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Child Maintenance

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child maintenance Child Maintenance (CM) is paid by a non-resident parent to help the resident parent/tutor raise their child. So if you care for a child whose other parent lives elsewhere - that parent should give you money. The Child Support Agency can work out and collect CM for you.

Who can apply for Child Maintenance?

You can ask for Child Maintenance to be worked out and collected if any of the following apply:


  • you're getting Child Benefit
  • you're a parent with care of your child
  • you're a parent not living with your child
  • you're another person caring for a child

Special rules apply if any of the following are relevant:

  • you have care of your child and you get Income Support or income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • there are other maintenance arrangements for your child
  • you or the other parent live outside the UK

In Scotland, the CSA can also accept applications from a child aged 12 or over - who can apply in their own right.

Who can't get Child Maintenance?

You won't get Child Maintenance from a parent who is:

  • a student in full-time education (on a recognised course involving at least 12 hours a week tuition)
  • aged 16 to 19 and in full-time 'non-advanced' education (up to A level, NVQ level 3 or equivalent)
  • in prison
  • living in a residential care or nursing home and getting help with the fees

You won't usually get the CSA to pursue your application for Child Maintenance if the parent involved lives outside the UK - unless they work for a UK-based employer or serve with HM Armed Forces.

How much do you get?

The amount of Child Maintenance a non-resident parent has to pay usually depends on:

  • the non-resident parent's income after tax
  • the number of children who qualify for maintenance
  • the number of other children living with the non-resident parent

You can use the CSA's 'maintenance calculator' to see how much you may be paid, found on www.csa.gov.uk

How it's paid

Your Child Maintenance will be paid into your bank, building society, Post Office® or National Savings account that accepts Direct Payments. Or it can be paid direct from the non-resident parent to the parent caring for the child.

*information provided by DirectGov, www.direct.gov.uk, © Crown Copyright