The CARES Act passed by U.S. Congress last year allowed states to block the first stimulus payment to people who owed child support. Last April, Gov. Mike Parson said he was supportive of using that approach.
“If you owe for your children, you need to pay for your kids. They should be a priority of yourselves,” the governor said during a coronavirus briefing on April 10, 2020. “If there’s an opportunity to take that money and make sure we get it to those kids where they need it, by all means we’ll be taking it.”
According to Parson spokeswoman Kelli Jones, the Missouri Legislature passed a bill during last November’s special session that allows the state to continue intercepting federal stimulus payments to pay custodial parents money they are owed.
Rebecca Woelfel, spokesperson for the state Department of Social Services, says between May 2020 and January 2021, Missouri captured $78.8 million total in stimulus payments from 60,842 individuals who owe child support.
Woelfel says most of the funds go to the custodial parent. Four-percent of the funds were retained for debt owed to the state for custodial parents who executed an assignment of rights for periods when the family received TANF, temporary financial aid to needy Missouri families.
Under the first stimulus plan passed by U.S. Congress last year, Americans who make $75,000 or less a year received a payment for $1,200 or $2,400 for married couples. Plus, they received $500 per child. The second stimulus payment was $600 per adult, $1,200 per married couple, and up to $600 for each qualifying child.
The payments were intended to provide an injection of cash to millions of Americans struggling to get by while the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the economy.
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