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Being Behind on Child Support May Affect Your Eligibility to Receive Your Stimulus Check

Congress passed the economic relief package, which gives Americans an extra $1,200 in their pocket for use during the pandemic, or $2,400 if a couple. Additionally, for every qualifying child sixteen years old or younger, an additional $500 is added to the payment.[1] That sounds great, especially for those who have recently been furloughed and are wondering how they are going to survive since quarantine has no foreseeable end in sight, and most are strapped for cash. This stimulus check is supposed to hit our bank accounts “as rapidly as possible” and the government suspects within the next two to three weeks. This may allow for us to take a sigh of relief. However, if you or someone you know, is behind on child support payments, you may be surprised to hear that their stimulus check may be reduced or confiscated. [2] [3]

Behind on Child Support?

If you owe back taxes or are behind on student loans, no need to worry, that will not affect your eligibility to receive the stimulus check. However, if you owe child support arrears, meaning you are behind on child support, then beware. The amount that someone is behind on child support will determine how much of that stimulus check they will receive. That means there is also a possibility that someone behind on child support will receive no stimulus check at all. [4] However, such is the case only if the past due child support payments have been reported to the Treasury Department.[5]

When the stimulus checks get cut, they go to the Treasury Department first. The Treasury Department has a program to collect overdue child support by withholding federal payments as an offset. Well, this stimulus check is considered a federal payment, which allows the Treasury Department to do what they do best – make sure child support gets paid.[6]

Stay Informed!

For further information on eligibility to receive the stimulus check, check out the Frequently Asked Questions that Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley has answered: https://medium.com/@ChuckGrassley/cares-act-recovery-check-faq-1b680b717e3a

To stay updated on the key information regarding the payments, you can stay informed by frequenting the IRS website: IRS.gov/coronavirus