Express & Echo UK
Posted: August 20, 2014
AN Exeter man has paid out more than 30,000 to the Child Support Agency (CSA) for a child he has proved is not his.
And the CSA even wrote to him twice saying that if he could prove he was not the father of the girl then he would get a full refund.
But now the 49 year old has been told that even though he has provided a DNA test showing that he is not the father, he will not get a penny back.
A Dept of Work and Pensions spokesman said:If a person continues to make child support payments for year after year, the assumption has to be that they accept parentage.
Steven Carter saidI will continue to fight to get back the money I have paid out on the girl who is now 22 years old
When there is a dispute, then the onus is very much on the father to prompt action and have a paternity test, rather than pay and wait until the child is an adult.
Reimbursements can only be considered after a paternity test is taken.
A DWP source said a rebate would not be considered if the paternity test is taken after the child has become an adult and the case is closed.
Mr Carters Exeter based lawyer Kate Baker saidI will continue to represent my client and take his complaint to the next stage.
Security boss Mr Carter suffers with dyslexia and because of this would not a clue about the CSA procedures in their letters to him.
He said:The CSA say they set up two DNA tests but that is an absolute lie. And they knew I was dyslexic. I told them to speak to me on the phone, dont send me letters. But I did keep all the paperwork which I gave to my solicitor.
And one CSA letter dated August 2013 from a general manager states:As Mr Carter failed to attend the DNA the child support agency arranged for him, he will have to pay for a private DNA test.
If this shows that he is not the parent of the child then he will be refunded back any money he has made.
And a second letter written to his then MP, Tory Angela Browning, in September 2007, written by a complaints resolution officer, said:Until the Agency receives a Declaration of Parentage confirming Mr Carter is not the father of the qualifying child, we will continue to request payments by deductions of earning order and maintain the case until such time as the case closes.
Should Mr Carter obtain a Declaration of Parentage showing he is not the father, any payments he has made will be refunded to him in full.
But in June 2014 his lawyer received another letter from the CSA which read:As his DNA test proves he is not the father, a refund could be considered, but only for payments made against any charges for maintenance due from March 2014, when his test was taken, onwards.
However as his case was closed from September 2009 (when the girl ended full time education) there are no ongoing maintenance charges against which payments were made and a refund is therefore not possible.
Whilst I appreciate that Mr Carter will be disappointed, I trust I have explained the reason for our decision clearly.
The letter also admitted that the CSA continued to take money from Mr Carters salary after 2009 in order to recover the outstanding balance of arrears.
The CSA admitted that since 2003 Mr Carter disputed he was the father of the girl but he did not have the DNA test until 2014.
He said:I had a one night stand with the mother of this girl, on two occasions. She was with a boyfriend at the time.
She obviously looked at me like a cash cow. It was a fling 23 years ago and the girl is now 22 years old.
I work in a nightclub and the CSA contacted my employers and took my money. They accepted her work with no proof at all.
I always said she was not my child. It was basically a one night stand but I wore protection which I know is not 100% but from day one I knew she was not my child.
Now the British Government seem to be penny pinching off me. I work all the hours I can every day and have not had a holiday in nine years.
He took his case to a lawyer when the CSA demanded he pay another 8,000 back pay for the girl which would take another five years to clear.
He said over the years he has made hundreds of phone calls to the CSA who told him to prove he was not the father.
He said:I could not afford a solicitor. But when I was told I had to pay another 8,000 back pay I got one because I had been hitting brick walls.
They have said in black and white that if I can prove I am not the father they will refund all the money.
I have had to borrow 20,000 from my father to keep going . Over the years the CSA has taken all my money. But I am not giving up on this. I dont care what it costs.
I dont know if the girl knows who her real dad is. I feel sorry for her but I have had no contact with her mother.
But whoever her biological father is has got away with it and not paid a penny.
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