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How Child Support Affects Other Public Benefits

The rules are different in every state.

  • If you don’t receive public benefits, you will get the total child support payment every time it comes (minus any state fees).
  • If you do receive public benefits, you are required by most states to work with the local child support enforcement office. Most states make adjustments to the amount of money you receive if you’re already getting child support benefits.
  • If you’re in the process of applying for public benefits, work with your local child support enforcement office. They can tell you how getting benefits affects getting child support.
  • If you received public benefits in the past or you owe money to the state, work with your local child support enforcement office. If you’re getting child support payments that are higher than the amount ordered by the court, the state can take that extra amount and use it to pay any state debts you owe.

Public assistance can include Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Social Security, or other cash benefits like Food Stamps and WIC. (TANF and cash benefits are part of what used to be called welfare.)

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