IRS and State Social Services answers questions about back child support, stimulus

Max Pixel / CC0 1.0 / MGN
Max Pixel / CC0 1.0 / MGN(KKTV)
Published: Apr. 21, 2020 at 3:23 PM CDT
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We've heard from hundreds of viewers with questions about not getting stimulus money if they owe child support.

Some claim they are up-to-date on their monthly payment plan, but if there is any outstanding balance over $500, you might not see any of that money.

Jennifer Spells has four beautiful children and three of them belong to Jennifer and her husband.

"I should have received at least my $1200.00 and I should have received the $500 for each of our children," Spells said.

But instead, she got nothing because her husband owes back child support on his one child from a previous marriage, and that stimulus money went there.

"We were supposed to receive $4400.00 so I expected them to take his $1200, or maybe $2200, but they took the whole $4,400."

Spells wanted to answers from the state or feds. It's a similar story for Brent Holcomb. He, too, is essentially out of work on his hard wood flooring projects. And his current wife also has biological kids missing out.

"I understand his money going there, or even my money because I married him, but what is supposed to go to my child makes no sense to go to his," Rena Holcomb said.

The IRS tells me they've been flooded with questions. In short:

Q21. If I owe tax, or have a Payment agreement with the IRS, or owe other federal or state debts, will my Payment be reduced as an offset?

A21. No, with one exception. The Payment will be offset only by past-due child support. The Bureau of the Fiscal Service will send you a notice if an offset occurs. 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 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.

Here are some other FAQs.

IRS phone lines are down because they, too, are working from home. And each child support situation is as unique as each child.

The IRS says it is adding the answers to people's questions daily at

"This stimulus is meant to help families in need to feed their children, to feed themselves, whatever, I don't even care if my money is going somewhere else, but the money that is going to feed my children, while his child is already getting child support from him, and his child is getting a stimulus check as well, why is my children's check going to his child," Holcomb said.

It feels like insult, to what is already major injury.

The Missouri State Department of Social Services also sent this helpful information:

The Department of Social Services, Family Support Division may intercept the Economic Impact (Stimulus) check if a non-custodial parent owes at least $500 past-due child support, or has a Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) arrearage of $150 or more. The amount may a combination of arranges from multiple cases involving the same individual. Please be aware that due to State and Federal laws intercept exceptions cannot be made.

If a couple receives a joint Economic Impact (Stimulus) payment and only one spouse owes past-due support, the spouse who does not owe can file an injured spouse form with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The IRS would be the best source of information for questions regarding the injured spouse form.

It is important to note that intercept payments go on an automatic hold for at least 30 days so a person paying child support may request an administrative hearing. If a hearing is requested a payment will be held until an administrative decision is made. Missourians who have questions can call 1-866-313-9960 to speak to a Child Support team member.