The Truth About Child Support and the £6.5bn British Government Blunder

kids money dollar bills tossed by  Carissa Rogers, (CC BY 2.0)

kids money dollar bills tossed by
Carissa Rogers, (CC BY 2.0)

I have lived as a single parent for some time so know how it is on the financial front. There was a short period when I took a break from working in catering to obtain my Accounting Diploma and had to go on benefits. Now, I am very disciplined with my finances so whatever I got from the state, I budgeted with it and we made do because I knew I wasn’t going to be in that situation for long. We didn’t have much left over to afford wants but it was enough for our needs.

Now, the question of getting fathers to pay Child Support, I am all for it and if I had known back then that there was such a thing as CSA (Child Support Agency), I would not have refused the help.

But I found something out that makes no sense at all and it made my blood boil to the core. According to a 2012 article by The Daily Mail, “the state child maintenance system, including the CSA, costs taxpayers around £500 million a year, on top of the £6 billion cost of state benefits for single parent families”. I do not have a problem with this at all. Our kids are our future and we should do what we can to bring them up with what they need as a nation. Single parents have the toughest job to do.

Also I ask that as you read this, do not have a one-dimensional image of single parents as being unemployed or unable to work as there are many who can and many who do. I was one of them.

WHAT TAKES THE TOTAL P*** IS….

The amount of benefit entitlement for most benefits in the UK are means tested and calculated from the current household income. How this gets totally twisted, is benefits claimed for by a single parent, will not take into account the amount of child support single parents receive from the other non-resident parents (nidirect.gov.uk). The amount is totally disregarded. What is the point of these fathers/mother paying these supportive payments if the state simply treats them as evaporated steam, as if they’ve vanished into thin air. Every debit has to have a credit. If my employer’s account is debited with my wages, my account will be credited with the same. In a way the government is saying we have no problem matching exactly what your ex-partner is giving you with more on top, because we can afford it. I thought we had a deficit to deal with here, or am I wrong.

Why not cut the state benefit by the amount of Child Support being received? The point is to take the responsibility off the state and tax payer to the actual parents, isn’t it?

AND IT GETS EVEN WORSE

Suppose these ‘non-resident’ parents now have new families (which most of them do as people do move on) and they need a bit of help from the state. They apply for benefits and the amount that leaves their household as child support (for children they’ve had from a previous relationship), is  not deducted from the total household income to work out their entitlement amount. So basically, not only are they doing the right thing and supporting their children, but they are being punished for doing this by the “fair democracy of the British Government and HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, UK equivalent of the IRS in the US)”. So this household suffers as a consequence of their book being debited and then on the other side, the other household benefits with a credit to their books but the government helps them to conceal this entry. What happened to treating people fairly? A pure and square example of a ‘democracy’.

ps. please don’t be offended by the issues I’ve raised. It’s nothing personal, sometimes we have all our eyes and attention on the younger sibling, and we fail to realise that the first child is being left out and treated unfairly. I think very logically and so if we are talking about fairness, let’s do ‘fair’ correctly.

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