Almost $27.7 million was disbursed in child support payments in March, the largest dollar amount ever disbursed in a single month in Nebraska, according to State Treasurer Don Stenberg.
A total of $27,692,542 in child support payments was distributed to custodial parents in March 2011, up 1.2 percent from a previous monthly high of $27,358,277 in March 2010.
That increase is good news not only for the state, but also for custodial parents and their children, said Troy Reiners, director of the Nebraska Child Support Payment Center, a division of the State Treasurer’s Office. “When custodial parents receive child support payments as they should, they are better able to feed, clothe, and pay for all the necessities of life for their children,” Reiners said.
Since 2001, the State Treasurer’s Office has coordinated and managed the receipt and distribution of child support payments in Nebraska in a contractual arrangement with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. The payment center each business day processes an average of $1 million in child support payments. So far in 2011, as of March 31, the Child Support Payment Center has received and paid out more than $73.3 million in child support to custodial parents.
Reiners said a change in the Nebraska Administrative Code in 2008 continues to contribute to the record amounts of child support payments being paid, making sure that money gets “to the right place to meet the needs of children who rightfully deserve it.”
As a result of the change, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) can intercept federal tax returns of non-custodial parents to recover back child support payments for all children, including those over age 19. Before 2008, the child must have been under age 19 or have had an identified disability in order for the non-custodial parent's federal income tax returns to be intercepted to pay delinquent court-ordered child support. The Federal Income Tax Offset Program affects any non-custodial parent who owes more than $500 in child support.
“Interceptions of tax refunds is one of several tools that help us get children their court- ordered support,” according to Todd Reckling, director of the Division of Child and Family Services in DHHS. “This insures that money gets to the right place to meet the needs of children who rightly deserve it.”
In 2010, the Child Support Enforcement Unit of DHHS intercepted 9,767 tax refunds for a total of $13.8 million.
Officials in the Treasurer’s Office and the Department of Health and Human Services said other measures that could be contributing to the increase in collections include the following: