4. Rates used by the Child Support Agency

There are 4 rates of child maintenance. They’re used with the paying parent’s income to work out a weekly amount of child maintenance.

The ‘paying parent’ is the parent the child doesn’t live with. The parent or carer they live with is the ‘receiving parent’.

Nil rate

This means the parent the child doesn’t live with doesn’t have to pay child maintenance because they:

  • are a student
  • are a child aged 16 or under (or 18 or under if they’re in full-time education not higher than A-level)
  • are a prisoner
  • get an allowance for work-based training or Skillseekers training (in Scotland)
  • live in a care home or independent hospital and get help with the fees
  • are 16 to 17 years old and they or their partner get certain benefits

Flat rate

This is £7 per week no matter how many children are involved. It’s used if the paying parent’s weekly income is between £5 and £100 and they don’t qualify for the nil rate.

It’s also used if they get certain benefits, including (but not limited to):

  • Armed Forces Compensation Scheme payments
  • Bereavement Allowance
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • State Pension
  • Training Allowance
  • War Disablement Pension

If the paying parent lives with a partner, the flat rate will be used if the partner gets:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit

Reduced rate

This is used if the paying parent’s net weekly income is more than £100 but less than £200. They pay the flat rate of £7 plus a percentage of their net weekly income.

Basic rate

This is a percentage of the paying parent’s net income. It’s used if they have a net weekly income of £200 or more. The percentage depends on:

  • the number of children needing child maintenance
  • the number of other children the paying parent or their partner get Child Benefit for

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