NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Child Support Checks Aren't In The Mail

September 23, 1999

A child-advocacy group is asserting that at least $68 million in child support checks are going unmailed because state officials don't know where to send them.

  • As of last December, 23 states and the District of Columbia were sitting on $68 million in undistributed payments -- with Michigan and Ohio having $21 million and $15 million respectively.
  • Twelve states had $1 million or more on hand.
  • The group, Association for Children for Enforcement of Support, says that an estimated $50 billion in child- support payments have gone uncollected from deadbeat parents.
  • Child-support agencies handled about $14.4 billion in 1998, according to the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement.

The 1996 welfare law expanded child-support enforcement and required states to set up computer databases, "new hire" registries to track working parents that owe support, and central payment registries to process payments.

The association is pressing for a national enforcement system that would collect payments "just like taxes" -- rather than letting states handle the procedures.

Source: Cheryl Wetzstein, "Unmailed Checks for Child Support Total $68 Million," Washington Times, September 23, 1999.


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