Children have been reunited with the money they were owed after the Child Support Agency processed problematic standing orders.
Child maintenance payments, stalled due to the failure of parents to fill in standing order forms correctly, have been sent out to the proper recipients.
A thousand British children have received cash from the Child Support Agency (CSA) after it rectified problems with standing orders that had been filled in poorly by parents.
The CSA sent out almost half a million pounds, which had been sitting in its bank accounts for the last three years, to children who should have received the cash much earlier. Some of the rectified 10,000 standing orders had been set up incorrectly by parents who had made honest mistakes on the forms. Common errors included putting numbers into the wrong field and leaving names off forms.
However, others had deliberately made mistakes – one parent had filled out a form whilst knowingly making mistakes to prevent money from reaching the other parent.
Child Maintenance Commissioner Stephen Geraghty said: “In some cases parents were making genuine mistakes, sadly in others they were attempting to prevent money reaching the other parent. We are very grateful to the banks for helping us to ensure that in either case this money benefits the children it was intended for”.
The British Banker’s Association (BBA) worked with the CSA to make sure that the correct people received the money they were owed. A spokesman for the BBA said the payment issue “underpins the importance of making sure account details are correct when setting up payments”.
The Financial Ombudsman said that many consumers do not know the difference between a standing order and a direct debit, which can lead to payment confusion. A standing order allows banks to send money out to beneficiaries where as a direct debit allows the beneficiary to claim the money from a bank.
A CSA spokesman said: “Every year, thousands of people incorrectly fill out standing order forms, meaning money just gets stuck in accounts and never reaches its destination. The message to consumers is be careful because the money you think is paying something – in this instance your own children – might not be at all”.