One Less Shield for a Deadbeat Parent to Hide Behind

The federal government has made the decision to no longer send paper checks to individuals collecting federal benefits. So, now for everyone who receives social security payments, disability benefits, or veteran’s benefits, the money will be electronically transferred into their bank account. This plan will not go into place until March 2013, but when it does many “deadbeat” parents will find it harder to hide from their child support payment obligations. At the present time, one way many “deadbeats” are able to keep their federal benefits is by simply not depositing the check into their bank accounts. Now it will be much easier for the States to garnish a large percentage of these benefits before the “deadbeat” ever has access to the money.

The purpose of this change is to save the federal government money and they estimate that the cost to send the benefits will be reduced by 90 percent (or an estimated $1 billion over the next ten years). Whether or not the federal government intended to help parents who depend on child support payments, this is a welcome change. It is one of many changes in the last couple decades that empower parents who needs the support. “Deadbeats” can also have their wages garnished or even have their tax refund intercepted. There are many other ways to pressure “deadbeats” into paying their support obligations, such as suspending their driver’s license, professional license, placing liens on their property, denying a passport, or even being held in contempt of court and jailed. Also, under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, a “deadbeat” could possibly face federal criminal charges if they move out of state to avoid their child support obligation.

When it comes to child support, the large majority of parents pay their obligations and act like a parent. However, if just one “deadbeat” avoids supporting his (or her) own child, that is one too many. There will always be people who try to avoid their obligations, but hopefully this new decision by the federal government will help reduce the number of “deadbeats” out there.