5.5.2 Entitlement to payment & disbursement cycle
A payee of a registered maintenance liability is entitled to be paid amounts from the Registrar. If the payer is liable to pay child support debts or carer debts to the Registrar for 2 or more payees, the amounts are apportioned between those payees.
CSRC Act section 4(1), section 17, section 69B, section 70, section 76, section 113A
CSRC Regs section 23
Entitlement of payees of registered maintenance liabilities to payment
A payee of a registered maintenance liability is entitled to be paid the amounts the Registrar received in the previous month for child support due and payable by the payer.
The Registrar must pay a payee of a registered maintenance liability on or before the first Wednesday of the following month an amount equal to the total of the following amounts in relation to their registered maintenance liability (CSRC Act section 76(1)):
- amounts deducted by an employer in relation to their registered maintenance liability in the previous calendar month,
- other amounts the Registrar received in relation to their registered maintenance during the payment period for the month (5.1.5), and
- amounts not previously paid to the payee that were:
- arrears amounts deducted by an employer in relation to the liability, or
- received by the Registrar before the payment period (i.e. previous advance payments),
but excluding any amount that was not due and payable by the payer on the seventh day of the current month. The Registrar will hold these advance payments in credit and apply them against future amounts payable to the payee.
The 'payment period' begins 8 days before the first Wednesday of the current month and ends 9 days before the first Wednesday of the following month (CSRC Act section 76(1)(b)).
Example: The Registrar is collecting child support from Myron for Elisabeti. On the first Wednesday in December Elisabeti is entitled to receive:
- all payments deducted by Myron's employer during October (due to the Registrar on 7 November) including any deductions for arrears, and
- all payments, other than payments from an employer, received up until the closing day, which is 9 days before the first Wednesday in December (i.e. the Monday of the week that is before the week of the first Wednesday in December), including any arrears payments,
- the amount has already been paid to the payee, or
- the amount is an advance payment of a future liability.
The Registrar is not obliged to make payments to the payee before the first Wednesday of the month following collection. The Registrar has the discretion to pay an amount to a payee in the current month if the amount was due and payable by the payer on or before the seventh day of the current month.
In practice, the Registrar will send collected payments to the payee from the 8th day of the month, and daily until the end of the month.
Entitlement of payees of carer liabilities to payment
Under CSRC Act section 69B(3), the Registrar must pay to the payer of the registered maintenance liability any amounts that are received by the Registrar in payment of a carer debt. For further information about carer debts, see 5.5.5.
Apportionment of payments between payees
Where the Registrar receives a payment from a person who owes:
- 2 or more child support debts that relate to 2 or more enforceable maintenance liabilities with different payees, or
- 2 or more carer debts that relate to 2 or more carer liabilities with different payees,
and the amount received is less than the sum of those debts, the Registrar must apportion the payment between the payees in proportion to the amount each of them is owed (CSRC Act section 70(1)).
Example: Anton makes a payment of $600 for child support payable to Jen and Rita. Jen has no current entitlement but is owed arrears of $1000. Rita is owed no arrears but has a current entitlement of $500.
The Registrar apportions the payment, $400 to Jen and $200 to Rita.
Where a payer owes a child support debt and a carer debt to different payees, and an amount received is less than the sum of those debts, both debts are treated equally. The Registrar must apportion the payment between the payees in proportion to the amount each of them is owed.
Example: Amy makes a payment of $600 for amounts payable to Billy and Clara. Billy is owed child support arrears of $900 and has a current entitlement of $100. Clara is owed $500 in overpaid child support (the carer debt).
The Registrar apportions the payment, $400 to Billy and $200 to Clara.
The exception to apportionments under section 70(1) of the CSRC Act is where the Registrar receives an amount from the payer which has been paid in accordance with a court order made in enforcement proceedings brought by a payee (5.4.7) (CSRC Act section 70(2)). If this occurs, the Registrar will disburse the entire amount paid in accordance with the order to the payee who initiated the proceedings (up to the extent of the debt owed to that payee).