Make child maintenance deductions from an employee's pay

How to tell which CMS scheme applies to your employee

The Child Maintenance Service (CMS) currently runs three different schemes:

  • 1993 child maintenance scheme
  • 2003 child maintenance scheme
  • 2012 child maintenance scheme

What scheme applies to my employee?

You can tell which scheme applies to your employee by the reference number on the Deduction from Earnings Order (DEO):

  • 1993 scheme: Cases assessed under the 1993 scheme will quote a 10 digit reference number beginning with 10 or 70 on the orders ie 10XXXXXXXX.
  • 2003 scheme: DEOs issued with a National Insurance number as the reference are for cases assessed under the 2003 child maintenance scheme that took effect on 3 March 2003 ie AB123456C.
  • 2012 scheme: DEOs issued with a 12 digit reference number beginning with 121 will be assessed under the 2012 child maintenance scheme ie 121XXXXXXXXX.

What is a reference number?

A reference number is a unique identifier, which is individual to a client of CMS.

The correct reference number should be used when sending payments or any correspondence to CMS.

You should always quote the most recent number highlighted in the last letter sent to you by CMS.

Why it is important to use the correct reference number

Using the correct reference number ensures that payments and correspondence can be processed as soon as they are sent to CMS, which means that the child maintenance is paid to the receiving parent as soon as possible.

Quoting incorrect reference numbers delays this, as CMS has to manually match the payments and clients together, potentially causing hardship for the children involved.

If you have a query about helping employees pay child maintenance, reporting changes or providing additional information, you can contact CMS.

Further information for each scheme

2012 scheme cases: Read more on the 2012 CMS scheme.

1993 and 2003 scheme cases: The remainder of pages within this guide relate to 1993 and 2003 scheme cases.