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Change in care arrangements

Where a payer has a band of care and expects to go into another band of care there are particular rules to be applied before a new care band is applied

At the March CSNSEG (Child Support National Executive Stakeholder Engagement Group) we raised the issue of the requirement for a change in care arrangements of 7.1% or more for a change in payments to be made.

We were interested to know where this 7.1% came from and asked about it possibly being rounded to 8%.

FaCSIA have responded as below:

The 7.1% is equivalent to one night per fortnight. Recommendation 1.18 of the Taskforce Report provided that changes to care should only be made if the change is equivalent to at least one night per fortnight.

The only rounding rule applies where any care level below 50% is rounded down to the nearest whole % and any level above 50% is rounded up. As you are aware, this is to ensure that calculations for the percentage of care for children always achieve 100%..
Where this is significant is in moving from say "Regular care" (14% - 34%) to say "Shared care" (35% - 65%) where the FTB part A payments would resume.

If you had for example 127 nights and move to say 130 nights thus putting you into a "Shared care" band of care do not expect a sudden reduction in child support through additional income resumption of FTB part A contribution.

You will need to move at least 7.1% rounded :( before any change will be made !

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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Does that work in reverse? In other words, if care was reduced, does it have to be by 7.1, or more, in order for payments to increase? Or, would this occur straight away?

I suspect there would be some kind of provision that the payee could invoke, such as hardship, to have this occur.

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Secretary_SPCA said
You will need to move at least 7.1% rounded :( before any change will be made!
As rounding, below 50%, is down then effectively it appears that you need 8% or more difference in nights care for the child to be treated fairly and have support obligations correctly applied.

As the 127 nights is perhaps the most major step (which were meant to be reduced) with the new legislation as not only does it affect FTB splitting (i.e. at 35% or more you can claim FTB), it also affects whether or not the person with most care can pay CS.

That is if a parent has more than 65% care then even if they earned squillions and the other parent eared little, they would not have to pay, drop to 64% and they could well then have to pay the parent with the lower care.

This would also be affected by the above punitive ruling.
I have a little question that maybe someone could cast some light on.

Where is my daughter the 0.18 % of the time CSA does not recognize.

I know it's nit picking but why not state what care arrangements are 50/50 rather than 49.86 % it seems illogical that a child is in limbo on another dimensional plain.

What's it about?
I think that is why they decided to adopt a rounding program to round out that interdimensional space. Worthy of a response from FaCSIA. The formula and legislative document around it are very complex. Mike T is correct that you need 8%. We need to explore and test the profile in the calculator.

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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An exception to needing 8% adjustment is of course anyone with more than 50% care in which case the 7.1% would apply as it would be rounded up.

However considering this then :-

Let's assume a 7.4% change of care exists, for argument's sake, for one parent (parent with lesser level of care) this would be rounded down to 7.0% , for the other parent (parent with greater level of care) it would be rounded up to 8%.

Thus surely to be fair the change should then take place as there is the 7.1% change of care.

However what many would suspect would happen is that the CSA would use whichever figure derives the greater payment and thus the amount transferred reported would be greater.

I wonder if the CSA would commit to accepting that rounding is not relevant, due to their saying that they wish to treat parents equally?

D4E, it goes to the other parent (I assume you're basing this on the fact that 50/50 cannot actually be as the number of nights per year must be 182 and 183 or vice versa and can't be 182.5).

Although saying that when it comes down to calculations, the actual care percentage is 50%. Which equates to a 50% reduction to the cost of the children, so the primary determining factor of which parent is the payer is the parents CS income amount (adjusted taxable income less any relevant dependant child amount [generally only for biological or adopted children] and also less any multicase allowance).
I'd assume that they would then make one 49% and the other 51% but perhaps the formula is so finite that it takes into calculation leap years because we both have care at 49.86% cost at 50%.

It just struck me as strange that 50/50 care and time is reduced in the formula to 49.86/49.86.

You are spot on with every thing else and nothing has really changed, although I have not as yet rang FTB A&B (a little off topic).

FaCSIA Policy response

Here is the very latest we have from FaCSIA today who have received this from the policy group in response to a range of questions raised. The response does not answer specifically each question we raised although it sets out some misunderstandings in the notes vs the legislation.
Care
Care is the amount of time that a child spends with a parent or non-parent carer.

Percentage of care
A parent or non-parent carer's percentage of care for a day in a child support period is the percentage of care that the person is likely to have of the child during a 12 month period.  Generally, care will be calculated prospectively. Care is calculated over a 365 day period, regardless of leap years.

Levels of care
There are five levels of care:
  •    Below Regular care: 0% to less than 14% - This level of care will not affect the child support formula.
  •    Regular care: 14% to less than 35% - regular care will be recognised in the child support formula as a contribution to the costs of the child. A customer will not receive child support where they have less than shared care of a child.
  •    Shared care: 35% to 65% - will be recognised in the child support formula as a contribution to the costs of the child. A customer with shared care can receive or be required to pay child support.
  •    Primary care: more than 65% to 86% - will be recognised in the child support formula as a contribution to the costs of the child. A customer will not be assessed to pay child support if they have more than 65% care.
  •    Above Primary care: more than 86% to 100%: will be recognised in the child support formula as a contribution to the costs of the child. A customer with this level of care will not be assessed to pay child support.

When the assessment can be amended to reflect a change in the percentage of care

A person's percentage of care can be amended from the day on which CSA becomes aware of one of the following:

  •    a change in care arrangements of at least 7.1% (i.e. 1 night per fortnight or 26 nights per year) that affects the annual rate of child support;
  •    a change in care arrangements where the percentage of care for the child has fallen below 14%; or
  •    a change in care arrangements where the percentage of care for the child has increased to 14% or above.

For example: A customer's care changes from 110 nights to 136 nights. CSA would look at the difference between 110 and 126 which is 26 nights which is then divided by 365 to find the percentage difference which would be 7.12%.

A change in a pattern of care of less than 7.1% (1 night per fortnight or 26 nights per year) cannot be reflected in a child support assessment except where that change means that a parent or
non-parent carer?s level of care increases or decreases above or below 14%.

A change in a pattern of care that is greater than 7.1% (1 night per fortnight or 26 nights per year) can be reflected in a child support assessment if the annual rate is affected.

Can you please make responses to this thread so we can further clarify any loose ends.

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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LifeInsight said
OK so what about my issue with the way care is calculated? On a nights basis I have 39% care and on actual care I have 42%. Family Assistance will look at actual care, and currently C$A is only using nights. In places C$A uses the term "actual care" and then "nights", and then again "days". Some clarification on this would be good.
I am glad you raised this because some months ago Centerlink, at one of the CSNSEG sessions in Canberra, advised that this was an area that CSA and Centerlink were going to align come July 1. So I was quite surprised when I started to receive forms from Centerlink that still had the old method of time calculation on them. (By the way I have also started receiving advisories about benefits that I would never be entitled to anyway, so something is going on with their automated mailing system)

Our latest information just yesterday, during our fortnightly conference with FaCSIA, is that this is a seriously delayed resolution and is causing some grief internally as well as out here where we are.

It is on the high priority issues for resolution at FaCSIA and there should be some resolution in the very near future. Your case also highlights another issue as to "when does day care get taken into account". Under the new legislation their is provision for day AND night care. It is NO LONGER nights only but I keep seeing posts here that tell me that is not so. However as always with this legislation what you think is straightforward never is and there are some slippery provisions around when this applies. This is also covered in other topics and in the site FAQ. The 40% provision is what interests me because you have some time night care and some time day care but collectively above 40%. Does this mean they will allow the day care to be included?

Keep us posted on how things go. I will let you know when we get a definitive resolution on days vs nights and the alignment of Centerlink and CSA calculation formula. Sorry I cannot be more helpful but I am quite simply amazed at how nothing is every what it seems on paper. Someone (You can never find out who) always seems to be able to alter what started with "relatively straight forward intent" at legislation stage only to become a set of extremely complex and intertwined set of rules when it pops out the other end from the department.

It is one thing to speak with and have input to the reforms, read a recommendation report from the committee, then read the explanatory memorandum that sets out the intentions, then final legislation, then the amendments that slip by,  and then "The CSA Guide".  (Jon Pearson would have an answer to why this is all so complicated).  :(

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
 
Secretary_SPCA, another issue around care, and that is "what care is care".

Yoda (I hope I got the handle right), mentions a scenario with boarding at a public school, when obviously neither parent has care as such, it is the school that has care, however that care is paid for by the fees to the school, as such surely it is only fair that CS paid for that care is put toward the cost of the school fees and not paid to one parent as CS. I'm not that up on schools and how long boarders stay but it would likely be a substantial amount of time.

Theoretically this is covered as the school could be considered a non-parent carer, however somehow I don't think this would be case. Asking one of my sources of information, I got the reply, that it would go to the parent who is the emergency contact, however the source has not had the chance to investigate this.

I think some sort of decision ruling needs to apply.

Personally I think the legislation covers it with "The care a person is likely to have".
LifeInsight, I will be in the SSAT well before you on this point.  Expecting to see the CSA documents in next 10-14 days. The information in this thread is interesting and very helpful.
I still think CSA have not used technology imaginatively enough. First design a network diagram of all people a child has contact, spends time with eg all family friends, bus drivers, schools, doctors, etc). Then get their usual locations - map this out using netmap and other networking models. Then equip each child with a free mobile device (ok a chip) with GPS. Then collect every single movement of the child between locations and allocation (by the minute) where a child is and who 'owned' that care - simply feed this into the formula and adjust the money on a running account model.

All very simply and much easier for everyone.
All they need is more powers and someone to imagine yet more intervention.

 Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough
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