Right as the end of the year approaches, Congress seems poised to issue another round of direct payments (casually known as stimulus checks) as part of a broader economic recovery package. Whatever the final amount of those checks ends up being, those who are currently paying child support or perhaps may start soon might be concerned if their support amounts have to be paid out first. That being said, it’s important to understand the particulars of how child support and other liabilities can affect the amount you could actually receive.
The Mississippi Department of Human Services has a page outlining some of the most basic information about child support and how the state and federal government can withhold certain amounts based on very specific situations.
How Delinquent Child Support Payments Work with Stimulus Checks
According to the DHS, “If TANF or IV-E foster care payments have been received for your child, the amount of past-due support on all of your child support cases must be at least $150 to have your stimulus payment offset.” If those payments have not been received, “the amount of past-due support on all of your child support cases must be at least $500 to have your stimulus payment offset.”
CNET noted that nationally if you’re overdue on child support payments, any new direct payment could be garnished until your balance is zeroed. If the balance is more than the check amount, then you would theoretically receive no stimulus funds.
If that ends up being the case, the stimulus checks are subject to the federal Treasury Offset Program (TOP), which has specific procedures to collect outstanding debts.
How the Next Stimulus Could Affect Joint Custody Families
Where it gets complicated is how families who share custody of a child receive extra stimulus dollars.
A Washington Post story outlines a couple of different situations and notes that each parent could receive the extra $500 per dependent child and that could extend to each parent sharing custody. If the parents alternate years in claiming the child, though, that could result in a “double payment” for each child.
As the second stimulus package comes to fruition, there are likely to be additional issues around child support, payments, and how it correlates to the amount you’ll receive.
As the federal and state responses to the coronavirus crisis adapt and change rapidly, it’s important to have a legal team on your side that can understand how all of it affects your personal situation. Reach out to the qualified child support and divorce law team at the Law Offices of Rusty Williard. Call (601) 824-9797 to schedule your free consultation.