The Guides to Social Policy Law is a collection of publications designed to assist decision makers administering social policy law. TheĀ information contained in this publication is intended only as a guide to relevant legislation/policy. The information is accurate as at the date listed at the bottom of the page, but may be subject to change. To discuss individual circumstances please contact Services Australia. Reasonable maintenance action completed - Child Support collect


This topic provides information about satisfying the MAT (3.1.5), in the context of Child Support collection of maintenance (1.1.M.10). Topics discussed include:

  • maintenance action completed
  • changing private collect to Child Support collect, and
  • ending Child Support collection and electing to end collection of arrears.

This topic does not discuss notional assessments. Please refer to topics 1.1.N.45 and for discussion of notional assessments.

For guidance on collection of maintenance from a payer who is a resident overseas refer to

Maintenance action completed

Maintenance action has been completed when the individual:

  • has a registered child support assessment with Child Support
  • has a registered child support agreement with Child Support (, or
  • has taken appropriate action in a reciprocating jurisdiction to obtain maintenance (

For guidance on whether maintenance action has been completed where an individual has a child support agreement in relation to which there is a notional assessment, refer to

Changing private collect to Child Support collect

After transferring from private collect to Child Support collect, the individual should advise Centrelink of periods for which Child Support will attempt to collect arrears and also the actual amounts of child support privately collected for these periods.

Child Support can generally only collect any child support liability not met for the period 3 months immediately prior to the transfer. In exceptional circumstances this period may be up to 9 months.

Ending Child Support collection & electing to end collection of arrears

Where an individual opts to change from Child Support collect to private collect, they can elect to collect any arrears of child support owing to them. This has the effect of discharging Child Support from the responsibility for collecting the arrears. Instead the individual is responsible for collecting the arrears, either under a private arrangement or through the court. Electing to end the collection of arrears from Child Support collection does not waive entitlement to the arrears.

Where an individual discharges Child Support from the responsibility for collecting arrears, Child Support will notify Centrelink of the date that Child Support collect no longer applies. For the subsequent period of private collect, the deemed amount would include the arrears for the purpose of the maintenance income test (MIT), regardless of whether the individual:

  • takes no action to collect the arrears
  • is successful in collecting the arrears, or
  • is unsuccessful in collecting the arrears.

If the individual is unsuccessful in collecting the arrears they should be advised that it would be in their interest to seek legal advice to obtain the arrears.

In the case of a partial or full exemption, the deemed amount may not include the arrears where it is determined that it is not reasonable to collect these arrears. If the individual has a partial exemption, the amount assessed under the MIT should be the amount the individual is actually collecting. If at a later date, the individual collects the non-paid child support assessment amount, the amount received will need to be included in the MIT in the year it is actually received.

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