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Owe Back Child Support? Your Stimulus Check is at Risk

On March 25, 2020, the Senate approved a historic stimulus package, a $2 trillion dollar jolt that should help a strained U.S. economy that’s been seriously impacted by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). This is the largest emergency aid package in the history of the United States and to date, the largest legislative action that’s been taken to give a boost to the U.S. economy, which has virtually come to a grinding halt in recent weeks.

One of the key aspects of the coronavirus relief bill is direct cash payments that are going to help people who’ve been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. However, if an American owes money on past-due child support, they may not receive a stimulus check in the mail.

Past-Due Child Support & the Federal Stimulus Payment

If someone has a tax debt, student loan debt, or otherwise owes money to a government entity, it won’t prevent them from receiving their stimulus check. "The only administrative offset that will be enforced applies to those who have past due child support payments that the states have reported to the Treasury Department," said Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, a key author of the relief bill and chairman of the Finance Committee.

If an American owes back child support, depending on their arrears, they may receive a reduced stimulus check or no check at all. Here’s what you need to know:

  • The federal stimulus rebate payments are subject to the federal tax refund offset program. Under the CARES Act, the stimulus rebate payments can be taken for child support arrears.
  • If you owe child support, your federal stimulus rebate payment may be applied to your child support arrears.
  • If TANF has been paid for your child’s benefit, your past-due support must be at least $150 for your stimulus payment to be applied toward child support.
  • If TANF has not been paid for your child’s benefit, you must owe at least $500 in child support for your stimulus payment to be directed to it.
  • If you are married to someone who owes child support, your federal stimulus rebate payment may be applied to your spouse’s child support arrears unless you’re eligible for relief. If you don’t owe child support but your spouse does, you may want to file an Injured Spouse Claim and Allocation.

To learn more about the economic impact payments, you can visit the IRS’s website. For legal assistance with your child support or family law case, contact The Law Office of Gregory G. Goline, PLLC at (940) 400-0475.

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