Child maintenance rates explained
The Child Maintenance Service (CMS) uses the information about your family, circumstances and income to work out how much child maintenance should be paid per week. There are five rates of maintenance. Which rate is paid depends on the paying parent’s circumstances.
There are five rates of maintenance and you will pay whichever suits your individual circumstances.
If you are a paying parent, you do not have to pay any child maintenance if you:
- have a gross weekly income of less than £7
- are under 16 years old
- are aged 16 to 19 years old and have left school but are registered for certain types of government approved training courses
- are aged 16 to 19 years old and are in full-time education (up to and including A-Level or equal standard)
- are aged 16 or 17 years old and receive Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- are aged 16 or 17 years old and are included in your partner’s claim for Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- are in prison
- live in a care home or independent hospital (or similar services in Scotland) and are getting help with the fees
You will pay a flat rate of £7 a week child maintenance if your gross weekly income is less than £100 a week or if you, or your partner you live with, receive any of the benefits listed below.
The £7 will normally be taken from either you or your partner’s benefit which will also result in you paying an additional £1.40 per week collection charge, if it is paid by the Department for Communities (DfC). If it is not and is paid, for example, through an Armed Forces Scheme, you should let CMS know.
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Pension Credit
- Contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance
- Category A, B, C or D Retirement Pension
- State Pension
- Incapacity Benefit
- Training allowance (other than work-based training for young people or, in Scotland, Skill-seekers training)
- Armed Forces Compensation Scheme payments
- War Disablement Pension
- War Widow’s Pension, War Widower’s Pension, or Surviving Civil Partner Pension
- Bereavement Allowance
- Maternity Allowance
- Carer’s Allowance
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- Industrial Injuries Benefit
- Widowed Mother’s Allowance
- Widowed Parent’s Allowance
- Widow’s Pension
- a social security benefit paid by a country other than the United Kingdom
- Universal Credit
The reduced rate will apply if your gross weekly income is more than £100 but less than £200. You will pay a standard amount of £7 a week for the first £100 of your income plus a percentage of the gross weekly income for the rest of your income.
The percentage you pay depends on:
- the number of children you must pay child maintenance for
- if you are supporting any other children
If you are not supporting any other children, the rates are applied as follows:
|number of children you must pay child maintenance for||
standard amount (for the first £100 of income)
|percentage of remaining gross weekly income (up to £200)|
|Three or more||£7||31%|
If you are supporting other children the rates applied are as follows:
|number of children you pay child maintenance for||number of children you are supporting||standard amount (for the first £100 of income)||percentage of remaining gross weekly income (up to £200)|
|One||Three or more||£7||12.4%|
|Two||Three or more||£7||18.9%|
|Three or more||One||£7||26.4%|
|Three or more||Two||£7||24.9%|
|Three or more||Three or more||£7||23.8%|
Example: If you pay child maintenance for one child and also support another child you must pay:
- a standard amount of £7 a week for the first £100 of income
- 14.1 per cent of the rest of your gross weekly income (up to £200)
The basic rate will be applied if your gross weekly income is £200 or more, up to and including £800. The percentage of gross weekly income you pay will depend on the number of children you are paying child maintenance for.
|number of children you pay child maintenance for||percentage of gross weekly income|
|Three or more||19%|
Basic plus rate
The basic plus rate will be applied on top of the basic rate if your gross weekly income is more than £800 up to a limit of £3,000.
This means that on top of the percentages that you pay (set out above) for the first £800 of gross weekly income, you must pay the following additional percentage for any income between £800 and £3000.
|number of children you pay child maintenance for||percentage applied to gross weekly income over £800 (up to a limit of £3,000)|
|Three or more||15%|