and earning over a certain amount on a weekly/monthly basis before CS will concede that the assessment should end.

Child Support do not look upon you paying cs to your ex-partner for your newly born grandchild - it would be assumed that your daughter is claiming child support from the father (also it is not taxable - irregardless of whether or not she was doing this)

The fact that your daughter is paying the receiving parent board is, sadly, impertinent.

Only if your daughter is working part-time/fulltime above pea amount (that is, taxable income above the threshold of what is deemed necessary in order to self-support) could you look at reason 10 under COA.

We should be too big to take offense and too noble to give it.
 Abraham Lincoln
im looking at it frm a differant angle. your ex is supporting your daughter still in that she is takingon alot of financial responsiblity for your daughter even tho she is self supporting, i can see that as a way of supporting her without have to give your daughter lots of csah like alot of grandparents end up doing if their children have children quiet young.  

Rarghhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!

Han Solo routine "We're all fine here, thanks. How are you?" *weapons fire* "It was a boring conversation anyway!"
Gee the CSA Act says:

24  Children in relation to whom applications may be made
   (1)   Application may be made to the Registrar for administrative assessment of child support for a child only if:
   (a)   the child is:
   (i)   an eligible child; and
   (ii)   under 18 years of age; and
   (iii)   not a member of a couple; and
   (b)   except in a circumstance referred to in subsection (2), either or both of the following subparagraphs applies or apply in relation to the child:
   (i)   the child is present in Australia on the day on which the application is made;
   (ii)   the child is an Australian citizen, or ordinarily resident in Australia, on that day.


That seems to mean your daughter attracts child support.  Seems they may have that when they amended the Act.  
I've been having a look at reason 4 and it's ambiguous; under the minimal income section, income-tested pensions are to be disregarded, however in the significant income section, over the youth allowance ($213.25 per week), it does not mention that income-tested pensions are to be disregarded. However perhaps the deciding factor would be :-
CSA Guide said
CSA will consider the financial resources of the child in the context of the income and asset position of both parents. In most cases there will be some overlap between these considerations and that of consideration of what is 'just and equitable'.

My opinion is that child support is for the support of a child, however in this case the child is being supported by tax payers by the way of the parent payment single and FTB and as such it would be unfair for a second level of support to be included, especially as the income is a significant income by definition.

However looking at section 117 (7) of the Child Support Assessment Act, it would appear that the income-tested pension should be dis-regarded.

My guess is that you will have to pay for the double dipping.
Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 said
(7)   In having regard to the income, earning capacity, property and financial resources of the child, the court must:
   (a)   have regard to the capacity of the child to earn or derive income, including any assets of, under the control of, or held for the benefit of, the child that do not produce, but are capable of producing, income; and
   (b)   disregard:
   (i)   the income, earning capacity, property and financial resources of any person who does not have a duty to maintain the child, or who has such a duty but is not a party to the proceeding, unless, in the special circumstances of the case, the court considers that it is appropriate to have regard to them; and
   (ii)   any entitlement of the child or the carer entitled to child support to an income tested pension, allowance or benefit.
a junior CSA officer told me this afternoon that a change of assessment application would be lilely to work - but you would still be required to lodge your statement of financial circumstances so that the jst and equitable test could be met.
Here is my take on your situation, with apologies for the delay. I have tried to pull together the information from all posters and combine it with my own understanding.

What income does your daughter have for her own needs?
oneadadc said
As I understand it - the Parenting Payment is taxable (should the recipient receive other earned or investment income), FTB is not taxable.
Artemis said
An interesting point, if the child has a father identified on the birth certificate, wouldn't the father be paying CS to your grandchild?
 If this is the case, is this income that needs to be taken into account?
 
 Other than child support paid by you to her mother, Parenting Payment is the only payment that your daughter is receiving for her own upkeep. FTB, baby bonus, and any child support she receives from her own daughter's father is for the baby, not for her, so if CSA do look at this, only the Parenting Payment will be relevant.

Conclusion: The only independent income your daughter has for her own upkeep is Parenting Payment.

Are you liable to pay child support for your daughter?
Bigred said
Gee the CSA Act says:
 24 Children in relation to whom applications may be made
 (1) Application may be made to the Registrar for administrative assessment of child support for a child only if:
 (a) the child is:
 (i) an eligible child; and
 (ii) under 18 years of age; and
 (iii) not a member of a couple; and
 (b) except in a circumstance referred to in subsection (2), either or both of the following subparagraphs applies or apply in relation to the child:
 (i) the child is present in Australia on the day on which the application is made;
 (ii) the child is an Australian citizen, or ordinarily resident in Australia, on that day.
 That seems to mean your daughter attracts child support. Seems they may have that when they amended the Act.
 
Or has a "terminating event" occurred which ends your liability?
Another way to look at whether your daughter does attract Child Support is to consider whether a terminating event has occurred - whether something has changed since you were first assessed as liable for child support for her.

oneadadc said
 Marriage of the child is a terminating event for the purposes of C$.
Your daughter is not married, but there are other terminating events.


The Guide said
2.8.6: Terminating events


Context


CSA must end a child support assessment if a 'terminating event' happens.

Legislative references


Sections 5,12, 22, 54, 74, 151 and 151C Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989


Regulation 4 Child Support (Assessment) Regulations 1989


Regulation 6 Child Support (Assessment) (Overseas-related Maintenance Obligations) Regulations 2000


Explanation


The various 'terminating events' are listed in section 12 of the Assessment Act. CSA must end an assessment to take into account a terminating event (section 74).

In relation to a child, a terminating event happens if the child:

dies;ceases to be an eligible child under a child welfare law (section 22 and regulation 4);turns 18 (unless CSA has accepted an application for the assessment to continue after a child turns 18);is adopted;becomes a member of a couple (living with a person of the opposite sex on a genuine domestic basis or with someone they are legally married to, section 4(1)); oris no longer present in Australia, an Australian citizen, or ordinarily resident in Australia (except where Australia's international maintenance arrangements apply). (See chapter 1.6 Overseas cases)
That makes it sound like no terminating event has occurred.

However, The Guide is only an administrative guideline or interpretation of the legislation and the legislation takes precedence. In the past I have twice been able to overcome very grey areas argue that The Guide was too narrow an interpretation

Section 12 of the Child Support Assessment Act said
12 Interpretation - happening of child support terminating events
A child support terminating event happens in relation to a child if:
(a)    The child dies; or


(b)   The child ceases to be eligible child under regulations made under subsection 22(1); or


©    The child turns 18; or


(d)   The child is adopted; or


(e)    The child becomes a member of a couple; or


(f)    None of the following subparagraphs applies any longer in relation to the child:

        i.            The child is present in Australia;

      ii.            the child is an Australian citizen;

    iii.            the child is ordinarily resident in Australia; or


(g)   The circumstances described in subsection 30AA(1) of the Registration and Collection Act apply in relation to the child.

Note:    Paragraph (1)© may be affected by section 151C (which deals with continuing administrative assessments and child support agreements beyond a child's 18th birthday in certain situations).

 
 The legislation says a terminating event occurs when the child becomes a member of a couple.
There is no mention of marriage or living with a person of the opposite sex on a genuine domestic basis in the legislation. Those are in The Guide as a reasonable administrative interpretation of the legislation, but they are not in the legislation and decisions which meet the requirements of the legislation are not limited by the interpretation provided in the guide.

There are other definitions of being part of a couple, and you may be able to argue that a terminating event has occurred even though your daughter does not live with the father of her child.
I doubt that will get you very far, and it would involve using one definition of couple for CSA and another for Centrelink, but I can give you details if you want to try that.

D4E said
I would think the only real proof that she is living independently in the house. This would mean confirmation that she is paying board for her and the child.

 This way you could suggest that she is living independently under the same roof.
 
 Living independently is not a terminating event, even when the income comes from earnings.

Unless you want to argue that your daughter is part of a couple, there has been no terminating event, and the best you can do is reduce the assessment, not end it.
 
Conclusion: It is arguable that a terminating event has occurred as your daughter is part of a couple, but the argument is tenuous.

Can the Assessment be reduced By Change of Assessment Reason 10
lisadonahue2403 said
only if your daughter is working part-time/fulltime above pea amount (that is, taxable income above the threshhold of what is deemed neccessary in order to self-support) could you look at reason 10 under COAT.
 
 Under Reason 10 a payer or payee can apply for a change of assessment in special circumstances if the child support assessment is unfair because they earn, derive or receive additional income for the benefit of their resident child.
This has no relevance at all to your case.

 
Summary so far
Cam,

This post is far too long, so I will break it here.

To summarize:
1. You are definitely in a grey area.

2. The only income you daughter receives directly for her own upkeep is Parenting Payment. All other money coming directly to her is for the baby.

3. You have a tenuous argument that a terminating event has occurred as your daughter is part of a couple.

4. Change of Assessment Reason 10 does not apply.

5. Change of Assessment Reason 4 may apply. I will post separately on that.



Thanks BriarRose, I'll wade through that shortly.
I have had some potentially good news tho. It appears that I am being made something of a test case.
With all the changes going on at the moment (July 1st), the assesment solicitors are actually comparing the CSA "legislation" to the Centrelink "legislation" and trying to find a compromise situation.
This issue seems to have stirred things up and even the Commonwealth Ombudsman is involved.
Apparently its just not covered properly by any one set of rules/legislation and as you say BriarRose, its a legal grey area but according to C$A I've actually got a good chance of the reassesment succeeding.
*fingers crossed*

Thanks to everyone for all your help so far. I'll keep you posted as things come to light.
Cam said
I've actually got a good chance of the reassesment succeeding.
*fingers crossed*
  In my opinion, so you should have a good chance for what is really only the Aussie "Fair Go" and good luck cam and please keep us informed. I wonder if posting on here has helped at all (with the CSA looking into it in detail), it would be great to think that it has.

Last edit: by MikeT

Fingers crosses here too, I don't think it would be so bad if your daughters financial position was taken into account and any money went directly to her but why on earth should the mother be advantaged ?? Best of luck.

BirarRose My assimilation I was thinking of was that once the child is no longer in care of the parent as in moves out, then that parent is not able to claim for them, My suggestion was aimed towards the mother being on single parenting payment being an independent benefit, would this be acceptable to SS if she is still living with mum ??
It was an assumption on my part relating the issue to a friend who's CSA stopped when his son who had been working left home before he turned 18, he had to pay CSA when he was living with his mum but once he moved out he was self sufficient.
Thanks for the heads up it does help when you are told your wrong I do appreciate the effort you took as all the info was valid and to the point.

 :thumbs: d4e
Cam said
I have had some potentially good news tho.

the assesment solicitors are actually comparing the CSA "legislation" to the Centrelink "legislation" and trying to find a compromise situation.

Apparently its just not covered properly by any one set of rules/legislation and as you say BriarRose, its a legal grey area but according to C$A I've actually got a good chance of the reassesment succeeding.
*fingers crossed*

 
Cam

That is really good news!

I wrote something for you on Reason 4 and why I don't think it would work. Reason 4 is no longer relevant for you, but I will post it anyway because it also has some parts that relate to what is happening in your case and the Reason 4 bits may help someone else.

This post is just for in cases as Paddington Bear would say.


 
Can the Assessment be reduced By Change of Assessment Reason 4
 
oneadadc said
The next is a political question - when does a child become independant.
 I would suggest arguing that as the Mother is eligible for "Income Support" being a mother herself, she should should be considered independant.
 
Artemis said
 It does seem unfair - either the 16 year old is having her care needs met by the parenting pension, or through child support.
 
MikeT said
My opinion is that child support is for the support of a child, however in this case the child is being supported by tax payers by the way of the parent payment single and FTB and as such it would be unfair for a second level of support to be included, especially as the income is a significant income by definition.
 
I personally agree that these three comments go to the heart of the matter. Your daughter is being paid income support at an adult rate because she is a parent, yet you are paying child support as though she is still a child
 
oneadadc said
But I recall that to qualify for benifits - ie Austudy or Newstart, a person has to prove they were living indepedantly of their Parent(s)
 
The relevant allowance for a 16 year old without a child, either a student or a job seeker, is Youth Allowance and that is paid at a much lower rate than Parenting Payment because the child is still considered dependent on the parent they live with.  16 year olds living at home do not have to prove they are independent to get that allowance, and both parents are still expected to support the child because of the low rate.

This is where I believe the unfairness comes in. Unlike youth allowance, Parenting Payment is paid at a rate which supposes the child is independent because they are in the very adult role as a young parent.
 
BriarRose said
Take a look at change of assessment reason 4.
 That would not take her off the assessment altogether but could reduce it dramatically.
 
Cam said
 BriarRose, according to CSA, the changes to 'reason 4' also dont apply as the income is Centrelink, not a 'real' wage.
 
The income does not have to be from employment -it can be from a financial resource such as interest or shares or a scholarship etc, it just has to be significant, which is considered to be more than Youth Allowance but less than parenting payment.

Again, the legislation is the determining factor.

When I suggested you try Reason 4, I was hoping that the legislation would not specify that all pensions are to be disregarded; only that income from such sources must be disregarded, so that Parenting Payment could be considered as a financial resource rather than as income.

As oneadadc said, making a convincing argument would depend on how the argument is constructed and presented, but it would fit within the intent of the legislation which is for the parents to support the children until they have adequate income for their own needs, as your daughter plainly does.

Unfortunately,

MikeT said
Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 said
(7)   In having regard to the income, earning capacity, property and financial resources of the child, the court must:
     (b)   disregard:
   (ii)   any entitlement of the child or the carer entitled to child support to an income tested pension, allowance or benefit.
 
 
I think that makes it very clear that reason 4 will not help you because your daughter does not have any income outside of income tested pensions.
I also think there is another anomaly there - all pensions, even the untaxed ones, are now considered to be income for parents, but not for children.   This is presumably because most allowances for 16-18 year olds are very low, but that is not so for parenting payment which is paid at the same rate as adults even at 16.

Having initially been very confident that Reason 4 would work for you, I no longer think it will.
Bigred said
a junior CSA officer told me this afternoon that a change of assessment application would be lilely to work - but you would still be required to lodge your statement of financial circumstances so that the jst and equitable test could be met.
So, I may well be wrong.

Why not write up a change of assessment application under Reason 4, pointing out the obvious inequity in your situation, and see what happens?

You have uncovered what appears to be a genuine anomaly.



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