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

2nd  Round of Stimulus Money (COVID Relief Bill)  

In late December 2020, a 2nd round of funds was approved by the U.S. government to be released. These funds will not be subject to child support garnishment.   

Initial Stimulus and Offset Payments on Hold  

The IRS has notified all states that they are continuing to work through issues created when they disbursed the Economic Impact Payments (or stimulus payments). These issues could affect both joint and single filers. In order to allow the IRS the time they need to work through this, we are unable to release any IRS money we have on hold so that we avoid the possibility of having to recover money that may have been sent to you in error. Therefore, we are not able to release any joint or single filer IRS money we have on hold. There is also a possibility that the IRS will take back the money they’ve sent us – which means that there is a possibility we will not be able to release the held money to you. If the IRS does request the money back, the amount will be removed from the case and the arrears will be adjusted to show the amount was not paid.

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 Child Support Division 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

  • In some instances, the IRS offsets a portion of the payment sent to a spouse who filed an injured spouse claim if it has been offset by the non-injured spouse’s past-due child support. The FAQ on the IRS stimulus FAQ www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payment-information-center website states: The IRS is aware that in some instances a portion of the payment sent to a spouse who filed an injured spouse claim with his or her 2019 tax return (or 2018 tax return if no 2019 tax return has been filed) has been offset by the non-injured spouse’s past-due child support. The IRS is working with the Bureau of the Fiscal Service and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Child Support Enforcement, to resolve this issue as quickly as possible. If you filed an injured spouse claim with your return and are impacted by this issue, you do not need to take any action. The injured spouse will receive their unpaid half of the total payment when the issue is resolved.

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 Texas, 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 Child Support Division 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 Child Support Division to be entitled to receive any monies from an intercepted federal stimulus rebate payment.

How long will it take for me to receive the payment?

  • If the non-custodial parent filed an individual return the payment will disburse immediately, similar to regular child support payments.