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In the 1991 Act, insert after section 41A—
(1)This section applies where it appears to the Secretary of State that an absent parent has made a payment by way of child support maintenance which amounts to an overpayment by him of that maintenance and that—
(a)it would not be possible for the absent parent to recover the amount of the overpayment by way of an adjustment of the amount payable under a maintenance assessment; or
(b)it would be inappropriate to rely on an adjustment of the amount payable under a maintenance assessment as the means of enabling the absent parent to recover the amount of the overpayment.
(2)The Secretary of State may make such payment to the absent parent by way of reimbursement, or partial reimbursement, of the overpayment as the Secretary of State considers appropriate.
(3)Where the Secretary of State has made a payment under this section he may, in such circumstances as may be prescribed, require the relevant person to pay to him the whole, or a specified proportion, of the amount of that payment.
(4)Any such requirement shall be imposed by giving the relevant person a written demand for the amount which the Secretary of State wishes to recover from him.
(5)Any sum which a person is required to pay to the Secretary of State under this section shall be recoverable from him by the Secretary of State as a debt due to the Crown.
(6)The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision in relation to any case in which—
(a)one or more overpayments of child support maintenance are being reimbursed to the Secretary of State by the relevant person; and
(b)child support maintenance has continued to be payable by the absent parent concerned to the person with care concerned, or again becomes so payable.
(7)For the purposes of this section any payments made by a person under a maintenance assessment which was not validly made shall be treated as overpayments of child support maintenance made by an absent parent.
(8)In this section “relevant person”, in relation to an overpayment, means the person with care to whom the overpayment was made.
(9)Any sum recovered by the Secretary of State under this section shall be paid by him into the Consolidated Fund.”
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