Switch to Written Communications

It has been widely reported that telephone conversations with the Government’s Child Support operations often result in conflicting and incomplete advice. It appears that the legislation is not only confusing but that a great deal is left open to interpretation by the relevant officer.

Reports from surveys taken by a Facebook lobby group indicate more than 30% of call recordings taken by the Child Support agency inexplicably “go missing” from their expensive purpose-built recording systems, when requested under Freedom Of Information provisions.

It is highly recommended you conduct all communications wherever possible by email and/or in writing.

The two easiest methods are :

“CSA Online” 

If you have been provided with a “Mygov” account the relevant contact should also explain how to connect your Child Support account to Mygov. From that time forward, you are able to access Child Support / Messages to send and receive all correspondence. Note they will also continue to send various communication to your Mygov “inbox” so you will need to monitor both.

Log into your Mygov account, log into the Child Support service and visit Messages / Send us a message. Where you’re asked : How would you like us to respond? – choose “Via CSA Online”

Keep a screenshot of all communications you lodge in the system, in case they are lost at a later date.

Email

Child Support is one of the few modern day service organisations unable to communicate efficiently with its clients by electronic mail. However, you are able to email webmaster@humanservices.gov.au and include in the subject line “Child Support – Case Number {your case #}” and the contact should pass it on in writing via their internal email.  There are proven cases of this being used to communicate effectively with CSA.

ENSURE YOU ASK FOR CONFIRMATION THEY RECEIVED YOUR EMAIL. There have been cases where CSA claims the webmaster@humanservices.gov.au email account isn’t cleared for months. This seems unlikely – but be aware you need to hold them accountable. Don’t simply assume they received and acted on your email, but get evidence they received it through some form of acknowledgement from the Child Support program.

Using this method you will have a record of your outgoing communication in your own email, even though they refuse to reply to your own email address. You can instead stipulate they should contact you via Mygov or CSA Online.

Results

The result of insisting on written communication is that you will have a record of all advice provided to you by Child Support representatives. Anecdotally the advice seems to be provided in a clearer and more professional manner when the representative is forced to explain decisions and issues in writing.