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Unable to pay and told by CSA I refuse to pay... go figure

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I will keep to the facts…

1) I am required to maintenance each month to the CSA.

2) I am not getting any money from any source to pay the money I am required to pay each month to the CSA. I have been challenged by CSA that it is impossible for anyone to live with no money, but I have told them I have sought employment to no avail and cannot earn Social Security as my spouse is over the ceiling set by Centrelink …so my spouse supports me by feeding me and giving me a roof over my head.

3) I have been challenged by the CSA as to why my spouse will not make any payments on my behalf…I am in a defacto relationship and my spouse has been supporting me (as mentioned) and refuses to pay maintenance as she is not compensated by the government in any way for doing so.

4) As a result of the above, I am in debt to CSA of about $500 and it is increasing each month by the minimum monthly required payment of about $50. The total debt thus far has been incurred while I have been receiving no money but yet still expected to pay due to this legislation.

5) I have no qualifications that would make me an attractive prospect to an employer.

6) I have spent the last eight years off and on study at university in the hope of getting a decent job, but have had to finally withdraw due to health reasons.

7) I spent six years in the army as a dental nurse but that has proven to be not enough to gain employment to raise money…I have come to the same conclusion as my father who experienced similar years ago…too old to work for someone and not physically fit to be competitive against other applicants.

8) My partner and I came to the conclusion early this year that I should work in a joint venture with her as a photographer…a home business, self employed scenario.

9) We did just that and through purchasing cheap second hand equipment off Ebay with her money, got a camera and the minimum required to get started.

10) To this day we have sought customers through advertising pamphlets, refering people to our business website and to this day have got no customers. We cannot afford to advertise in the yellow pages or pay for advertising at the moment and have recently closed our business website of about four months old as it was not bringing in customers and costing her too much.

11) Our next business step (as set out from the beginning by us as to the steps to take to get customers should our initial plan fail) is to get a physical portfolio consisting of prints, where I can do a door knock and show businesses what I have to offer or can do. She is not getting enough money to pay for more than one print a fortnight…I need at least 20 to having something respectable and will obviously have to wait a few months to reach that aim.

12) I have been contacted by CSA today asking me when am I am going to pay this debt of $500 off…I have replied they will either have to wait for our business to get off the ground or wait until the mango season starts in a few months where they will be guaranteed money at least then.

13) They have told me on the phone that they will refer my situation to debt collection where they will seize my jointly owned business assetts as I refuse to pay. That is not true…I repeatably corrected the persons ( I spoke to three during the day) and told them that I am physically unable to pay and to please stop accusing me of refusing to pay.

Summary: I am at a loss how the CSA can seize assetss (albeit not worth a great deal) purchased by my spouse over the year for a jointly owned business ( for the sole purpose of me getting an income) and wreck any future plans or prospects for me getting a wage of some description where I could make eventually steady payments to CSA…just because "they are required by legislation" to settle the current debt now raher than wait a few months where I am certain of getting money from seasonal work at least.

The fact this debt ( and future debt if I dont get a job or earn money) has entirely been raised based on "new" legislation that ignores the fact that I am not getting money from any source to meet the minimum monthly payment I have been told by government to pay is blatantly rediculous and a source of much bemusal and stress I can currently do without due to my current medical condition.

I failed to mention that after a few months of no money coming in from our new business venture, I started to look for work on "career one" website and got only two interviews and no work. My recent job application was two weeks ago and had interview with local service station as they advertised for job…a young girl got the job. Also CSA were constantly hassling every TWO weeks without fail upto about two months ago and asking am I getting money to pay the debt…and going through the usual stuff…no-one can live with no money, my spouse should pay the money I owe etc.

It is of interest that the CSA settled on the idea about two months ago that they were "happy" I had started a new business venture and were "happy" to wait until I get some money in… I too was "happy" with the arrangement and the phone calls stopped… until today when out of the blue I am told to cough up $500 and after I said I have not got the money but in the next few months I will, they throw without warning that are referring the matter to debt collection who will seize my only assets… that of the joint venture business… I get more courtesy out of finance companies (and some warning).

What I believe should be happening is that the CSA should advise you to request an Estimate of Income (I assume that you are currently being assessed on last years taxable income).  Here's a link to the relevant section of the guide The Guide - 2.5.1 - Estimates of Income

Your assessment should then be based upon a taxable income of $0. As you are not on income support you should then be handled under the fixed assessment ($21.27 per week per child), however you can then make an application that the fixed assessment amount is not used by showing that you are genuinely on a low income.

Here's a link to that relevant section of the guide The Guide - 2.4.11 - Fixed Annual Assessments
"For these parents it would be unfair to impose the fixed annual rate, and they can apply for the fixed rate not to be used."

…I have been repeatably told by CSA (every time they phoned me on their fortnightly harassment mentioned previously) when I bring the matter up about GENUINE zero income that there is no provision for such as quoted above from the link you provided me, despite receiving no income this financial year and being on Austudy or Centrlink benefits last financial year and the years before that. I will look into this most definitely as I think my treatment has and always is unfair regards this matter.

I am clearly not shirking my responsibilities regards maintenance (in my opinion) as even though I am not required to look for work in order to receive government unemployment benefits (to which I am not entitled and not receiving) I have been of late (last four months) looking vigorously for work to supplement a business plan that is not currently not bringing in money.
CraziestOzzy, you may also wish to make yourself conversant with the legislation, as referred to in the guide under the heading legislative references.

I think the bottom line is perhaps section 65B (4) which is:
Child Support Assessment Act 1989 said
(4) If the parent makes an application, the Registrar may determine in writing that the section not apply to the parent if the parents current income (within the meaning of subsection 66A(4)) is less than the pension PP (single) maximum basic amount and it would be unjust and inequitable to expect him or her to pay the amount assessed under this section.

Note:   If the Registrar refuses to grant an application under this section, the Registrar must serve a notice on the applicant under section 66C.
Therefore I believe there is a legal expectation that the registrar show that it is both just and equitable for you on a $0 income to pay $50 per month. Perhaps the SRL's may wish to comment on my interpretation, which may well be incorrect as I'm no legal expert at all.

:offtopic: Taking this off topic and due to your userid, I think we all deserve proof that you have a right to that userid. ;)
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