Statement from the Department of Work and Pensions:
Fees and charges for the Child Maintenance Service
Fees and charges are being introduced from today (30 June 2014) for use of the Child Maintenance Service.
A letter is being issued to all Child Maintenance Service clients giving them 6 weeks’ notice that they will be charged if the Child Maintenance Service collects and pays out child maintenance on their behalf.
We have already written to a selection of Child Maintenance Service clients to encourage them to consider making a family-based arrangement or Direct Pay arrangement so they can avoid paying fees.
From 30 June, an application to the Child Maintenance Service will cost £20 for most applicants when the application is processed and a child maintenance calculation is performed.
For parents who apply to the Child Maintenance Service and can arrange payment directly between themselves there are no further fees to pay. This is called “Direct Pay”. This service offers the reassurance to clients of knowing that if payments aren’t made the Child Maintenance Service can step in and make sure any missed payments are collected.
Parents who can’t use Direct Pay can use the Collect and Pay service, where the Child Maintenance Service will collect child maintenance from the paying parent and give it to the receiving parent. The fees for this service will be 20% for paying parents and 4% for receiving parents.
Ending Child Support Agency (CSA) child maintenance arrangements
From today, we have also has started sending letters to CSA clients about ending their current child maintenance arrangements. All affected parents will be contacted between now and 2017 to give them notice that their arrangement will end. Most clients will get 6 months’ notice and will be offered support from Child Maintenance Options to put a new arrangement in place.
When their CSA arrangements end, parents have the option to:
Make a family-based arrangement – where they arrange between themselves what to pay and when.
Make an application to the Child Maintenance Service.
As long as clients’ cases are managed by the CSA they will not be charged for using the service.
Find out more about child maintenance arrangements at www.cmoptions.org