The UK Rules
'Follow the Regulations'
Child Support Agency (CSA)

How the Child Support Agency Works

What is the UK Child Support Agency (CSA) and is it still working? It was first launched in 1993 as part of the Department for Work and Pensions.

CHILD SUPPORT AGENCY: The CSA implemented the Child Support Act 1991 and the legislation that followed it.

The Child Maintenance Service is now its successor and replaced the CSA in 2012.

The Child Support Agency does not handle new cases any longer. But they will still help with any open cases started before November 2013.

Note: You should raise all new cases about child maintenance with the Child Maintenance Service.

This section explains how the Child Support Agency works out rates for maintenance. You can also find information on the 4 different CSA rates that they use.

Several factors influence the way the Child Support Agency work out payments, including:

Definitions: The 'receiving parent' is the parent with main day-to-day care of the child. The 'paying parent' is the parent without the day-to-day care of the child.

How Does CSA Work Out Net Income?

If you are the paying parent, the CSA need information about your income amount. As a rule, they get it from your employer or from HM Revenue and Customs. Gross income of the paying parent includes:

Net income is the figure that gets left when the following get deducted from the amount:

What if the Paying Parent Pays for other Children?

In some cases the paying parent pays child maintenance to several receiving parents. When that happens the CSA will:

The Child Support Agency produce an online leaflet which explains how child maintenance is worked out.

How is CSA Worked Out?

As a rule the Child Support Agency uses four rates of child maintenance. They work out a weekly amount based on the paying parent's income. These rates used by the Child Support Agency apply to cases opened after March 2003.

CSA Nil Rate

The nil rate used by the CSA means the paying parent is not required to pay child maintenance because:

CSA Flat Rate

CSA flat rate is currently £7 per week. The rate does not change even if there is more than one child involved.

The CSA use the flat rate when the paying parent's income is £7 to £100 a week (if they do not qualify for the nil rate). CSA flat rates also apply for those getting certain benefits, including:

In cases where the paying parent lives with a partner, the CSA flat rate gets used if the partner receives:

CSA Reduced Rate

The CSA use the reduced rate if the net weekly income is over £100 and less than £200 for the paying parent. In this case, the parent would pay the £7 flat rate plus a percentage of their net weekly income.

CSA Basic Rate

The CSA basic rate gets calculated as a percentage of the paying parent's net income. Basic rates apply when the parent has a net weekly income of £200 or more. The percentage amount depends on:

How Does Child Support Agency Work: CSA Rates in the United Kingdom