Behind on Child Support? You Might Get No Stimulus Check at All
Obligor parents behind on child support payments may not get a stimulus check from the U.S. government during the COVID-19 pandemic. Americans have already started receiving their stimulus checks, a direct deposit from the federal government as part of the $2 trillion COVID-19 rescue package signed by President Donald Trump in March 2020.
However, not everyone will receive their coveted stimulus check.
According to KRCG, parents who are past due on child support payments may either get no stimulus check at all or see the amount of the check significantly reduced. At the same time, those who have past-due debts to federal or state agencies or owe back taxes still qualify for the full amount of their stimulus check.
The most basic requirements to be eligible for the full amount of $1,200, a single U.S. resident must have:
- A valid Social Security number; and
- An AGI (Adjusted Gross Income) under $75,000.
The sum decreases if your AGI exceeds $75,000. If your AGI exceeds $99,000, you will not be getting any stimulus check. Married couples who file jointly with an AGI lower than $150,000 are eligible for a $2,400 check, but the amount decreases to zero at $198,000.
Parents Behind on Child Support Might Not See a Stimulus Check
The report cited the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance as saying that people who are behind on child support could either see a reduced check or not receive the check at all. The determination will be made based on reports provided by the states to the Treasury Department. It will also depend on the size of the overdue payment.
The higher the owed back child support, the greater the reduction in the amount. But what about private debt collectors? Can private debt collectors issue a garnishment order to seize your stimulus check?
Unfortunately, this could be possible given that the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) contains no provision prohibiting private debt collectors from garnishing your stimulus money. However, some states issued emergency regulations that would prevent private debt collectors from doing so, according to Forbes.
Can You Stop Paying Child Support Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic?
During these unprecedented times, some parents stopped making child support payments, thinking that the government temporarily suspended such obligations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the opposite is true. The Department of Children and Family Services issued a statement warning obligor parents that they would still be “on the hook” for not making child support payments during the pandemic, though no enforcement actions will be taken against them.
Despite this, you may be able to lower or terminate your child support order if you experience unbearable economic challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic. If you lost your job due to business closures, have been furloughed, or your employer reduced your work hours, consider modifying your child custody agreement.
Read more about when a child support modification is appropriate (and when it’s not). Consult with our Orlando child support attorneys if you are considering modifying your order. Contact the Law Offices of Steve W. Marsee to get a consultation. Call at 407-521-7171 today.