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Are working children under 18 ever considered to be fully self supporting by CSA

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My partner is fully supported by my income at the present moment and therefore cannot access any Centrelink benefits. He has paid child support for all of his children over the past 12 years and he has never seen any of them (6). We have been married for 10yrs and I do not know his children.

Recently we have been sent a request for an increase in his payments and on looking on the papers I discovered that his ex wife's Centrelink benefits have dramatically reduced with only one remaining child (15) to claim for, she now works 10 hours per week.

There is another child listed but no record of his school fees and we assume he has now joined the workforce at 17yrs old. Earlier this year we found out that the daughter (who was not 18 until July) had been working as a public servant officer and my partner had been paying maintenance for her (My partner was not working, so I had to pay it.)

Why does CSA investigate Taxation Declarations of working children to substantiate the fraud that is continuing by the ex partner? I call it fraud because these ex partners would not risk lying to Centrelink the way they do to CSA. At the present moment we pay $300 per month CSA and my partner is not working. I have advised him to take an allocated pension in 6 months as he is at retirement age (55 yrs) and I will continue to support him, pay the CSA and work my two jobs (50 hrs per week) because I really think the system is terrible.
KazScorpio said
My partner is fully supported by my income at the present moment and therefore cannot access any Centrelink benefits. He has paid child support for all of his children over the past 12 years and he has never seen any of them (6). We have been married for 10yrs and I do not know his children.

Recently we have been sent a request for an increase in his payments and on looking on the papers I discovered that his ex wife's Centrelink benefits have dramatically reduced with only one remaining child (15) to claim for, she now works 10 hours per week.

There is another child listed but no record of his school fees and we assume he has now joined the workforce at 17yrs old. Earlier this year we found out that the daughter (who was not 18 until July) had been working as a public servant officer and my partner had been paying maintenance for her (My partner was not working, so I had to pay it.)

Why does CSA investigate Taxation Declarations of working children to substantiate the fraud that is continuing by the ex partner? I call it fraud because these ex partners would not risk lying to Centrelink the way they do to CSA. At the present moment we pay $300 per month CSA and my partner is not working. I have advised him to take an allocated pension in 6 months as he is at retirement age (55 yrs) and I will continue to support him, pay the CSA and work my two jobs (50 hrs per week) because I really think the system is terrible.
If children are working and they earn a significant income (where the income is regular and exceeds the equivalent of the Youth Allowance, which was 213.25 as at August 2007, so it will now likely be a little greater than this), then the CSA can take that amount into consideration. To take that amount into consideration and apply it to the assessment, requires a COA (Change of Assessment [Reason 4]).

The CSA has a reputation of not being at all willing to reduce payments, the bottom line is that the CSA report $$$$$ transferred to FAHCSIA and thus FTB payments saved, so even though the CSA could very easily ascertain if children are working, once provided with a TFN, it is doubtful that they would do so and thus doubtful that they would initiate a COA. However you can do this yourselves and perhaps you should consider this.

I'm surprised (well not that much) that, if not earning an income and only having the one child to support, that the CS amount is $300 per month. Theoretically for one child with no income and assuming the minimum payment criteria apply, the payment would be $6.50 per week (minimum payment). However as you are working, it may be that the fixed assessment criteria apply (no income support and an ATI less than the Parenting payment single) which would then result in a payment of $21.58 per week. Neither results in $300 per month so my guess is that a COA exists and is being applied (as you've been paying CS I've assumed that arrears aren't a factor). As such you may well be paying a greater amount than you should be paying. I'd suggest that you initially discuss the matter with the CSA and raise the issue that a) you believe that the children are/have been working and b) that your partner has no income.
From your post it sounds like the ex has initiated a Change of Assessment process.    If this is the case, I would strongly suggest you get some independent advice from one of the advocacy/support groups about how to proceed, then check it against the CSA Guide/legislation because it seems everyone in this field has their own agenda, including the people who run this portal.  Also, while you may ring CSA, DO NOT trust their advice completely.  DO NOT proceed into this minefield uninformed!

On COA, I have formed the view that this device is substantially abused by CSA becoming the way they actually have a holistic look at someones case [anyone caring to dispute this claim may like to read the Ombudmans Annual Reports].  In a lot of cases it is unnecessarily intrusive and merely serves to entrench conflict between the parties.  It also can be used as a fishing expedition to see if the ex has done better post separation.

Legal names and Redress (WA) ex gratia payments

Section1: –> Thanks Mike T and BigRed for the advice on the website.

I have submitted all my payslips, our living exp. etc to CSA for the COA conference in December. I also submitted a three page document outlining our situation. No, we do not have any arrears and are actually $4,000 in credit. We have had previous experience dealing with the CSA over the past 12 years with several previous assessments completed, annual leave and tax cheques confiscated and we have paid lump sum amounts to eradicate any arrears, the list goes on. My husband up to 18months ago worked two jobs to cover all the costs of CSA and have something to live on. Needless to say his health is now fragile after working long hours for over 15 years. I have also successfully defended myself in the Family Courts several years ago, so understand that you really have to know the legislation.

We gave all the data CSA required, my husband has, no income, no bank accounts, no cars, no assets, and is Joint tenant on our mortgage with myself and my 22 yr old daughter. We could be thrown the 'wildcard' known as capacity to earn but I have also pointed out in my letter that the ex partner also has no children home during the day and now has a capacity to earn and work more hours to support her children. I have also pointed out that she is part of the Rudd strategy to give low income couples a lump sum payment in December and this has not been taken into account ($4,500 as new husband is on a Disability pension).

I have several questions that someone may be able to answer. Firstly the ex wife signs all CSA documents in her previous married name (as if she is still married to my husband!) and she has submitted the COA as this. What are the legalities of this as I know you are not permitted to use previous names in Banking, Centreline, Taxation, and in the Family Law Court?

The second question I am submitting to anyone that may know CSA legislation. My partner spent most of his childhood in an orphanage and has applied to the Government for an Ex Gratia payment that is available in 2009 to people who suffered the loss of their families at the hands of government policies of the day. This is known as Redress (WA) and according to the website; both the taxation and Centrelink will not be determining this lump sum payment as income. My question is will CSA deem it as income? It would be ironic to have some of it taken away by CSA, when my partner's childhood was stolen from him and then the ex wife has refused him any contact with his children for the past 12 years or so.

I can only hope that the new CSA system is one that has gives a little more thought into the way both Payee and Payers are assessed and not a one way street as it has been previously.
 I can only answer the question about the name  -  basically you can call yourself anything you want as long as you are prepared to answer to that name in a court of law.  If you are picked up by the Police and call yourself X, as long as you are known to others as X, give the proper address, all other details are correct  and you advise them of any other names by which you are known (if they ask), and then accept a summons in the name of X there is no breach of the law.  This is an old common law right. This does not mean you can give a false name to the Police, which is illegal, but you can give them a vaild alternate name.  For some reason this does not apply if you are in charge of a vehicle in some states. This is a bit of a headache for the police and they don't like it when it happens, but you don't need to legally change your name via marriage, divorce, deed-poll etc.  There are obviously some things you can't do, like get a drivers licence, passport, TFN etc in a non-legal name, but simply using a name you used to be known by is not illegal as long as there is no intent to defraud. Also, marrying does not automatically result in a name change.  So if Mrs X wants to call herself Mrs Y and is prepared to accept legal documents addressed to Mrs Y there is no basis in law to prevent this, especially if she was once known as Mrs Y.  There are other rules about names and financial transactions, you can find some information at www.austrac.gov.au.  Most of these rules are to make it easier for the administrators.  I think that if the ex is still using her old name she could argue this is to make it easier for this particular case and as long as this information is cross referenced there should not be a problem. She might be doing it just to annoy you!
Verity is correct. Married names are considered "assumed names". Many women choose to retain their married name, but become Ms (as they are no longer Mrs). This retains the same name as the children, making life easier for younger children and schools.


Here is some VERY conflicting information from the WA Redress webpage:

Q: If I am successful, will any ex gratia payment I receive be taxed?
A: The Australian Taxation Office has issued a class ruling that lump sum payments made by the Western Australian Government under Redress WA will not be taxed (either as ordinary income or for capital gains). However, you should always seek independent financial advise to determine what taxes will apply after you have received an Redress WA payment.

For more information about the ruling and disclaimers, please click on
ERROR: A link was posted here (url) but it appears to be a broken link.
this link


Q: Will receiving an ex gratia payment affect my Centrelink pension?
A: Redress WA has received advice that ex-gratia payments made under the Scheme are exempt from the social security income test. This advice means that the benefit you receive from Centrelink will not be affected by an ex-gratia payment from Redress WA.

To read the exemption rulings, click on the following links:

Social Security Exempt Lump Sum (Redress WA) (FaHCSIA) Determination 2008 Social Security Exempt Lump Sum (Redress WA) (DEEWR) Determination 2008
    We recommend, however, that you discuss with Centrelink what effect any purchases of assets (property, motor vehicle etc) will have upon your Centrelink entitlements.


    Q: Will receiving an ex gratia payment affect my Family Tax Benefits A & B payment?
    A: Whilst the Australian Taxation Office ruling is that the Redress WA payment is not considered income, there may be other rules that Centrelink will apply. We strongly recommend that you contact Centrelink and discuss the matter with them.


    If the ATO do not deem it to be "income" (and it states their has been a ruling that will not), then Centrelink should not. I believe the line that I have bolded is a bit of a catch all.

    Personally, I would only consider the interest earned on the payment as income. In fact, you should consider using it to pay off any outstanding debts.

    My rule with government departments is to tell the truth, but only as much of that as they have a right to know.


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. 
Artemis this is not quite correct.  The social security law has a definition of income in, I think, section 8 of the SSAct1991.  It differs from the tax definition.  Compensation is covered in part 3.14 of the same Act.  While it is highly unlikely to be income for welfare purposes better to be safe than sorry.  Also, the money could be caught up in a CSA COA process.

Regarding the name, the key principle is "one name, one body".  Ie, the other party shouldn't be chopping and changing names.       
I included, in the paste from the relevant site, that another option is to clarify with Centrelink.

An anonymous call may put minds to rest.

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. 

Can a payer appeal a Change of Assessment?

I wish to thank lot of people for there response to my questions, it's great you can get a little insight into decisions that are made. I have also read lots of topics in the forum and found them helpful over the last few months. Thanks for the response to the Redress question, don't think I will go down Centrelink track as we don't deal with them.

I have another question to put to anyone out there that has had previous experience with a change of assessment. Can a payer object to the decision made by the CSA if its findings are in the favour of the payee if you feel you have strong grounds for any appeal?

The reason I ask this is previously we appealed in 2003 on the grounds that we had my daughter (stepdaughter to payer) and it was totally rejected by CSA and the payee, even though we had strong evidence supporting the fact that we were supporting her through Uni and that her own father did not
(Pre 1988, did not get any support until 6 months before she turned 18, after many times in the Family court!)
We were not aware that we could lodge an objection?
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