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ConsumerUK Guide


Child support agency (“CSA”)

What is the CSA?

The CSA is a Government led organisation which calculates child maintenance, taking into account financial and personal information from both parents.

The calculations are prepared one of two ways, depending on when your case was opened by the CSA.  For cases opened after March 2003, child maintenance is calculated under the 2003 scheme rules (“the current scheme”). For cases opened prior to this date, the calculations are based under the 1993 scheme (“the old scheme”).
Calculate any maintenance due
In order to calculate any maintenance due, the CSA will need to consider the non-resident parent’s net weekly income (for clarification, the non-resident parent is the parent who the child does not regularly live with), the number of children who need child maintenance, how often those children stay overnight with the non-resident parent, if the non-resident parent (or their partner) has any other children whom they receive child benefit for and if the non-resident parent pays child benefit for any other children.
The CSA will get this information from both parents and they are also able to obtain income information regarding the non-resident parent from their employer or H.M. Revenue & Customs.
The CSA will work out the non-resident parent’s income taking into account their earnings (including benefit payments), money received from an occupational or personal pension and certain tax credits. The net figure is calculated after tax, National Insurance and pension contributions are deducted.
A formula is used in calculating maintenance payments whereby the CSA will use the non-resident parent’s net weekly income (after the above deductions) and then use one of four rates (explained below).  It should be noted that if children in need of child maintenance stay overnight with the non-resident parent, the amount payable may be reduced.
Flat Rate
the rate used here is £5, irrespective of how many children are involved.  The Flat Rate is used if the non-resident parent’s net weekly income is between £5 and £100 (provided they do not qualify for the Nil Rate (explained below).
This rate is also used if the non-resident parent is in receipt of certain benefits and includes Jobseeker’s Allowance, State Pension, Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Incapacity Benefit, Bereavement Allowance, Armed Forces Compensation Scheme payments, Pension Credit, War Disablement Pension and Training Allowance. Other benefits may be considered and it would be advisable to mention any other benefits you receive in order for them to be taken into consideration.
If the non-resident parent lives with their partner, the Flat Rate will be used if their partner receives Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Pension Credit or Income-related Employment and Support Allowance.
Basic Rate
If a non-resident parent has a net weekly income of £200 or more, this rate will be used to calculate the maintenance payable.
Here, the calculation is based on a percentage of the net income.  This is usually dependent upon the number of children needing child maintenance and the number of other children the non-resident parent, or their partner, receives child benefit for.
Reduced Rate
If the non-resident parent’s net weekly income is more than £100 but less than £200, this rate will apply. In calculating the maintenance due, the non-resident parent will pay the Flat Rate of £5 plus a percentage of their net weekly income.
Nil Rate
The Nil Rate applies in cases where the non-resident parent is a student, child, prisoner, lives in a care home or independent hospital and gets help with their fees, receives an allowance for work-based training or skill-seeker’s training (in Scotland) or is between 16 and 17 years old and either they or their partner is in receipt of certain benefits.
If the non-resident parent has to pay for other children (i.e. to more than one parent with care) then the CSA will work out the total amount of child maintenance the non-resident parent has to pay and then divide that amount between all the parents with care (i.e. the parent or carer whom the child usually lives with), according to how many children they each care for.





Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the legal information contained on “consumeruk” is accurate, it does not constitute legal advice tailored to your individual circumstances. If you act upon it, you acknowledge that you do so at your own risk. Neither the Proprietor nor Dean Dunham can assume responsibility and do not accept liability for any damage or loss which may arise as a result of your reliance upon it.


Last updated 14.07.2014

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