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Stimulus Payment FAQ

The Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) provides economic stimulus payments to American families who meet certain financial thresholds. The act provides payments of up to $1,200.00 for adults who file a single tax return with an annual income of $75,000.00 or less and $2,400 for families filing joint returns who have a combined income of $150,000.00 or less. The payments are reduced for parents who make more than these amounts and are completely phased out for single filers who make about $99,000.00 and joint filers who make above $198,000.00.

The stimulus payments are subject to interception for past-due child support. The CARES legislation specifically left in place the same language that applies to IRS offset payments that child support programs are required to intercept and apply to past due child support. Unfortunately, there is no way for the Child Support Program to differentiate between a normal tax offset payment and the stimulus payment. The state has requested additional information from the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) and has not received any information that would allow us to treat these payments in a different manner.

According to the federal government, the stimulus checks will start being directly deposited into the accounts of citizens sometime around mid-April. Payments that are subject to interception for past-due child support will be sent to California Child Support Services State Disbursement Unit who will distribute them. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the agency handling your case.

If your stimulus payment has been taken, the IRS will send you a letter notifying you that the payment will be sent to the California Department of Child Support Services.

No. As of March 27, 2020, California Child Support Services stopped referring information regarding individuals owing unpaid child support to the Interagency Intercept Collection Program operated by the Franchise Tax Board (FTB). On the same date, FTB announced that the Intercept Program will be temporarily suspended due to the widespread health and economic issues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. At this time, the suspension is scheduled until 07/15/2020, however this date may change based on the evolving nature of this unprecedented event.

If you are married filing jointly and your spouse filed an injured spouse claim with your 2019 tax return (or 2018 tax return if you haven’t filed your 2019 tax return), half of the total stimulus payment will be sent to each spouse and only your payment will be offset for past-due child support. There is no need to file another injured spouse claim for the payment. More information can be found on the IRS website.

No, the CARES Act did not grant states any authority to reduce or eliminate the intercept due to hardship.

Yes, as with other tax refunds, any amount due to you is intercepted.

If you have never received cash assistance from the state, there is no change for you. All of the stimulus funds, up to the amount of past-due support, will be passed through to you.

If you previously received cash assistance, the Order provides for California Child Support Services to pass the stimulus funds through to you, rather than to repay periods of time you received assistance.