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Governor Cuomo Highlights Multi-Agency Efforts as Part of Child Support Awareness Month

More Than $1.82 Billion Collected by New York State on Behalf of Children Last Year

August 26, 2013 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today recognized Child Support Awareness Month in New York State by highlighting how collaboration among State agencies, and partnerships with the business community, and local and federal governments resulted in more than $1.82 billion being collected on behalf of children in 2012.

Governor Cuomo has issued a Proclamation declaring August as Child Support Awareness Month in New York. The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) supervises New York’s child support enforcement program, serving more than 1.1 million children. The child support program is administered by local departments of social services, which includes New York City and the other 57 counties.

“Child support is a vital source of income for single-parent households in New York State,” Governor Cuomo said. “New York has taken a sophisticated and multi-faceted approach to child support enforcement that has benefited from strong relationships not only between the State and local departments of social services but between state agencies, the federal agencies and the private sector. Our successes in child support collections are critical to enhancing child well-being and the economic security of these families.”

OTDA’s Division of Child Support Enforcement oversees programs and services provided by local child support enforcement units to help families and children locate noncustodial parents, establish paternity and child support orders, and collect, adjust and enforce payments of child support.

More than 70 percent of child support collections in 2012, $1.28 billion, came through automated deductions from a noncustodial parent’s wages or other income, thanks to strong cooperation from the business community.

While many noncustodial parents pay their child support on-time and in full, strong enforcement mechanisms are in place for parents who are financially able, but unwilling, to pay the support owed to their children. Many of these enforcement tools are undertaken in cooperation with other State agencies and include:

  • Cases where parents owe four months or more of child support, and are not having their payments automatically deducted from their income, are referred to the State Department of Taxation and Finance. The Tax Department is then able to seize financial assets and personal property, such as vehicles, that can then be auctioned off to pay child support debts. In 2012, cases processed for referral to the Tax Department resulted in $52 million in child support being collected.
  • The State Department of Labor identifies recipients of Unemployment Insurance benefits who owe child support and withholds the appropriate amount from unemployment benefits for distribution to the families. In 2012, $97 million in child support payments was collected through this process.
  • The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles can suspend the driver’s license of delinquent noncustodial parents. To avoid a license suspension, the parent must pay the amount owed in full or make appropriate arrangements to pay. In 2012, an estimated $10 million in child support was collected as a result of this process.
  • The New York State Gaming Commission’s Division of the Lottery helps intercept lottery prizes of more than $600 when the winner is a noncustodial parent who is more than $50 behind on their child support payments. In 2012, more than $1.2 million in lottery winnings were intercepted to pay child support that was past due.
  • The State Education Department, by direction of the court, can suspend the professional licenses of noncustodial parents who owe more than four months of child support, or do not comply with other requirements related to their child support case.
  • OTDA also refers delinquent child support cases annually to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance and the Internal Revenue Service. Noncustodial parents who are behind on their child support and eligible for a state or federal tax refund will have their refund offset to cover the child support debt. This accounted for more than $78 million in child support payments in 2012.
  • The U.S. Department of State also denies applications of those seeking to renew or obtain a passport if they owe $ 2,500 or more in child support. In 2012, more than $1.5 million in delinquent child support payments were collected through this process.
  • Additionally, data matches with financial institutions make it possible to identify and seize monies in accounts belonging to noncustodial parents who are behind on their payments. This resulted in $12 million in child support collections in 2012.

“This program would not be such a success without the full cooperation from all of these public and private partners,” said OTDA Commissioner Kristin M. Proud. “We also recognize the hard work of local child support professionals who contribute each day to the program’s success. Their steadfast commitment and dedication to the families of our state have benefited countless children.”

“I commend Commissioner Proud and her staff for their efforts to ensure that families receive the child support they need and deserve,” said Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Thomas H. Mattox. “In partnership with state and local organizations, the Tax Department is committed to deploying its enforcement and collections resources on behalf of these families.”

“Governor Cuomo has made interagency cooperation a hallmark of his administration,” said Labor Commissioner Peter M. Rivera. “The Department Of Labor's Child Support Intercept Program is a prime example of agencies working together to support the Governor’s priority of meeting the needs of children across the state.”

“Withholding past-due child support payments from Lottery winnings is simply smart policy, as winning a jackpot does not excuse an individual’s failure to fulfill legal obligations to their children,” said Robert Williams, Acting Executive Director of the New York State Gaming Commission. “The Gaming Commission is proud to take part in this responsible measure that protects children as well as taxpayers.”

“Unpaid child support can have a devastating effect on children, leaving them at an increased risk of poverty,” said New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Barbara J. Fiala. “The DMV is pleased to work in collaboration with OTDA and others to assure that those who have child support obligations are encouraged to fulfill them.”

“Children need all the support they can get to do well in school and lead healthy lives,” said New York State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. “And they need the adults in their lives to live up to their responsibility to provide that support. The Governor and OTDA are shining a bright light on this issue, and that light will help make sure children can arrive at school clothed, fed and ready to learn.”

New York also offers a tax incentive for low-income noncustodial parents to keep up with their child support payments. The Noncustodial Parent Earned Income Tax Credit, which is available to noncustodial parents who pay the full amount of their child support during the tax year, can be worth more than $1,000 and is refundable, making it available to qualifying taxpayers, whether or not they paid any State tax in the year for which they are filing a return.

To begin receiving child support services, any parent or nonparent caregiver acting as a guardian of a child under 21 years old can visit their local department of social services’ child support office and complete an application for services. Services available include: locating absent parents, establishing paternity, obtaining court orders – including those for health care coverage, enforcing unpaid child support, reviewing existing orders based on cost-of-living adjustments, and working with other states to enforce child support. To learn more about New York State’s child support program, visit https://www.childsupport.ny.gov/dcse/home.html.

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