Child maintenance reform starts to affect existing cases

11 September 2014

Under sweeping reforms of the child maintenance system, as many as 50,000 children may be newly eligible for maintenance, the government has estimated, as a 3-year process of closing all existing Child Support Agency (CSA) cases gets under way. A new advertising campaign to raise awareness has been launched.

An announcement from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) confirms that the CSA has already stopped taking on new cases, with newly-separated parents encouraged to make their own family-based arrangements or use the new Child Maintenance Service instead.

Now, in the next phase of the changes, the agency is beginning the process of closing its 800,000-strong historic caseload.

Initially, the DWP is writing to around 150,000 parents with details of when their case is due to close and advice about the next steps they should take. Although there is no need for anyone to act until they receive a letter, once parents receive notification of their closure date they are urged to consider their options.

It is unclear at this stage precisely what impact these changes will have on the volume of deduction orders which employers will need to make.