Scrap the Child Maintenance Service’s Collect and Pay fees

Gingerbread is calling on the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to scrap the fees that single parent families have to pay to use the Child Maintenance Service’s (CMS) Collect and Pay service.

Parents use the CMS’ Collect and Pay service when they can’t agree child maintenance payments between them. The CMS will work out how much child maintenance should be paid from the paying parent to the receiving parent. It can also arrange for the money to be paid to the receiving parent and their children as part of their Collect and Pay service for a fee.

However, it is clear that Collect and Pay neither collects or pays the child maintenance owed to many single parent families.

Why we are campaigning on this issue

1. Collect and Pay is unfair. The CMS charges a 4% fee to receiving parents which is deducted from the money for their child. This means that these fees are shouldered by the children.

“…it’s just unbelievable that the child would have to pay 4% out of their money when they’ve never done anything wrong.”

– Gingerbread parent

2. Collect and Pay is not delivering. The CMS allows paying parents to build up huge arrears which means receiving parents and their children are forced to go without in order to make ends meet.

Since the formation of the Child Maintenance Service in 2012, there has been over £408 million in unpaid child maintenance owed through Collect and Pay.

60% of all children in single parent families who are living in poverty and not receiving maintenance would be lifted out of poverty if they received the child maintenance they are entitled to.

3. Collect and Pay is not working. The CMS charges receiving parents a £20 application fee for a service that cannot guarantee to collect the money their children are entitled to.

4. Collect and Pay is unethical. The failure of the CMS to collect money consistently allows the continuation of economic abuse and control in abusive relationships as child maintenance is given at the discretion of the paying parent.

“The balance of power is completely wrong. I have to basically keep him sweet so that he contributes.”

– Gingerbread parent

We believe single parent families should not have to pay for a service that is broken and fees for the Collect and Pay service need to be scrapped.

How you can support our campaign to scrap Collect and Pay fees

Write to your MP about this issue and ask them to take action to #ScrapCollectAndPayFees now.

• Post your support on social media with the hashtags #ScrapCollectAndPayFees and #FixTheCMS

• Tag your MP in a tweet and call for them to stand up for single parents

• Share the campaign with your friends and family

Donate to Gingerbread to support our campaigning work

Write to your MP

Another way to share your CMS experiences

The National Audit Office (NAO) has launched a study to find out if the CMS is delivering value for money for children, separated parents and the taxpayer.

If you have used the CMS and would be happy to share what experience has been (positive or negative) with the NAO, you are invited to take part in their online consultation. Closing date: 30th July 2021.

Complete the survey

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