Lone Parents, The Benefit System, THE GRAPEVINE! news, comment & a bit of gossip

Child maintenance and the welfare reform bill

Families will lose out with the abolition of the CSA


Gingerbread charity says nearly 300,000 families could go without child maintenance under proposals announced  in the welfare Reform bill.

Almost half the single parents who use the Child Support Agency (CSA) would not be able to afford to pay the fees to access the new child maintenance service, according Gingerbreads survey.

The poll found that 46% would not be able to afford the application fee of £100, or £50 for those on benefits.

The survey found that 72% of respondents said they would be unable to agree private arrangements with their former partners, which means their children could go without maintenance support.

Under proposals in the Welfare Reform Bill the CSA is to be phased out and be replaced by a child maintenance system which will include a compulsory “gateway” service for those seeking to claim money.

Single parents would have to show they had taken “reasonable steps” to set up an arrangement with their former partner otherwise they would have to pay the application fee of £100 or £50, as well as an ongoing charge of between 7% and 12% of the money collected by the service.

The department said its own research showed around 75% of fathers using the CSA and 51% of parents with care (mostly mothers) could make arrangements with the right help and support.

Welfare Reform Bill

Relevant clauses


Yes Minister comment

This will undoubted cause significant problems for families up and down the country… Through this measure the the unintended consequence is that thousands of families will be discouraged from apply and their families will be worse off:

The Coalition needs to be careful that it does not fall foul of the maxim that it “Knows the cost of everything but the value of nothing”


Eyullahemaye Henry-Miller


1 Comment

  1. This is terrible news for people who genuinely need to use this service and I would hope that there would be conditions to imposing the charge. On the other hand, this charge will hopefully deter time wasters who are currently able to pick up the phone and cause misery to thousands of parents who ALREADY PAY the correct amount. I cannot accept that someone can use a government department to cause distress to a family without having to provide a shred of evidence that they are NOT receiving payments nor can I accept the accused is then denied the opportunity to prove that they ARE providing the correct maintenance payments. This must be addressed to stop people abusing the system to gain vengence on their ex and to free up case workers to be able to use resources to actually HELP recover arrears and provide for their children’s needs.

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