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Your Child Support And The Federal Stimulus Payment

Here are some important facts regarding your child support and the federal stimulus payment.

Will the federal stimulus rebate payments be subject to the Federal Tax Refund Offset program?

  • Yes. Federal law requires child support agencies to have procedures to collect past due child support from federal tax refunds. In the federal stimulus bill, the CARES Act, Congress did not exempt the stimulus rebate payments from federal offsets for child support arrears.

If I owe child support, will my federal stimulus rebate payment be applied to my child support arrears?

  • Maybe. Federal law and regulations determine when federal payments are intercepted and applied to child support arrears.

  • If TANF has been received for your child, the total amount of pastdue support on all of your child support cases must be at least $150

  • If TANF has not been received for your child, the total amount of pastdue support on all of your child support cases must be at least $500

If I owe child support, will I be notified that my federal stimulus rebate payment is going to be applied to my child support arrearage balance?

  • Yes. You were sent a notice when your case was initially submitted for federal tax refund offset. The federal government should send an offset notice to you when your stimulus rebate payment has actually been intercepted. The notice will tell you that your stimulus rebate payment has been applied to your child support debt and to contact the Office of Child Support Services if you believe this was done in error.

What if I am married to someone who owes child support, will my federal stimulus rebate payment be applied to the child support arrears they may owe?

  • Yes, unless you are eligible for relief. If you do not owe child support but you are married to someone who owes child support, you may need to file an Injured Spouse Claim and Allocation - Form 8379. Please visit www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payment-information-center under "Receiving My Payment, Q21" for specific information about filing an injured spouse claim.

If I am the custodial parent, and I’m currently receiving or have ever received TANF or Medicaid for my child, will I receive any money from a stimulus rebate payment intercepted by the federal government from the noncustodial parent on my case?

  • Maybe. Federal law dictates how monies received by a state child support agency under the Federal Tax Refund Offset Program are distributed. In Rhode Island, federal tax offsets are applied first to assigned arrears, or arrears owned by the state, and then to arrearages owed to the family. If there is money owed to the state in your case, the intercept stimulus payments up to the amount owed to the state will be retained by the state. The remainder of money will be sent to you, up to the amount of unassigned arrears owed to you by the noncustodial parent. The amount of the money you are entitled to receive will depend on a number of factors, including the amount of the stimulus rebate payment intercepted, the amounts owed to you in your case, and the number of other child support cases in which the noncustodial parent owes child support arrears. You must also have a full-service case open with the Office of Child Support Services to be entitled to receive any monies from an intercepted federal stimulus rebate payment.

If I am the custodial parent, and I’ve never received TANF or Medicaid for my child, will I receive any money from a stimulus rebate payment intercepted by the federal government from the noncustodial parent on my case?

  • Maybe. If the noncustodial parent owes you child support arrears and the total arrears on all of the noncustodial parent’s cases meets the threshold amounts indicated in Questions #2, then you should be entitled to receive monies intercepted from the noncustodial parent’s stimulus rebate payment. The amount of the money you receive will depend on a number of factors, including the amount of the stimulus rebate payment intercepted, the amounts owed to you in your case, and the number of other child support cases in which the noncustodial parent owes child support arrears. You must also have a full-service case open with the Office of Child Support Services to be entitled to receive any monies from an intercepted federal stimulus rebate payment.