Newsroom > DHHS News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 8, 2009

CONTACT
Jeanne Atkinson, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-8287

 

Child Support Interception of Federal Tax Refunds Increases by 50 Percent

Note: Sound bites on this topic are available at: http://www.dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/audio.aspx

Lincoln - The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) intercepted more than $13.4 million in federal fiscal year 2008 in tax refunds of parents who owed child support but hadn’t paid.

The $13.4 million is a 50 percent increase over FFY 2007, when $8.7 million was collected through intercepts. It’s part of the Federal Income Tax Refund Offset Program, which affects any parent who owes more than $500 in child support.

“Intercepting tax refunds is one of several tools that help us get children their court-ordered support,” said Todd Reckling, director of the DHHS Division of Children and Family Services. “This program ensures that parents who can pay, but don’t, aren’t rewarded with a substantial refund at this time of year. It ensures that money gets to the right place to meet the needs of the children, who rightly deserve it.”

DHHS intercepted 18,735 federal refunds in FFY 2008. This includes tax refunds, salary, retirement, and federal stimulus money. The average intercepted check amount was for $713, but the state has claimed refund checks of as high as $9,900.

Interceptions of other payments also resulted in increased collections between FFY 2007 and FFY 2008:

  • An 18 % increase in garnished unemployment insurance benefits;
  • A 7 % increase in income withholding orders; and
  • A 22 % increase in state revenue tax offset.

Parents who owe more than three months of past due support could lose their hunting, fishing, drivers or professional licenses.

In FFY 2008, Nebraska’s child support collections totaled $196.6 million.

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