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Child Support- info required!


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#1 bryce's-mummy

Posted 27 February 2013 - 04:34 PM

I have recently gone onto a parenting payment (single) and Centrelink told me that I only had 28 days to apply for child support from my ex. I called up the child support office today and I had a lady explain to me to NOT to apply until 13 weeks had almost passed. She said that as soon as I apply then CL will cut my rate of FTB and parenting payment (which I did know about). So she said that I am better off to get maximum entitlements and that this was the way to go about it. I am not sure why CL told me 28 days??? They did send me a letter today though which does stipulate a date that I need to apply for child support by- and this is around the 13 week mark.

Does this sound right? What should I do?
Also, if I do take this advice and NOT apply until just before the 13 weeks are over, will my ex need to back-pay child support from the day we separated?
Or, am I better off receiving whatever I get from centrelink with child support (like when you work they deduct money off you but you always end up that little bit better off)?

Confused now!



#2 Guest_Sunnycat_*

Posted 27 February 2013 - 06:26 PM

No idea, but am bumping this up for you.

#3 bryce's-mummy

Posted 27 February 2013 - 06:29 PM

thanks I have also placed this in the one parent families section. I am hoping that someone knows about this!!

#4 ~Elphaba~

Posted 27 February 2013 - 06:30 PM

It won't be backdated. The rest I can't help with.

#5 jossy

Posted 27 February 2013 - 06:51 PM

You've been given a lot of incorrect information!

You do have 13 weeks to get child support sorted.  After that your FTB A will reduce to base rate only and you lose rent assistance as well (not sure if you are applying or are entitled to this) if it hasn't been sorted.  It can take some time to get organised so I would be starting the process now.

It is incorrect that your Parenting Payment Single will be reduce by any maintenance received.  It impacts on your FTB A and Rent Assistance (if applicable).  At the end of the day you will be better off in terms of the total amount per fortnight you are entitled to via both agencies.

I'm actually a little shocked that CSA told you to put off applying.  That is terrible advice.  You are entitled to receive maintenance and your ex-partner is obligated to pay it.  It sounds like the operator couldn't be bothered to be honest because if anything it will disadvantage you depending on the amount of maintenance you are entitled do.  

Get it started now.  I'm ex-Centrelink staff and the number of customers who had their FTB reduced because CSA hadn't gotten their act together was relatively high.  All of the above comments are of course assuming your ex will pay what he's supposed to on time.

#6 hiddensecrets

Posted 27 February 2013 - 07:01 PM

If your centrelink gets cut but he doesnt pay you can also go onto what they call dispersement method.  It is where you get FTB as if you do not get child support.  Yes, if he pays you will get a debt but it is never more than what you have gotten in child support.  I am on this method as my ex never pays.  I would get child support started asap if I were you.

#7 bryce's-mummy

Posted 27 February 2013 - 09:10 PM

QUOTE (jossy @ 27/02/2013, 07:51 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It is incorrect that your Parenting Payment Single will be reduce by any maintenance received.  It impacts on your FTB A and Rent Assistance (if applicable).  At the end of the day you will be better off in terms of the total amount per fortnight you are entitled to via both agencies....

I'm actually a little shocked that CSA told you to put off applying.  That is terrible advice.  You are entitled to receive maintenance and your ex-partner is obligated to pay it.  It sounds like the operator couldn't be bothered to be honest because if anything it will disadvantage you depending on the amount of maintenance you are entitled do.


I was under the impression by what CL told me that my parenting payment single is based on income earned and that ex-DH paying CS is then classified as income- hence payments dropping.

I am upset that they gave me incorrect info. I have a receipt number. I am going to put in a complaint- most definately. Tomorrow in fact.

#8 hiddensecrets

Posted 27 February 2013 - 10:36 PM

QUOTE (bryce's-mummy @ 27/02/2013, 07:10 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I was under the impression by what CL told me that my parenting payment single is based on income earned and that ex-DH paying CS is then classified as income- hence payments dropping.

I am upset that they gave me incorrect info. I have a receipt number. I am going to put in a complaint- most definately. Tomorrow in fact.

Do you want me to ask my sister if her single parenting payments are different based on child support or just her FTB?  I am happy to do that for you.....

#9 nasty roses

Posted 27 February 2013 - 10:47 PM

No advice, but sorry to hear that your marriage has broken up.

I've followed you on EB and have some knowledge of what you've been through - I hope this is a fresh start for you all and that your separation allows you the breathing space you so badly need.



#10 jossy

Posted 27 February 2013 - 10:56 PM

QUOTE (bryce's-mummy @ 27/02/2013, 10:10 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I was under the impression by what CL told me that my parenting payment single is based on income earned and that ex-DH paying CS is then classified as income- hence payments dropping.

I am upset that they gave me incorrect info. I have a receipt number. I am going to put in a complaint- most definately. Tomorrow in fact.


No it is 100% not treated as income for Parenting Payment Single.  1000%!  It will only impact your FTB A and rent assistance.  Here's the relevant quote from the Guide to the Social Security Act:

Child maintenance
Maintenance received from a former partner to support a child of the former relationship and paid to a custodial parent or grandparents or other person to whom the court has appointed custody of the child is NOT assessed as ordinary income under the income test for income support purposes. It is, however, taken into account under the maintenance income test for 'more than the base rate' of FTB Part A.

I took this from here.

It's been a few years since I left and things have gone downhill even more unfortunately.  I do encourage you to complain because the operator will then get feedback.  We had some issues last year due to shared care being assessed incorrectly and I was fed the biggest load of crap I was actually speechless.  BUT if I hadn't of worked there and had a really good understanding of what I was asking about I wouldn't have known I was being told incorrect facts which is worrying.  I had to direct them where to look and they still stuffed that up.  So I complained and I complain every single time.  When an operator can't get basic facts right they need the feedback and child support not impacting on Parenting Payment is a very basic fact that they should know.  Rant over!

I hope you sort it out and rather than ring again I'd lodge the complaint online.  Much easier!  Here's the link: complaints

#11 Lori-SBB

Posted 27 February 2013 - 11:01 PM

First rule of dealing with Centrelink; Every time you call the operator will tell you something different.  Make sure you write down dates you have spoken to them and the name of the person that tells you things so you have something to back you up when they try and tell you you did the wrong thing later...

But to actually answer your question, parenting payment shouldn't be affected by child support, your FTB will be, but the parenting payment shouldn't.  Mine never was and my ex always paid up on time.

You may also lose rent assistance if you were planning on applying for that and the amount he pays is considered too high.  



#12 hidingaway

Posted 27 February 2013 - 11:20 PM

I agree with everything Jossy said.
The only income that will affect your PPS, is *YOUR* taxable income. Child support does not form part of your taxable income (your ex will have already paid taxes on it).

Child support will only affect FTB-A. At the end of financial year, the child support I got from my ex increased, I can't remember by how much, I think it was $20 per fortnight, because that increased, my FTB-A rate decreased, by about half (so about $10), so I'm $10 better off per fortnight.

Definitely apply for child support sooner rather than later, you will be financially better off.

#13 Spa Gonk

Posted 27 February 2013 - 11:41 PM

I am another who thinks you got given dodgy information.  Centrelink gives you a period of time to claim maintenance before it affects your payment.  This is because for some people separating is really traumatic and they can be just unable to organise maintenance in the early days, particularly if they have police matters to attend to, unstable housing etc.

Also, for some people their circumstances are more complicated.  There may be violence, reservations about claiming or difficulties with their ex partner, which makes decisions what to do about maintenance even more complicated.  Or sometimes the process takes a while and you may find you need to provide some information to CSA or get some paperwork in that you might find takes a bit of time.  What if you wait for 13 weeks and then need to apply a child birth certificate or something that takes a few weeks to get?

So basically the time frames are there to give people a bit of leeway and adequate time to complete the process, not to get a financial advantage for a few weeks.

I also agree with Jossy about child support only affecting CSA.  I don't know a lot about the payment side.  However, I do think if you are 'losing' payments, you will be better off financially.  There is an income free area for maintenance, so basically the first amount of maintenance you receive ( for example $100 but I know this is not right) does not affect your payment.  And then anything over the stipulated amount reduces your payment by a certain amount, but not for a dollar.  So say it reduces by 50% and you get $200 maintenance a fortnight.  Then your payment would be reduced by $50, yet you get an extra $200 from child support and are actually $150 ahead.

Sorry I don't know exact figures, and this time of night when I am feeding the baby I don't have a chance to look them up!  I figure you get the idea.  Definitely complain.  Their job is to help you to collect maintenance.  And I imagine you need to know your regular income from Centrelink and child support as soon as possible for budgeting purposes.

#14 bryce's-mummy

Posted 28 February 2013 - 12:39 PM

QUOTE (jossy @ 27/02/2013, 11:56 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
No it is 100% not treated as income for Parenting Payment Single.  1000%!  It will only impact your FTB A and rent assistance.  Here's the relevant quote from the Guide to the Social Security Act:

Child maintenance
Maintenance received from a former partner to support a child of the former relationship and paid to a custodial parent or grandparents or other person to whom the court has appointed custody of the child is NOT assessed as ordinary income under the income test for income support purposes. It is, however, taken into account under the maintenance income test for 'more than the base rate' of FTB Part A.

I took this from here.

It's been a few years since I left and things have gone downhill even more unfortunately.  I do encourage you to complain because the operator will then get feedback.  We had some issues last year due to shared care being assessed incorrectly and I was fed the biggest load of crap I was actually speechless.  BUT if I hadn't of worked there and had a really good understanding of what I was asking about I wouldn't have known I was being told incorrect facts which is worrying.  I had to direct them where to look and they still stuffed that up.  So I complained and I complain every single time.  When an operator can't get basic facts right they need the feedback and child support not impacting on Parenting Payment is a very basic fact that they should know.  Rant over!

I hope you sort it out and rather than ring again I'd lodge the complaint online.  Much easier!  Here's the link: complaints


Thank you for that info. It was CL that told me maintenance would affect my PPS- not CSA.
But I called today and spoke to a superviser- I asked her to listen to yesterdays call. She got quite defensive saying that they work "case by case" and I may have misinterpreted what was said etc. No way did I misinterpret anything!! I was so angry. Just listen to the damn call!!

QUOTE (Lori-SBB @ 28/02/2013, 12:01 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
First rule of dealing with Centrelink; Every time you call the operator will tell you something different.  Make sure you write down dates you have spoken to them and the name of the person that tells you things so you have something to back you up when they try and tell you you did the wrong thing later...

But to actually answer your question, parenting payment shouldn't be affected by child support, your FTB will be, but the parenting payment shouldn't.  Mine never was and my ex always paid up on time.

You may also lose rent assistance if you were planning on applying for that and the amount he pays is considered too high.


I am getting rent assistance (and have been for many many years). I am getting the highest amount at the moment ($141 p/f). I worked out that ex-DH will probably have to pay $70 per week but it could be as little as $50. Not sure how that will affect CL payments though.

#15 jossy

Posted 28 February 2013 - 05:48 PM

Yes I know it was CL that gave you the wrong info - I would have been even more up in arms if CSA even mentioned it!  lol......  Not every call is recorded or assessed by a supervisor.  You really are better off putting your complaint in writing via the link in my previous post or by email.  Complaints, believe it or not, are actually taken very seriously and you will get a call to discuss it.  I would also include details of you conversation with the crappy supervisor today.

Check the online calculator to see what impact maintenance will have on your payments.  It's not 100% accurate but is pretty good.  Here's the link: Rate Estimator

I hope you got a chance to call CSA today and got the ball rolling.  The sooner the better!





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