Coping with problems in paying child maintenance

With many people affected by reductions or complete loss of income during the Coronavirus shutdown, it may not be possible to make child maintenance payments.  Even applying for Universal Credit to replace this income is difficult due to the c current massive pressure on the Department of Work and Pensions.

Families Need Fathers (FNF) have issued a very useful briefing on this topic: COVID-19 – Universal Credit and Child Maintenance concerns

As well as outlining the current issues, it mentions that there have been a number of recent changes to the Child Maintenance System (CMS).

There is a temporary reduction in time period for considering change
in maintenance liability if your income changes from 12 weeks to 2 weeks.  And in the short term the CMS will accept verbal evidence of changes of income.   CMS will prioritise cases where parents have lost their jobs over those experiencing income reductions.

FNF is calling for further changes,  including changing the income reduction for re-assessment from 25% to 10%. Many people will have experienced reductions of income of 20%, but will still be expected to pay the same rate of maintenance.  Regardless of Covid-19, this threshold is causing financial hardship to many low-income, paying parents.

If you are struggling with Child Maintenance because of the issues above and are willing for us to use it for anonymised case studies please send details of your situation to Families Need Fathers at admin@fnf.org.uk with ‘Covid-19 Child Maintenance Problems’ in the subject line.

They also suggest that parents should write to their MP and ask them to consult with the Minister, Baroness Stedman-Scott. You can find your MP’s details on the parliamentary website at https://members.parliament.uk/FindYourMP

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