2.10.2 Electing to End an Assessment

Context

A carer entitled to receive child support is able to end an assessment for a child by electing to end the liability from a specified day in the future. However, if the carer is entitled to receive FTB Part A at more than the base rate, Centrelink must first decide whether, if the carer's election is accepted, the carer will have taken 'reasonable action to obtain maintenance' for the child.

Act references

CSA Act section 12(4), section 29B(1), section 151, section 151A

When can a carer elect to end an assessment?

A carer can elect to end an assessment for a child from a specified day (CSA Act section 151). The specified day must be a day after the election to end the assessment is made (CSA Act section 12(4)).

If the carer is entitled to receive FTB Part A at more than the base rate, the election has no effect until it is approved by the Secretary of the department (CSA Act section 151(4)). The Secretary has delegated the power to approve elections to Centrelink. The Registrar must advise Centrelink of the carer's election as soon as it is practicable (CSA Act section 151A(1)).

Centrelink has to decide whether, if the carer's election is accepted, the carer will have taken 'reasonable action to obtain maintenance' for the child (CSA Act section 151A(2)). If Centrelink decides that the carer has taken reasonable steps to obtain maintenance for the child, then the election is approved (CSA Act section 151A(3)). Otherwise, the election is not approved (CSA Act section 151A(4)).

Centrelink must advise the Registrar of the decision (CSA Act section 151A(5)). If Centrelink decides not to approve the election the carer must be advised in writing (CSA Act section 151A(6)). The parent paying child support and the carer can both seek a review by Centrelink of the decision on an election to end an assessment. The Registrar will refer parents and non-parent carers who are dissatisfied with the decision on an election to end an assessment to Centrelink to pursue their review rights.

If the assessment was made after an application from an overseas authority on behalf of the carer entitled to child support (CSA Act section 29B(1)(b)) the election to end has no effect until the overseas authority approves the election (CSA Act section 151(5)).

If the carer is entitled to receive FTB Part A at more than the base rate, the Registrar is only authorised to end the assessment without the Secretary's approval if there has been a terminating event (2.10.3) which means that the assessment must end (CSA Act section 12).

It should be noted that when an assessment is ended on a certain date any assessments for periods before that date remain in force. If the Registrar amends the assessment/s that apply to any of the days before the date the carer specified, this may result in an overpayment or underpayment of child support.

An election to end an assessment for a child under CSA Act section 151, when approved by the Secretary, is a 'terminating event'. When an election to end an assessment has been approved and the Registrar ends the assessment, the 'terminating event' cannot be reversed. However, either parent or any eligible carer is entitled to make a new application for an assessment.

Last reviewed: 8 February 2016