Don’t Count on COVID-19 Stimulus if Behind on Child Support

Stimulus money from the coronavirus relief package will soon be on the way to millions of Americans — most of them, anyway.

The coronavirus has turned the world upside down — seemingly in a blink of an eye. Besides the illness, businesses across the board are being plagued by the pandemic. To help ease some of the financial impacts due to continued social distancing protocols and expanding shelter-in-place orders, Congress fast-tracked and passed a historic $2 trillion COVID-19 relief package. While most people are now looking forward to receiving stimulus money in the next few weeks (fingers crossed it will arrive that quickly), individuals who are in arrears on child support might not qualify.

Even though the stimulus bill temporarily suspends most indiscretions that usually garnish tax refunds for individuals (past debts and/or behind on other payments to the government like student loans), it’s a different story when it comes to child support responsibility, according to Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley (R).

“The only administrative offset that will be enforced applies to those who have past due child support payments that the states have reported to the Treasury Department,” he wrote in a recent post on

The relief package (CARES Act) is set to distribute one-time payments of $1,200 per adult who make up to $75,000 per year, $2,400 per couple who make up to $150,000 per year and $500 per child under the age of 16. 

If the IRS has your bank info on record, government officials expect eligible individuals to see payment in about three weeks. Add several more weeks — possibly months — for paper checks that need to be sent otherwise.

As of this blog post, the IRS website was still waiting for final updates on specific coronavirus tax relief payment/distribution information.

In the meantime, Grassley’s post is a good place to start for more details. Additionally, the comprehensive FAQ piece recently published by The New York Times is another helpful resource on the coronavirus stimulus subject. Let’s face it, we all have questions when it comes to this.

The COVID-19 situation continues to evolve. We’re all finding our way through and making history along the way. Keep up to date and try to stay healthy.

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