May 21, 2014

 

As more and more people become aware of the child support hustle there is an even greater need to explain one of the biggest scams administered by the government.  That scam is the pass-through policy and how it was implemented and executed across the country.  According to the National Center for Children in Poverty or NCCP (2004), a pass-through is the amount of child support forwarded to the families on whose behalf it was collected.  This does not seem to be a problem for families that do not live in poverty or rely on government assistance in any way.  The problem arises when pass-through policies affect low-income parents that could benefit from receiving a full child support payment.

 

Unfortunately, low-income parents must depend on disregards in relation to collecting child support money.  The disregard is the amount of child support that the family can keep without lowering the TANF (Temporary Aide for Needy Families) benefits, (NCCP, 2004).  With the reform of both welfare and child support programs, TANF benefits have decreased greatly.  Only a fraction of low-income people qualify for these benefits and there are time-restrictions applied that prohibit states from providing assistance after a certain period of time.  We know that since 1996, the value of cash assistance benefits have declined by 20 percent or more in 37 states, (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2013).  And yet, 28 states do not offer pass-through or disregards to its low-income parents.

 

There are another 12 states that will disregard up to $50 to low-income family which does little to help fight poverty.  Since the states force all applicants of TANF benefits to assign their rights to child support payments over to the state, the state will collect and retain the child support payment, less the aforementioned, $50.  There has been an increase in child poverty since the reform to both social programs and poverty will continue to increase unless significant changes are made to the child support system.  The pass-through policy should be first on the agenda.  By expecting an already disadvantaged people to rise above poverty with no social nets and less, or in some cases, no money is virtually impossible.

 

The child support system vigorously pursues noncustodial parents for money that will only be retained by the states.  The child support system supposedly cares only about what is in the best interest of the child. Pass-through and disregard policies demonstrate that this is not a true statement.  The proof appears when one closely examines the system and the policies.  After close examination it is clear that the states’ best interest is all that seems to matter.   This current system will only pull people who happen to be parents deeper into debt.  At the same time, the relationships between the children and the parents may become strained because of the penalties and punishments associated with nonpayment of child support.  Each of the individual policies that govern the child support system needs to be reexamined so it can be determined what is truly in the best interest of the children.

 

References:

Floyd, I., & Schott, L. (2013, October 21). TANF Cash Benefits Continued To Lose Value in 2013 — Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Retrieved April 21, 2014, from http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=4034

National Center for Children in Poverty (2004, September). NCCP | State Policy Choices. Retrieved April 21, 2014, from http://www.nccp.org/publications/pub_539.html

 

 

 

 


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