In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government passed a $2.2 trillion economic support package. Within the legislation is a provision to provide direct payments (stimulus payments) to qualifying adults.
Recently, state and federal agencies have clarified how overdue child support will affect these payments. In this article, our Mankato child support lawyers highlight the key things that Minnesota parents should know about stimulus payments and child support.
Many Adults are Eligible for Economic Impact Payments (Stimulus Payments)
Under the CARES Act, eligible individuals will receive a one-time $1,200 payment. Similarly, eligible married couples may receive a one-time payment of $2,400. Beyond that, parents may receive $500 for each qualifying child.
To be clear, the maximum payments are only available to people who meet a certain income threshold. From there, the law phases out payments. As an example, $1,200 stimulus payments are only available for individuals who have less than $75,000 in adjusted gross income.
Federal Guidance: Stimulus Payments Can Be Intercepted to Cover Overdue Child Support
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has the authority to intercept payments to cover delinquent child support. In other words, a parent who is subject to a child support order that is being handled by the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) may not receive their stimulus money. In this regard, past due child support is an exception—individuals who owe back taxes or defaulted student loans will not have their stimulus funds reduced.
The IRS Will Send an Offset Notice If Payments are Intercepted
As explained by the Minnesota Department of Human Services, a written notification will be sent to all individuals who have had some or all of their stimulus money taken to cover back due child support. Of course, these notifications can take awhile to be sent out. To help provide faster access to information, Minnesota Child Support Online has created a portal that parents can use to find out more about their case.
Custodial Parents May Receive Payment—But It Could Take Awhile
Stimulus payments that are intercepted for past due child support will generally be sent to the parent who is owed support. However, a portion of that payment may be taken and applied to money owed to the state of Minnesota. As such, a custodial parent may not get access to their former partner’s full stimulus payment.
Further, the process may be quite slow. It is expected to take many months before all intercepted stimulus funds are disbursed to the appropriate parties. Federal law requires states to hold tax funds intercepted for child support for at least six months. As the law is currently interpreted, it appears that Minnesota will wait six months to send out intercepted stimulus payments as well.
Call Our Child Support Lawyers Today
At Kohlmeyer Hagen, Law Office Chtd., our Minnesota family law attorneys offer experienced, compassionate advocacy to clients. If you have questions about past due child support, we are here to help. To schedule your strictly confidential consultation, please contact us right away at 507-625-5000. We represent parents throughout Southern Minnesota, including in Rochester, Austin, Owatonna, St. James, and New Ulm.