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CSA/Centrelink ... Stress!

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  • CSA/Centrelink ... Stress!

    I hope this is being posted in the right area.

    I've got a question or opinions please...

    I'm not receiving child maintenance, and I was urged to register (again) with CSA and make the father pay. At the moment I'm getting base payment (don't understand that, don't get maintenance, be paid less?? lol), but if I get maintenance it could go up by 150 a fortnight, but more likely I'll only receive an extra 50 from centrelink. If I have also worked it out correctly, I will probably only receive an extra 20 if Im lucky from the father.

    I had a call today from CSA saying that there has been no replies to the letter and the phone has been disconnected.
    What happened last time was that he told CSA he didn't think he was the father, and wanted a DNA test. About a month after that I received a letter from his solicitors stating he wanted access to his child... confused? I was.

    That was sorted, but after all that stress, when he told me he didn't want to pay and only really wanted to see DD when he wasn't doing anything... , I said fine, you stay the hell away from me.... Haven't heard from him since.

    Now the problem is, does anyone know if legally I have to chase this donkey?
    I have no money problems, I have budgetted what I am getting and still saving money, so if I was getting anymore I'd be at a lost as where to put it?

    Another problem is if I chase it up, it's going to cost me money I won't be able to spare, and a lot of emotional damage and stress I will not be able to get rid of..

    I guess the question really is, is $50 extra a fortnight worth stress, anxiety, aggravation etc?

    By the way, if the father did come back into DD's life, it would be very obligated visitation which he has told me in the past...

    Ok, enough rambling, any extra minds to help work on this riddle!? lol

  • #2
    Okay as you probably have read in my previous posts - I'm not in your position, so if I'm wrong - sorry and I'm happy for others to correct me.

    First - I don't get why you'd only get base payment if you aren't getting any maintenance - okay - there's a reason for a rant.

    Second - I thought if you'd made a good effort to get the father to pay then that was good enough for Centrelink to register you for the single pension. It sounds like you've made a good attempt, but your dd's father isn't being a man about it. Is his name on the birth certificate - I thought if his name was on the birth certificate then that was good enough for CSA/Centrelink to have him bound to pay (at least the minimum) unless there was some dispute and even then he'd be liable until a DNA test was registered to prove otherwise. A visit to Legal Aid might be the best way to go here if you do need to get paternity sorted for money.

    This is based on my experience as my husband's ex has been claiming the single parent pension since my DSD was 2months old. At the time they were still together and he wasn't paying maintenance (there is another child who came along 2years later - which may not be his, but that's a story for another time). The fact is that he wasn't paying maintenance, but she must have claimed she had attempted to get it as he found out when he did start paying maintenance (3years later) the dates on the paperwork didn't add up.

    Lastly - regarding access, it sounds like your ex doesn't deserve to have contact with his daughter as it sounds like he's playing a few games, however, having said that, she will probably want to know about him herself in a few years time. In that case it would be useful for you to know where he is and what he's up to, however, if not easily possible (sounds like it isn't in your case) at least you've made your effort and it's really up to him. The problem is that he may well instigate some contact in the future and my best advice to you is allow it to happen with as little antagonism as possible, as if he's the sort of guy he sounds like, then he will dig his own grave as far as your daughter is concerned, if he's changed, although it might hurt you, it might be good for her to have some sort of relationship with him. I hope I haven't gone on too much, but true colours will always shine through and better for you not to really think about it at the moment and to enjoy everyday with you little girl, while he's missing out.

    Good luck


    • #3
      I'm assuming you are only getting the base rate of Family Tax Benefit? Is that what you mean? If thats so - you probably are only getting base rate because maintenance action hasn't been fully organised with CSA and the father.

      My advice? Call Centrelink and ask to speak to a social worker via a call centre (or you can get an appointment booked with a social worker at your local Centrelink office). Social workers have the authority to grant certain exemptions from taking maintenance action - and if you get granted an exemption from taking maintenance action you may be entitled to more than the base rate of Family Tax Benefit.

      Social workers at Centrelink are really helpful and nice - easy to talk to and are there to listen to your own unique circumstances, so I'd recommend talking to one. And they aren't just there to listen to your problems - they also have certain authorities to actually HELP you, which is very handy!

      Also - I'm not sure of your employment circumstances or anything but you could be eligible for Parenting Payment Single if your income is fairly low. That could help out a WHOLE lot. Oh, and if you DO receive Parenting Payment Single you may be eligible for the maximum rate of Family Tax Benefit - so that also comes in handy!

      Hope this helps - it seems like you need some sort of closure to this issue and if its not going to happen with the father, you could find some joy after talking to a social worker.


      • #4
        lol Pegasus, I did my ranting and raving to the social worker when she told me, I asked "how the hell is that fair????" ...of course nobody knows why it's like that, it just seems to be a rule.

        I seem to be getting the run around really. I've gone from centrelink, to social worker, who sent me to legal aid, who sent me to CSA and now I've been told to talk to legal aid again and get advice from a social worker?

        Apparently, it isn't good enough to find out the father refused to sign the stat. dec. for parentage, and also didn't want to sign the Birth Certificate (Which is still why I don't understand that solicitors thing! lmao)...

        There are some really stupid boys out there.

        I will see if I get a chance to have a chat with a Social worker tomorrow. Legal Aid told me to call them back if the CSA wasn't getting anywhere, but they won't be able to help since he's disappeared.

        Oh and I will tell DD all about her father, not matter what a scum bag he is (It could be a good lesson for her hehe), I've got one photo of the first and only time he has ever held his daughter, so at least she will know what he looks like.

        And nayfie, yeah it is the family tax benefit thingy... receiving both, including pension, it's more then enough, so this hassle really wouldn't be worth it!


        • #5
          I know what you are on about, my gf went through get more money if you chase up maintence than if you do nothing. Must be an incentive to make fathers pay, who knows.
          In the end she decided she did not want the father to have anything to do with her child and decided it wasn't worth the extra $.

          off topic..
          lol sorry just saw this new gross is that?


          • #6
            lol I love that emoticon...

            I think that is the dilemma I'm facing, I don't think it's worth it.

            Do you know if any your gf payments were affected by her choice? I'm worried centrelink will continue to give me hard rogerings if I chose that option lol


            • #7
              Originally posted by pegasus

              First - I don't get why you'd only get base payment if you aren't getting any maintenance - okay - there's a reason for a rant.
              Centrelink will not pay more than base payment if you have not taken "reasonable" actions to receiving child support from your ex. The CSA can collect money from you ex on your behalf, if he refuses to pay it can be taken directly out of his pay, even if he is on the dole money will be taken out of that. I would contact the CSA, you might end up getting more money than you think


              • #8
                The thing was that I thought Erin had shown reasonable signs that she had tried to get maintenance from her ex. I realise that it's to have an incentive to get the dad's to pay so that there's less strain on the government payments.

                The problem that I've seen on here is that CSA don't take the option of getting the money off the exes in many of the cases very seriously.

                My husband pays maintenance for two children and as I've said - there are obviously ways to rort the system where my husband's ex was receiving the whole pension when she wasn't single and had claimed she was receiving maintenance (or had made reasonable attempts to get it) when she hadn't and he didn't even know about it. This is what I don't get - the people who know how to rort it - can do so to the tune of a fair amount of money, and the people who are honest miss out.

                That's why I say good luck to you Erin.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by MumForOne
                  Do you know if any your gf payments were affected by her choice? I'm worried centrelink will continue to give me hard rogerings if I chose that option lol
                  No she has had no more problems, she just doesn't get the extra amount, she went back to work instead.


                  • #10
                    Well centrelink knows exactly how much im recieving in child support as the CSA gives them that info, they also know exactly how much my ex earns as what he pays goes off how much hes earnt on his notice of assesment


                    • #11
                      Here's a question, What does 'Reasonable' mean to *ahem* the government????

                      I've tried once before, he refused to sign, and disappeared. Didn't realise how much when the worker at CSA told me there's been no replies to the letter and his phone has been disconnected.

                      My guess is, a 'reasonable' attempt for them is to go through every single process, until he either pays, or they find out he's be buried or something?

                      Meh, told them to wait until the deadline he has, I'll then contact them back and say "Bugger Off!" lol


                      • #12
                        re: the replies since my last post.

                        if you think you HAVE made "reasonable" action for maintenance and still havent got any action, this is why you should then tell a Centrelink social worker that you want to know more about how you could go about getting an exemption from maintenance action. If the exemption is granted, then you should be able to get more than the base rate of Family Tax Benefit.

                        The reason that Centrelink demands you must take "reasonable action" is because there are quite a lot of people out there who cannot be bothered taking any action whatsoever and would rather just put in on the taxpayer to pay them money each fortnight. So Centrelink has put in place this "rule" so that it encourages people to take maintenance action first before the government starts handing out money.

                        I am DEFINATLEY not saying this is the case in this situation, I don't think that at all, but there seems to be a lot of questions in this thread asking "why do Centrelink have this rule in place?" so I'm answering it for those that ask that question.

                        It seems unfair that you feel you are getting the "run around" from all these organisations, but maybe you should be more angry at the people that ruin it for everyone else by relying on government payments instead of taking it upon themselves to take action in the first place.

                        It definately sucks that your ex-partner is being crap about this whole thing, but as someone else mentioned, if CSA collects on your behalf they DO have the authority to take it straight out of his pay/dole/assets/tax returns etc.

                        All I can suggest is to speak to the social worker SPECIFICALLY about getting an exemption and see what happens with that.

                        If you don't want to do that, or don't think its worth the effort "just for a few extra dollars" then just wait and see what CSA can do for you re: collecting $$ from him. Or just say "stuff it!", rebudget your current income and deal with it

                        Whatever you think you can be bothered doing I guess. But in any case, I hope it all works out well for you!


                        • #13
                          Completely off topic, but I do blame the certain people out there who have made people on centrelink payments seem like lazy no hoping tax cheats.
                          I hate it, and I guess no matter what you tell some people they will never change their mind ... even for the single parenting payment, there's always this 'black cloud' that looms.

                          The big reason I can't do any legal movements is because the money I do have that could be spent on it, is also the money I've saved for setting up a home, and buying essentials whilst still being able to support DD incase I've forgotten to budget in something. I've got more savings there so when the time is right I can at least jump straight into studying.
                          Geeze, I even have goals for my own business! lol I don't have time for any of this lol

                          This has so come in handy ... X 10,000!


                          • #14
                            If you do re register with the CSA THAT is the "reasonable action" as far as I know (I used to work at C'link). DO ring the social worker there and explain the situation - he/she can advocate for you.
                            The base rate of FTB a is pretty low - I think it is definitley worth getting back onto the rate you are entitled to, and see about getting it backpaid too. It's all about entitlement, and you are entitled as you HAVE taken reasonable action - again this is where the social worker can help you out.
                            It's probably that someone at C'link doesn't understand how to actually input this info onto your record (it is very complicated), which sucks because you are bearing the brunt of it.



                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Lucybelle
                              If you do re register with the CSA THAT is the "reasonable action" as far as I know (I used to work at C'link).
                              This is what I thought - as it's how I thought my husband's ex got her rate when he hadn't even been approached for maintenance, let alone paying it.