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Owed money by CSA - when will they pay me?

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Overpayment of Child Support

My husband's child support was due to finish next month (Aug 2011), as the child turns 18.  Since our youngest son was born with a medical condition 4 years ago, we have lodged COA's each year based on reason 9 (legal duty to maintain another) as I cannot work fulltime because of our son's condition, and the extra costs.  This has been accepted by CS, and our amount amendd accordingly each year.  Unfortunately each year the payee receives all our documents, she disputes many of our documents (?including specialist reports etc??) and includes a number of nasty comments.

On lodging our last COA in Feb this year, she replied with a number of nasty comments, stating that we were trying to not support her child etc etc.  After a number of issues, on the week that the COA decision was to be delivered, we received a call from the COA officer stating that he had recieved information that had been confirmed that the child had not been living with the payee since last October 2010, and child support should not have been paid since then, and we were owed a substantial amount of money.  The mother replied that she didnt know that she shouldnt have been accepting the money(?) (and regardless of the fact in her COA replies she had stated the child was living with her?).  So the COA officer finalised the paperwork and we were no longer liable to pay CS each week.

So now, 3 months later, we have tried writing to the CS about reclaiming the money, however they never responded, and rang my husband without explaining anything much, asking did he want to seek the money back, (of which we had stated in writing)… So we are wondering where we stand and if we will ever see that money again? Is there anything we should be doing?
                         the real job of the CSA, is not to provide support for children but to collect or transfer amounts in relation to this. This is because CS is basically a tax and that for a $1 collected in CS FTB payments are reduced. The amount collected and transferred is the top line of what is reported from the CSA to the DHS and then to ministers. As such they CSA are only really interested in what they can report and thus what they can collect. The CSA don't want to reduce this amount and thus have basically asked if you would gift the amount. This is in fact in contravention of the very object of the CS legislation that parents provide the correct financial support. However, it is well known that the CSA will try to get a liable or former liable parent to gift overpayments and they do this as a matter of course.

I would advise that you seek reimbursement of the overpayment by declining any attempt by the CSA to persuade you to gift the amount and by contacting the CSA to chase matters up (I'd suggest not only phoning but writing or using CSA Online (in my opinion CSA Online is the best option)). The CSA should also be taking action in regards to the other parent's fraudulent actions. However, I suspect that they won't. As such I would suggest that you use the Centrelink fraud reporting process as it is very likely that the other parent has not only been defrauding yourself but has also been claiming FTB fraudulently, due to the automated links between the CSA and Centrelink.

You may also wish to make an official complaint as the CSA have basically ignored your letter of intent to be repaid.

You may also wish to have a look at section 5.5.5 of the CSA Guide (the guide for legal people; however relatively easy to read for the lay person). A lot comes down to whether or not the overpayment is classed as a debt to the commonwealth. If so then the CSA should collect. If not then you may have to take the matter to court. Here's a link to the relevant section of the CSA Guide: The CSA Guide - 5.5.5: Overpayments.
The overpayment is a debt to the commonwealth as the debt arose in relation to a registered maintenance liability. As the overpayment came about from backdating a terminating event, i.e. the child was in neither party's care, it is repayable under section 79 of the R&C Act.

As MikeT pointed out, 5.5 of the Guide is a good reference and your situation actually fits the example used in the Guide.

"F is required to pay child support to M for the child C from 12 December 2006. On 7 October 2007, M notifies CSA that C left home on 15 August 2007. CSA varies the child support assessment by removing C from the assessment from 15 August 2007. M has received payments under 76 of the Registration & Collection Act which are repayable by CSA to F. CSA can recover these amounts from M under section 79". Taken from 5.5 of the current version of the Guide.

The main issue is the fact that CSA still can't look at employer deductions or s72a notices for overpayments. They will intercept her tax though…
If your reasonable attempts to get C$A to repay the $$$ fails, then you can always lodge a claim against them for the amount via the CDDA scheme due to defective administration.

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