NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Questionable Child-Support Tactics

January 28, 2000

Amost everyone agrees that absent fathers ought to be held responsible for the child-support payments they owe. Yet federal child-support enforcement agencies are employing some pretty tough tactics to collect the money. Critics question whether some of the tactics aren't jeopardizing the legal rights of fathers.

  • Of the record $15.5 billion collected in 1999, more than $1.3 billion was obtained by seizing 1998 federal income-tax refunds.
  • Parents who owe $5,000 or more are being denied passports -- President Clinton wants to lower it to $2,500.
  • During fiscal 1999, some $2.25 million was collected through the passport-denial program.
  • In that period, nearly 3 million delinquent parents were identified through a new computer system that checks employment records of "new hires" to determine whether they owe child support.

Last night, President Clinton proposed in his State of the Union speech seizing gambling winnings to settle overdue payments.

The federal Office of Child Support Enforcement is a part of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Source: Cheryl Wetzstein, "'Tough Measures' Result in Large Haul for Child Support," Washington Times, January 28, 2000.


Browse more articles on Tax and Spending Issues