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Change of Assessment & Objection - Payee receiving CS whilst child not living with her, Overpayment by Payer

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We have had 3 Change of Assessment Orders in place for the last 3 years as my husband is the payer

Hi - could anyone give us any advice - this is our situation - the CSA want an answer from us asap and we arent sure what to do??… My husband is the payer to a child now 17 1/2 years old. He has no contact with the child or mother, does not know any of their details - basically it was a silly teenage mistake. As a result over the last 17 years we have endured alot of stress from the mother particularly, including irrational and constant phone calls, with us eventually moving cities to avoid the situation. Not once has she ever wanted contact, only money, of which we have paid the entire time. My husband and I have 2 children - 1 of which has a chronic medical condition approx 3 1/2 yrs ago We have had Change of Assessment Orders established and in place for the last 3 years since our youngest son's birth - re reason 9 in that my husband's ability to pay is reduced due to son's medical condition, I cannot work as have to look after our son, increased medical costs etc. End of last year (Sept 10) we lodged our yearly Change of Assessment. Reason 9 again established, however case officer gave decision (in Jan 11) that liability should be increased and backdated from Sept 10 (equating to about $900) We lodged an objection to the COA decision on 18 Jan 2011. Yesterday we recieved a call from the Objections Officer stating that 'new information had come to light" - they stated they had become alerted to the fact that the child, now 17 1/2 yrs old, no longer lives with the mother, and infact moved out of home last Oct 2010. As it stands currently, the Objection Officer advised my husband has paid approx $3500 in CS during that time. The objections Officer then went on to state that he needed an answer as to what we wanted to do? He basically stated whethor or not we wanted to recover the money, go ahead and get the objection decision, but to bear in mind his decision may increase our liability and he could go back as far as 18 months…. This perplexed us somewhat as a few weeks ago he advised us that he was looking at cancelling out the $900 arrears incurred as a result of the initial COA decision of Jan 11. He nows seems to be inferring that if we pursue the $3500, he wont allow the cancelling of the arrears… My husband started a new job in Feb this year, earning approx $10k more than his previous job. The mother stated she was "handing the money on" - however given past history and behaviour we are in doubt as to that fact. We are now confused as to what we should do, our rights and whethor the Objections Officer's 'hints' were to not pursue the money…. But we are in debt as is, and $3500 is ALOT of money to us. Please - does anyone have any advice / been in a similar situation? Thanks
I would suggest that you make a complaint and report this officer. The officer appears to be disrespecting (breach of APS guidelines) by clearly attempting to intimidate you into gifting the fraudulently obtained overpayment with a clear threat of the action of reworking the assessment which I believe is not justified (if it were it would have been done in the natural course of the handling of the case).

It would also appear that the officer has not followed the need to report such fraud. I believe there are grounds for the officer being considered as conspiring with the fraudster by the effort the officer has made to try to reward the fraudster by gifting them the money they obtained via the fraud committed.  The issue of the CSA not reporting fraud and the issue of the CSA's bias in favour of recipients have both been the subject of Ombudsman's reports. As such this officer's action should be reported at the highest possible levels. As such you should complain not only to the CSA, via their complaint's process but you should also complain to the Ombudsman, your local Federal MP and the Federal MP responsible for the portfolio (Tanya Plibersek

I would also suggest that you help protect Australian citizens against the fraudster by reporting the fraudster for fraud to Centrelink as it is quite likely that they have also fraudulently claimed benefits.

Oh and inform the CSA that you will not be gifting the amount and that you expect the CSA to recover the debt.

Note to Secretary_SPCA. I'm just wondering if the frequently published/reported CS debt (you know the $1 billion or so), not only includes the debts of the deceased but also the debts of overpayments? As such debts are deemed debts to the Commonwealth.

P.S. HRHGRasshopper, could you please use paragraphs to make your posts easier to read.
Thanks so much MikeT - sorry about the formatting - we will be speaking with them this afternoon
I'd also suggest recording the call if you can. There's no need to tell them that you're recording it as you're allowed to record calls for legal purposes.
CSA will quite likely gift the amount without youre consent under section of theguide which says as there was no case so therefore they cannot recover monies as there is no case for them to do so.

In youre case they will say the case ended in October 2010 and gift any overpayment to ex  and any payments that may have come out of overpayment dont count as case is closed.

This is what I am dealing with currently.

SSAT found case registered  1 year prior to seperation and therefore 10's of thousands  collected  went onto account as overpayment(CSA cannot force recipient to return overpayment) Months later I find out from monthly statement all overpayment created by ssat judgement now gifted to ex and I am in arrears for all payments deducted from overpayment.

When contacted new case manager advised  was done by previous case manager and he no longer looks after my account … aka he fixed me up  as his last act in the position before quitting because I did not lay down and accept his harrassment threats and inaction in not reporting fraud to centrelink.

Official documentation states as the case no longer exists prior to xx/xx/xxxx due to ssat finding ,this money they have garnished from my bank accounts from my employers even after making arrangements with them and advising if they contact my employer my employment will be terminated as my workplace agreement stipulates they can terminate me if required to garnish pay or I go bankrupt This money they harrassed me into getting a loan to pay or they would take me to court and have me locked up for, this money I told them I do not owe as my ex  and I have a private agreement which she reneged on , is not collectible by csa as it covers a period where there was no case. so first they deny my objection  re case registration then they withold vital information which ssat must adjourn hearing to seek this information from csa, then they register case at date 1 month before birth of my child with another mother.

After this they steadfastly refuse to collect this  money from payee stating they cannot legally do so and all the while telling me its for my children and taking it back would disadvantage them. They have steadfastly refused to make contact re compensation claim re this matter. then they gift it to the payee and place me in arrears. so obviously this is not disadvantageous to my other child. It now 17 months since ssat decision and even though claim for compensation was placed within a week of ssat results arriving in the mail 4 weeks after ssat hearing  still no contact from compensation team and noone from this team available when i ring and noone from there ever ringing me back wheni call and leave messages.

They will find something… anything … to protect there .5 % bonus no matter what the end result for the payer and how it effects the relationship between the payer and payee and ultimately the children they are supposedly collecting on behalf of whether it be  actually legally sound or whether just by threat or intimidation.

You can fool some of the people some of the time but you cant fool all of the people all of  the time unless they work for CSA and youre a Payee:)
Leroy said
(CSA cannot force recipient to return overpayment)

Leroy, for a registered case ("There is a registered maintenance liability if, at any time, a liability was entitled to be registered.") then an overpayment becomes a debt to the commonwealth and the CSA must collect basically as if collecting child support arrears. If it's not a registered case then if you get a parentage overpayment order from court then  register it with the CSA have a duty to collect it as it then becomes a debt to the Commonwealth.

Leroy, you could try involving the Ombudsman. Also you can bypass SSAT and go directly to court under section 143 of the assessment Act. If you don't get a parentage overpayment order, then collection wouldn't be via the CSA. However, non-payment could likely be addressed by another trip to the court.
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