Resources for Parents - Stimulus Payments
COVID-19 Impact on Child Support
“Second Round” of Stimulus Payments – December 28, 2020
The Federal Consolidated Appropriations Act, signed on December 27, 2020, includes a second round of economic stimulus payments up to $600 for eligible individuals including qualifying children. The IRS expects to start sending out stimulus payments in January 2021.
Unlike the CARES Act stimulus payments, the Appropriations Act stimulus payments are specifically exempt from being intercepted for past-due child support. Learn more here.
What is the Second Round of Stimulus Payments?
The “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021” (“Act”) provides economic stimulus payments to families who meet certain financial thresholds. The Act provides payment of up to $600 for an adult who files a single tax return and earns up to $75,000 per year, and up to $1,200 for couples who file jointly and earn up to $150,000 per year. The payments are proportionally reduced for parents who earn more than these amounts, and single filers who earn $87,000 or more, and joint filers who earn $174,000 or more, will not receive a stimulus payment.
Is the Second Round of Stimulus Payments subject to offset for past due
No. Unlike the stimulus payments approved by Congress through the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES)Act, stimulus payments paid via the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 are not subject to offset for past due child support. Learn more here.
Does the Second Round of Stimulus Payments include Payments for
Yes. The Second Round of Stimulus Payments includes up to $600 for each qualifying child within a household. However, the sum of this stimulus payment will also be proportionally reduced based on the amount of parents’ income above the applicable thresholds.
CARES Act Stimulus Payment and IRS Update [as of 12/21/2020]
The first round of stimulus payments and tax intercept refunds due in 2020 have been delayed several times due to how the payments were processed. We are pleased to say that if you were involved with a delay or hold on an intercepted stimulus payment or tax refund, we have been working very hard to resolve the issue with the IRS and should be releasing funds that we were required to hold very shortly. We are aware of the inconvenience of these delays and will continue to update you as information is made available.
“Injured Spouse” Payments from Stimulus Payment Intercepts
Recently the IRS announced it will be mailing reimbursement checks to those who filed joint income tax returns for 2019 who had their stimulus payments intercepted to pay back child support owed by their spouse. Normally these joint filers must file an “injured spouse” claim with the IRS to receive their portion of these funds, but now payments will be sent whether or not a claim has been filed. Please see below for changes to the process caused by this decision that may affect you.
How do I know if I might get one of these payments?
If you received a letter from the IRS notifying you that funds were held to pay back child support owed by your spouse, you may be receiving one of these checks.
Is the IRS currently processing Injured Spouse claims?
Who will receive payments from the IRS?
ALL joint filers who have not received their portion of the Economic Impact Stimulus Payments, regardless of whether or not they have filed an Injured Spouse claim. Payments are planned to begin in October.
Do those applying for Injured Spouse claims still need to submit Form 8379?
No. If you have not submitted a Form 8379, the IRS will still automatically issue your portion of the stimulus payment. Do NOT file the form 8379.
When will the IRS send Injured Spouse payments to joint filers?
The IRS will begin issuing these payments in October. The FAQ on the IRS website will be updated when a specific date is determined.
How much will the payment be?
The amount is determined by the IRS. If contacting the IRS on this topic, be sure to tell them you are calling about an Injured Spouse payment.
If California Child Support Services is currently holding a joint tax
refund payment, how long can it be held back?
By law it may be held up to six months after the collection is received. Due to COVID-19 this time frame may be extended.
What if I WANT my payment to help pay off my spouse’s case?
This is easy – once you receive your IRS check, simply make a payment on the California Child Support Services website and it will be applied to your spouse’s case.
What can you tell me about the Stimulus Checks due to the CARES Act and how that impacts me for child support as someone who pays or receives child support?
What are the Stimulus Payments?
The CARES Act provides economic stimulus payments to families who meet certain financial thresholds. The Act provides payments of up to $1,200.00 for adults who file a single tax return with an annual income of $75,000.00 or less and $2,400.00 for families filing joint returns who have a combined income of $150,000.00 or less. The payments are reduced for parents who make more than these amounts and are completely phased out for single filers who make above $99,000.00 and joint filers who make above $198,000.00.
Will the Stimulus Payments be taken for past due child support?
The stimulus payments are subject to interception for past-due child support. The CARES legislation specifically left in place the same language that applies to IRS offset payments that child support programs are required to intercept and apply to past due child support. Unfortunately, there is no way for the Child Support Program to differentiate between a normal tax offset payment and the stimulus payment. The state has requested additional information from the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) and has not received any information that would allow us to treat these payments in a different manner.
When will my Stimulus Payment be intercepted?
According to the federal government, the stimulus checks will start being directly deposited into the accounts of citizens sometime around mid-April. Payments that are subject to interception for past-due child support will be sent to California Child Support Services State Disbursement Unit who will distribute them. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.
How will I know if my Stimulus Check will be intercepted?
If your stimulus payment has been taken, the IRS will send you a letter notifying you that the payment will be sent to the California Department of Child Support Services.
Will my California state tax refund be intercepted?
No. As of March 27, 2020, California Child Support Services stopped referring information regarding individuals owing unpaid child support to the Interagency Intercept Collection Program operated by the Franchise Tax Board (FTB). On the same date, FTB announced that the Intercept Program will be temporarily suspended due to the widespread health and economic issues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Program intercepts state tax refunds, lottery winnings, and Unclaimed Property of those who owe child support debt. At this time, the suspension is scheduled until 7/15/2020, however this date may change based on the evolving nature of this unprecedented event.
If I file my taxes as married filing jointly and owe child support, will
they take my spouse’s stimulus payment?
Not if you filed an injured spouse claim. If you are married filing jointly and you filed an injured spouse claim with your 2019 tax return (or 2018 tax return if you haven’t filed your 2019 tax return), half of the total stimulus payment will be sent to each spouse, and your spouse’s payment will be offset only for past-due child support. There is no need to file another injured spouse claim for the payment.
I am experiencing a financial hardship due to COVID-19. Can I request a
refund of my stimulus funds?
No, the CARES Act did not grant states any authority to reduce or eliminate the intercept due to hardship.
Will the additional $500 stimulus payment for each child in my household
also be intercepted?
Yes, as with other tax refunds, any amount due to you is intercepted.
I am the custodial parent and receive child support so how does the
change in the Governor’s Executive Order N-52-20 affect me?
- If you have never received cash assistance from the state, there is no change for you. All of the stimulus funds, up to the amount of past-due support, will be passed through to you.
- If you are currently receiving assistance from the state, the stimulus will apply to this month’s child support, and you will receive the disregard payment of up to $50.
- If you previously received cash assistance, the Order provides for California Child Support Services to pass the stimulus funds through to you, rather than to repay periods of time you received assistance.
Additional Frequently Asked Questions
During the COVID-19 pandemic, is DCSS going to intercept my unemployment
and disability payments?
At the current time, unemployment and disability will be intercepted if you have a past-due balance. Please be aware if you are an obligor under a child support order, the order is still in effect and the support is due monthly regardless of the intercept. If the unemployment and disability intercept is temporarily suspended, you will need to submit your payment monthly to the State Disbursement Unit via the various payment methods available. If there is a change to temporarily suspend this enforcement method, this response will be updated.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, is DCSS going to levy my bank account?
As of March 17, 2020, the automated actions for Bank Levies has been shut down. If you receive notification of this action from your bank, please contact us right away through 1-866-901-3212, Customer Connect, or contact your case manager through his/her direct phone #, email or text #.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, is DCSS going to suspend my driver’s license?
As of March 17, 2020, the automated actions for Driver’s License suspensions has been shut down. If you receive notification of this action from DMV, please contact us right away through 1-866-901-3212, Customer Connect, or contact your case manager through his/her direct phone #, email or text #.
I heard there was going to be an extra money (allotment) coming to me in
April if I am on CalFresh?
Yes, if you are a current recipient of CalFresh you will receive an Emergency Allotment (EA) on your Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Card. Click here for more details as to the dates and the amounts.