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Will Child Support Take the Third Stimulus Check?

Could My Stimulus Check Get Garnished for Child Support?

The third round of stimulus checks from the federal government is here. Many Americans have already received their $1,400 checks, and many more will receive the deposit over the next several weeks. As relieving as it is to finally get the financial support you’ve long awaited, don’t forget about your past-due child support payments.

If you think your third stimulus payment is untouchable, think again.

Unlike the second stimulus check, the third stimulus check could be garnished to pay off certain debts. Luckily, those debts DO NOT include late child support payments, meaning your third check cannot be garnished to pay child support. While many people know that past due child support will not take their third stimulus check, what they may not know is a process called “budget reconciliation” currently allows garnishment for other debts.

Budget reconciliation was introduced and passed under the bill authorizing the third payout. This process was included in the legislation to expedite the approval process because it required fewer votes, but as a result, the third stimulus checks are currently NOT protected from all garnishments. For context, garnishment helps pay 3 types of unpaid debt, which include:

  • Unpaid IRS tax debt
  • Government debt (i.e., child support payments)
  • Private debt

Lawmakers are working to correct the bill to protect the third checks from all garnishment, and once they do, the federal government cannot withhold your third stimulus check to pay off the debts listed above. But just because the federal government can’t touch your third check, that doesn’t mean private debt collectors can’t, either. Private debt collectors might redirect your third stimulus check to cover debts, so keep an eye out for that.

However, if you claim missing money from your third check as Recovery Rebate Credit on your tax return, such funds could be garnished. Put alternatively, if you file your taxes for 2020, the IRS can withhold some or all of your missing stimulus money issued as a Recovery Rebate Credit. However, independent advocacy groups are working with the IRS to address this.

Questions About Debt Collectors & Your 3rd Stimulus Check?

It’s a sigh of relief knowing your third stimulus check will not be garnished to pay child support debts. But as we mentioned above, the IRS could garnish your third check if you claim missing money as Recovery Rebate Credit. Not to mention, private debt collectors will be eager to redirect your third payment to cover certain debts.

We know you may have questions. Come to our Putnam County family lawyers for answers. To learn more, drop us a line at (845) 605-4330!