Donate Child Support Calculator
Skip navigation

Csa isn't responding

We objected on arrears of nearly 2k, the ex requested to be paid for July,august,september (backdating 3month) after going from not collecting to CSA collect. We disputed this on 3 occasions and csa is ignoring it and now tells us they are going to enforce payment if we don't enter in a payment plan. The arrears are incorrect calculated and non agency payments had been made. No special circumstances existed either. I sent in a complaint. I don't understand how they can operate like this. We are supposed to fill in forms and so on, but the ex doesn't have to submit anything. Csa tried to cut an unethical deal for her also. We are appealing to the SSAT. Can I request from CSA to hold off with the arrears until SSAT ruled on it?

I thought that the guide would apply but CSA didn't follow it at all.

5.1.4: Collection of arrears accrued during non-collect period
Version 2.2, Last updated 10 May 2011 12:05pm
A payee who elected not to have CSA collect maintenance for them when they applied for a child support assessment, or notified CSA of a court order or court-registered agreement can later apply for collection. They can also apply for CSA to collect arrears.

Legislative references
Section 18A, 28A Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1988
Application for collection of arrears
Exceptional circumstances
International Maintenance Liabilities
Evidence to show exceptional circumstances
Calculating amounts unpaid
Application for collection of arrears
A payee who previously elected not to have their liability registered for collection can later apply for registration. CSA must register that liability for collection. The payee can also apply for CSA to collect arrears for them (section 28A).

CSA must accept the payee's application for collection of amounts the payer has not paid in the 3 months immediately before the date the liability first becomes enforceable by CSA. CSA will need to be satisfied that the amounts have actually not been paid.

A payee may also apply for collection of amounts unpaid by the payer for 9 months before the liability first becomes enforceable by CSA. This is called the maximum arrears period. If there are amounts unpaid for this period and CSA is satisfied that there are exceptional circumstances it must grant the application.

If CSA grants the payee's application the unpaid amounts become a child support debt and CSA will vary the Register to show that the payer owes these unpaid amounts.

Exceptional circumstances
Whether circumstances are exceptional will depend on the facts in each particular case. The circumstances must be unusual in some way. They may be circumstances beyond the control of the payee that prevented them from applying for collection within a reasonable period. CSA will consider the effect of the particular circumstances on the payee and the extent to which they contributed to the payee's delay in applying for collection.

The following are examples of circumstances that CSA may consider exceptional. This is not an exhaustive list and each case must be considered on its merits.

The payer threatened or pressured the payee not to apply for registration for CSA collection chapter 6.10 Family violence.
The payee was ill or had an accident that stopped them from applying for collection.
The payee suffered a personal trauma such as a death in the family or a natural disaster that caused damage to the payee's property.
The payee had communication difficulties because of, or including, isolation, illiteracy or poor English-language skills.
The payer created a false expectation of payment (e.g. they promised to pay a lump sum from the proceeds of the sale of property or a compensation settlement).
The parents were involved in negotiations over child support and/or other matters and applying for collection may have compromised those negotiations.
In some cases payees may apply for collection after CSA amends a child support assessment retrospectively so that there are significant arrears arising (for example, it may replace a default income or reconcile an estimate of income). These arrears arise through the ordinary operation of the Act and are not an exceptional circumstance even if the payee was unaware of any change in the payer's circumstances.

International Maintenance Liabilities
An amount of arrears arising under a registrable overseas maintenance liability can be registered with CSA for collection. This type of liability is not limited to three or nine months (section 18A(4)).

Evidence to show exceptional circumstances
The payee must provide suitable evidence for CSA to find there are exceptional circumstances. For example, if the payee states that the payer threatened or pressured them they may provide evidence from a person fully aware of the nature and details of the circumstances such as a doctor, social welfare worker or police officer.

In the case of illness, accident or psychiatric condition, the payee should provide written confirmation from a medical practitioner. In other cases, the payee must supply a full and detailed explanation supported by appropriate evidence.

CSA must provide the payer with an opportunity to comment on information the payee provided to CSA if it is taking it into account to make a decision to grant an application for a maximum arrears period.

Calculating amounts unpaid
In some cases parents may provide conflicting information about payments made during the relevant arrears period. If there is a dispute over the amount of unpaid child support, CSA will make reasonable investigations before reaching a decision on the amount owing in the arrears period. This would include contacting both parents to seek details of payment dates and amounts, the period to which the payments apply, and any supporting evidence that supports their claims.

Supporting evidence may include:-

bank statements showing amounts transferred from the payer to the payee
bank statements recording the withdrawal of the amount paid to the payee for child support
receipts from the payee
other records, such as letters or emails, about payments made or owing in the arrears period.
CSA will take into account any amounts that the payer has previously paid that would qualify as a prescribed non-agency payment (chapter 5.3.1 Non-agency payments ) when calculating the amounts unpaid. If the payer has paid 70% of the liability directly to the payee, CSA will credit towards the remaining 30% of the liability any further amounts that would qualify as prescribed non-agency payments.

If the parents do not agree and CSA cannot be satisfied based on the information and evidence available that payment was made for some or all of the arrears period being claimed, the arrears claim will be accepted.
sm10 said
csa is ignoring it and now tells us they are going to enforce payment if we don't enter in a payment plan.
This is one of the CSA bullying tactics - threats of collection enforcement despite there being an appeal to the decision underway.
They are trying to intimidate you into paying up their fabricated arrears.

sm10 said
Can I request from CSA to hold off with the arrears until SSAT ruled on it?
You will need to obtain a Stay Order to stop them from proceeding with enforcement.
Step one is to advise them that you will be applying to the Federal Magistrates Court for a Stay Order - they will stop enforcement while they wait for the Stay Order - if the SSAT hearing happens before you get around to filing the Stay Order application, mission accomplished!

Step two is to ensure that you have no money in bank accounts under the Payer's name only - if you do, close those accounts and open a joint account for that money - that will prevent CSA raiding your accounts with an S72A order
How long do u have to fill out a stay order.
sm10 said
How long do u have to fill out a stay order.
I don't think there is a set time for this - my only experience is the one time I did it and after I advised them I was seeking an order they didn't harass me about it again before the SSAT hearing (about 3 months)
What I don't get, is they just simply told us on the phone that our objection got rejected and we want payment of x ammount and areas. We objected on the arrears and got no response on that at all. We objected on the level of care. Now I believed that They were supposed to recieve a written response from the other party, forwarding such to us. The other party didn't put any forms in, she just denied access over the phone. We got no written response from her on arrears and care. We have also no written decsission from CSA on either. CSA tried to negotiate, which was unsuccesfull. Payee agreed to regular care, 1 week later disagreed. We recieved nothing in writing from no one, but got asked to pay now. Is that the norm? Am I wrong with the formal response and decsission?
Firstly, you need to demand that all contact from the CSA is made in writing.

They will say OK but at times we will need to contact you by phone.

To which you reply:
"That's OK, I will decide at the time whether it is appropriate to ring me."

Then when they do ring you, use the procedure here:
View topic: Changes to section 60CC -

If you have submitted written objections to CSA, you should be receiving written responses.

It sounds like you need to lodge an official complaint about their behaviour.
Thank you, you confirmed my assumptions. Seeing a lawyer as well tomorrow to assist us. I've got a rough idea now, thanks to all the lovely people here helping me :-)
One of the main issues will be whether the objection was rejected (disallowed), invalid or withdrawn. Sometimes CSA staff have a vaguely worded discussion with you about the 'merits' of your objection/application and the next thing you know you have apparently withdrawn your objection. The decision never gets made and therefor there are no grounds for appeal to the SSAT.

I'm not sure on a personal level whether I would request written correspondence only. I know a fair few public servants that dread writing letters to customers - not due to accountability, but the hoops they have to jump through to get approval for any unique piece of correspondence to be sent. Given the delays that occur for their basic system generated letters, unique correspondence must take a whole much longer. The other thing is that call recording transcripts can be requested through FOI. But each to their own. I can understand that people who constantly have to deal with the conflicting and inconstant advice dealt out by CSA would request to be write only.
Burbs, that is a good point, I will better check this. After the objection, the other parent wanted to cut a deal wich was more then fishy, CSA was happy to do this for her, she withdraw as soon as we did transfer the outstanding amount as agreed. Maybe they put it as withdrawn. CSA staff also told us to appeal to the SSAT now if we are unhappy, without written response.

And that is another reason to go by via email only for me.
          write-only is a easily available and there is very little in the way of hoops to go through. It's also two way i.e. a customer can request it or the CSA can set a customer as write-only for their protection from unreasonable or difficult behaviour (An Ombudsman's report, named "Difficult behaviour shouldnt mean inadequate service", issued on 30 Nov 2010 rebuked the CSA for abuse of them initiating write-only). I'd suggest anyone wishing to request this say that they consider the calls harassing and thus harassment (if you are working to to interruptions to work). I believe that once harassment is mentioned then you become write-only pretty quick (i.e. I believe they just enter it into cuba and you are flagged as write-only from then on). I've been write-only since 2004 or 2005 at my request/demand.

As for requesting call scripts (assuming you mean the recording of the call), they have a great tendency to get lost as do other things that may be seen as detrimental (e.g. as below). I'd suggest that it's much better to record calls yourself, which I believe is not illegal even if you don't inform the other party and as long as you don't intercept the call (e.g. make the recording via the speaker-phone) as the recording is for your legal protection.

As for delays due to uniqueness I don't think that that is an issue unless the CSA employee wishes to make sending a letter an issue.  I also use CSA Online, which I believe is useful as a write-only and you can even get around the "It got lost" garbage. I had this as I used CSA Online to make a complaint and it didn't get a response. Subsequent mention of the complaint not being handled resulted in the far too frequently used "It got lost". Well it didn't for me it was still in my sentbox and is still now. CDDA gave a tick for defective administration on this one and another for the complaint itself. Furthermore, I've had letters, via CSA Online, requesting that I call the CSA, so there is no excuse for any delays. I have also had my phone number set to 00 0000 0000 via CSA online (the system wouldn't allow this so I phoned technical help and they understood my need and input it on my behalf).

You can also ask for your screen notes (i.e. the notes taken regarding your call, these are all kept and saved and can very easily be accessed from Cuba). There is no need for FOI request for these (nor should there be for call recordings) as the information that would be protected by FOI has already been divulged as you were party to the conversation that was recorded. If an officer refuses then insist that they contact the FOI officer who will confirm that the screen notes are not protected from yourself. If the call to the FOI officer results in the officer saying that they are covered by FOI (i.e. the leave you on hold for 20 minutes or so while they have a break and then respond after not having called anyone), then I'd suggest a complaint should be made.
That was a good point made and after what has happened, it's the best way to go for us. DH can't handle the calls while at work. There is a good reason on why he earns a good wage, his job isn't easy and the last thing you want is him loosing it as a result of their phone calls and then they probably grant a CoA on CTE after lol
I would advise anyone dealing with the CSA to become a 'write only' client/customer.
You will then have the best evidence on what was said or not said. The CSA will become more careful in what they write to you.

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on the site (Look for the Avatars).   Be mindful what you post in the public areas. 
Is there a form you need to send in for "write only"? I would think an email would be sufficient but you never know with the CSA!
There is no form.

I rang them up to tell them I would be write-only.

Remember that you are saying that they are not allowed to ring you - you can still ring them to find out stuff that you want to know right away.

If they ask you something in one of those calls, don't answer and ask them to put their query in writing…
sm10 said
Is there a form you need to send in for "write only"? I would think an email would be sufficient but you never know with the CSA!
An email should be sufficient,but my experience with the Agency is that the only way to ensure a document is treated seriously is to take it to them and demand a receipted copy. That way they cannot "lose" it, or pretend it was never received, both of which are first-line defences they have tried several times with me. Even when you've done that, they can still try the "can't find it" approach. My response to that is to demand a full report into the misuse of my data within 28 days, including why it was removed, who removed it and when. So far, that has never failed to assist them to "find" such "lost" documents.
I've got a new one for you guys:

Hubby told CSA that he requests "write only" from now on (sent an email also), the case supervisor told him that they are going to ring him anyway. Seriously? DH got very angry.
Don't get angry - just wait to see if they do actually ring.

Get this script printed out ready in case they do ring:

Make sure you lodge an official complaint for harassment every time they ring you.

Whether or not the complaint is upheld, they still need to go through the complaint investigation procedure with the officer who the complaint is against they'll soon get tired of it and realise you are serious about no phone contact
SM10, claim, in-writing, that should the request for written correspondence only not be observed that you will consider any contact by any other means to be an act of harassment by the CSA against yourself. Perhaps also write a letter of complaint to the CSA, your local federal MP, the MP for the DHS and the ombudsman.
1 guest and 0 members have just viewed this.

Recent Tweets