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State Announces More Than $135 Million in Overdue Child Support Payments Collected Last Year Using Special Enforcement Tools

Enforcement Efforts Highlighted as Part of Child Support Awareness Month

August 26, 2015 – The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) today announced that it collected more than $135 million in overdue child support payments in 2014 on behalf of tens of thousands of children through the use of specialized enforcement mechanisms. These mechanisms are utilized in cases where noncustodial parents have fallen behind on their payments and were unwilling but had the means to pay.

OTDA supervises New York’s child support enforcement program, which serves nearly 1 million children, and collected a total of $1.8 billion last year. The child support program is administered by local departments of social services, which includes New York City and the other 57 counties.

“Our child support enforcement program is one of the most effective tools we have in helping families achieve economic stability and independence,” said OTDA Commissioner Samuel D. Roberts. “For many of these families, receiving child support payments enables them to avoid having to rely on government assistance programs to get by. Through our work with our partners at the local level, more parents are accepting responsibility for the financial well-being of their children, giving them a brighter future.”

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has issued a proclamation recognizing August as Child Support Awareness Month in New York State.

OTDA 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.

While many noncustodial parents pay their child support on-time and in full, special enforcement mechanisms are in place to collect overdue child support from parents who don’t follow the law and fail to make timely payments. These tools can bring in substantial child support payments to benefit New York’s children and families.

These collection methods include:

Tax Refund Offsets

Working with the Internal Revenue Service and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, OTDA identifies cases were noncustodial parents have overdue child support. Those cases are matched with the tax agencies to intercept any income tax refunds due to the noncustodial parent to offset their child support debt.

Nearly $74 million was collected using this mechanism last year.

Property Seizures

Noncustodial parents who have fallen behind on their child support payments can have financial assets and personal property seized, including bank accounts, automobiles and boats. If the parent does not pay the overdue child support within a specified time, the child support debt can be paid from the seized account or by auctioning off the seized property.

In 2014, nearly $23 million in child support was collected through this process.

Unemployment Insurance Benefits Intercept

Noncustodial parents who receive Unemployment Insurance benefits have their child support payments automatically withheld for distribution to the families. In 2014, nearly $38 million in child support payments was collected through this process.

Passport Denials

The U.S. Department of State denies applications of those seeking to renew or obtain a passport if they owe $2,500 or more in child support. In order to lift the restriction, the noncustodial parent must pay their outstanding debt in full.

In 2014, collections resulting from passport denials totaled nearly $900,000, with single payments going as high as $34,251, which was received from a New York City case.

Lottery Intercept

Lottery prizes of more than $600 can be withheld to offset overdue child support payments when a noncustodial parent is more than $50 behind on their child support payments. Up to 100 percent of lottery winnings can be seized to satisfy overdue child support.

More than $1.1 million in lottery winnings was intercepted for child support in 2014, including one instance in Onondaga County that resulted in $19,815 in overdue child support being paid to the custodial parent.

For more information on child support services, visit childsupport.ny.gov.

Below is a list of overdue child support collections made with specialized enforcement procedures, by region for 2014.
Region Amount
Capital Region$7,844,226
Central New York$6,655,457
Finger Lakes$9,149,265
Mid-Hudson$12,111,459
Long Island$16,532,771
Mohawk Valley$3,866,585
New York City$59,455,174
North Country$3,753,622
Southern Tier$4,768,481
Western New York$11,812,072

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