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Some COVID-19 stimulus checks being redirected to pay unpaid child support

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

Michigan families who are owed child support will start receiving money this week tied to federal pandemic stimulus payments.

“The Office of Child Support wants to make sure parents understand what is happening with stimulus payments to people who owe child support,” said Erin Frisch, director of the state Office of Child Support in a written statement.   

The money is coming from stimulus payments earmarked for non-custodial parents who owe back child support.

Bob Wheaton is the spokesman for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. He says the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, which created the $1,200 stimulus checks, includes a provision redirecting payments to those owed child support.

“All or a portion of that payment will be intercepted by the IRS through its tax offset program,” says Wheaton, “And then the funds go to us...to our office of child support to be applied to the child support debt that is owed.”

The Michigan Office of Child Support does not have an estimate for how much the state will receive from the IRS.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.