Suicide: CSA strikes again

I was browsing on Facebook earlier and saw a post by one of the groups I follow, which had posted a link to an article on The Guardian’s website.

A father hanged killed himself after being asked for £11,000 in child support. 

I. Sandywell, 45, hanged himself after receiving numerous letters from the Child Support Agency (CSA) demanding him to pay £11,000 (£520 a month) in backdated payments for his 22 year-old son. 

The victim’s wife, J Balsamo, told the inquest that she had received a telephone call from her husband on the day of his death, sobbing over his fears of not being able to support her and pay their mortgage. The couple agreed to discuss the matters later that evening, however, upon arriving home, Balsamo found Sandywell’s body. 
She also told the inquest of the 2-year battle Sandywell was in with his ex-wife following their divorce in 2001. 
Balsamo also said that it was hard for absent parents and that the CSA do not take people’s lives into account. 

The inquest also heard that CSA had still been sending letters to Balsamo demanding the money owed to be paid from Sandywell’s estate. They even sent an email saying; “Sorry for your loss, please accept this letter as a claim on I’s estate for the outstanding amount of £9,000.” 

So basically because Sandywell’s ex-wife went through CSA for maintenance payments and someone made an arse of working out the original amount Sandywell was required to pay, he ended up not being able to cope and thought death was the only answer. This is a disgrace.
Sandywell isn’t the first suicide case caused by CSA and I’m sure he won’t be the last. How many more suicides have to be committed before the CSA procedures change or are abolished altogether?

In my opinion, there shouldn’t be a government agency arranging maintenance payments between parents. If the parent’s are mature enough to conceive the child, then surely they are mature enough to amicably arrange payments of financial support for said child?
Obviously I know that people aren’t mature enough to arrange this themselves, but surely CSA should suggest a mediation option before getting involved and arranging the amount to be paid by the absent parent?
It would be a lot easier if CSA took living expenses into account but they don’t, they work out the amount to be paid before tax is deducted. For example; A earns £20,000 a year, CSA would then work out a figure based on this then take that figure from the paying parent after their tax has been paid. This means that after CSA, tax and National Insurance (NI) has been deducted, A would have £1123.93 a month to pay all their bills, rent, travel expenses etc.

And what rubs salt into the wounds even more is the fact that if the mother/parent who the children live with, claims benefits they will still receive their full benefits plus their CSA payments, this is because the tax on the CSA has already been paid by the paying parent.
So the parent the children live with, if they do claim full benefits, would have a greater income than the parent who is working full-time. Where is the justice in that?
Surely if a parent receives full benefits and claim CSA, they should have their benefits reduced by the amount they receive in CSA?
And it is utter bollocks that CSA claim the payments are to “help keep a roof over the children’s heads” because if full benefits are being claimed then the receiving parent will have no or a very small amount of rent to pay.

It is a complete and utter disgrace and it also goes to show how it is easier to pop out kids and screw the father out of money rather than getting a job to support your children. The whole system is bullshit!


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