Dad's CSA payment nightmare
IPSWICH: Lorry driver Tony Harvey has been driven to despair after receiving a CSA demand for more than �30,000 - to pay for his children who are now in their mid-20s!Mr Harvey, 45, who lives off Bramford Road, thought it was a joke when the demand from the CSA arrived at his home earlier this week.
IPSWICH: Lorry driver Tony Harvey has been driven to despair after receiving a CSA demand for more than �30,000 - to pay for his children who are now in their mid-20s!
Mr Harvey, 45, who lives off Bramford Road, thought it was a joke when the demand from the CSA arrived at his home earlier this week.
He said: “My son Michael is 25 and my daughter is 26 - she's now married with children of her own! I rang up the number on the letter thinking it was a joke but they said it was serious.”
Mr Harvey split up from his first wife 14 years ago when Michael was 11. Michael lived with his father from that point, and still lives with him and his second wife Rebecca.
Mr Harvey first tangled with the CSA in early 1997 when he was told he would have to pay �110 a week.
He said: “At that time I was only earning �200 a week and with one thing and another I would have been left with only �75 a week - and having to pay �82 a week rent and keeping my son and partner. It was impossible.
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“I was told by the CSA to give up my job and go on benefits, which I did but when I went down to the benefit office in Silent Street they made a few phone calls and told me it was all sorted out so I went back to work.
“Apart from that I've never been out of work - and I heard nothing more from the CSA until this week so I had no idea there was any problem.”
He found the tone of the letter very intimidating. He added: “They say I have to make the payment urgently, within seven days of the date of the letter by credit or debit card.
“But I don't know of anyone who can just pay �30,590.75 just like that. It's more or less what my wife and I earn between us over a year - it's a ridiculous sum to demand.”
He did not know how the sum had been calculated - his daughter had lived with her mother for about three and a half years after the split but moved in with him when she was 16 for about 11 months before returning to her mother.
A spokeswoman for the CSA said: "We cannot comment on individual cases. We would urge parents who receive correspondence from the Child Support Agency to contact us as soon as possible to discuss their case.
"The Agency takes the recovery of outstanding maintenance extremely seriously. We are not permitted to write off arrears, and are determined to recover as much unpaid maintenance as our powers will allow.”
IPSWICH: MP Chris Mole has taken up Mr Harvey's case - and said many of his constituency casework was issues with the CSA.
He said: “At least he hasn't been sent a court order yet - that's the position when people often get in touch with me.”
Mr Mole said there often had been communications problems in dealings with the CSA - people had received letters but had not realised their importance.
“The thing is when letters like this arrive people have to take them seriously straight away to avoid problems at a later point. In this case I shall be speaking to Mr Harvey and seeing what can be done in his situation.”
There are special lines of communications for MPs to officials at the CSA, and Mr Mole was hopeful that he would be able to find out what the Agency knew about Mr Harvey's arrangements for looking after his children when they were younger.