Child Support Pass-Through and Disregard Policies for Public Assistance Recipients

7/18/2017

Kid's drawing of familyUnder federal law, families receiving public assistance, known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), must cooperate with child support establishment and enforcement efforts.

In addition, TANF recipients must assign their rights to child support payments to the state. When a state collects child support on behalf of a TANF recipient, the state is permitted to keep the money to reimburse itself and the federal government for TANF assistance. States, however, have the option of allowing some of the child support payment to be passed through to the parent and child and disregarded when determining TANF assistance, meaning the amount would not be considered income for purposes of determining TANF eligibility.

Half of states have chosen various ways of passing through child support without reducing the family’s TANF assistance. Some states pass through up to $50. In others, the pass-through is $100-$200 based on the number of children. In 2014, states distributed more than $118 million dollars in child support payments to families receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

Maryland is the most recent state to enact a pass-through and disregard policy, passing House Bill 1469 and Senate Bill 1009 in 2017. That legislation requires that the first $100 of child support received each month for a family with one child and the first $200 of child support received each month for a family with two or more children pass through to a family seeking assistance under the Family Investment Program. It also prohibits the consideration of that child support in computing the amount of assistance received.

Colorado is the first state to enact a full pass-through and disregard policy, meaning that 100% of the child support collected on behalf of TANF recipients is passed through to the family and disregarded for purposes of TANF eligibility. Since passage of that legislation in 2015, the Colorado Department of Human Services has been evaluating the program and recently released a one-page overview of the initial findings as well as a recorded presentation.

Below is a chart of 52 states and territories and whether they have a pass-through and disregard policy, the amount of the pass-through and the statutory or code citation.

 

State Pass-Through and Disregard Policies

State

Pass-Through

Is that amount disregarded?

Statute

Alabama

No

No

 

Alaska

Yes, $50

Yes

Alaska Stat. § 47.27.040

Arizona

No

No

 

Arkansas

No

No

 

California

Yes, $50

Yes

Cal. Fam. Code § 17504

Colorado

Yes, All1

Yes

2015 SB 12

Connecticut

Yes, $50

Yes

Conn. Gen. Stat. § 17b-112(d)

Delaware

Yes, $50

Yes

Del. Admin. Code tit. 16, §5100-3005

District of Columbia

Yes, $150

Yes

D.C. Stat. § 4-205.19

Florida

No

No

 

Georgia

Yes, up to unmet need for purposes of fill-the-gap budgeting2

Yes

 

Guam

No

No

 

Hawaii

No

No

 

Idaho

No

No

 

Illinois

Yes, $100 for one child/$200 for two or more children

Yes

2015-2016 SB 2340; Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 305 § 5/4-1.6

Indiana

No

No

 

Iowa

No

No

 

Kansas

No

No

 

Kentucky

No

No

 

Louisiana

No

No

 

Maine

Yes, $50

Yes

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 22, § 3762

Maryland

Yes

Yes, $100 for one child, $200 for two or more children

 Md. Hum. Serv. Code § 5-3109; 2017 HB 1469/SB1009

Massachusetts

Yes, $50

Yes

Code of Mass. Regs. tit. 106, §204.250 (GG)

Michigan

No3

No

 

Minnesota

Yes, Full4

Yes, $100 for one child, $200 for two or more children

Minn. Stat. § 256.741; Minn. Stat. §256J.21

Mississippi

No

No

 

Missouri

No

No

 

Montana

Yes, $1005

Yes

Mont. Code Ann. § 53-4-260

Nebraska

No

No

 

Nevada

No

No

 

New Hampshire

No

No

 

New Jersey

Yes, $100

Yes

N.J. Stat. Ann. § 44:10-49

New Mexico

Yes, Up to $100 for one child/$200 for two or more children if funds allow

Yes

N.M. Stat. Ann. § 27-2B-7

New York

Yes, Up to $100 for one child/$200 for two or more children

Yes

N.Y. Social Services Law § 111-c(d)

North Carolina

No

No

 

North Dakota

No

No

 

Ohio

No

No

 

Oklahoma

No

No

 

Oregon

Yes , $50 per child, per month, up to $200 per family

Yes

Or. Rev. Stat. § 412.009(3)

Pennsylvania

Yes, $100 for one child, $200 for two or more children

Yes

Pa. Cons. Stat. tit. 23 § 4374[c]

Puerto Rico

Yes, $50

Yes

 

Rhode Island

Yes, $50

Yes

R.I. Gen Laws § 40-5.2-35

South Carolina

Yes, up to unmet need for purposes of fill-the-gap budgeting6

Yes

 

South Dakota

No

No

 

Tennessee

Yes, up to unmet need7

Yes

Tenn. Code Ann. § 71-3-108(e)

Texas

Yes, $75

Yes

Tex. Admin. Code tit. 1, § 372.753

Utah

No

No

 

Vermont

Yes, $50

Yes

Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 33, § 1105

Virginia

Yes, Up to $100

Yes

Virginia TANF Plan 2010 (Pg. 57)

Virgin Islands

No

No

 

Washington

No8

No

Wash. Rev. Code § 26.23.035

West Virginia

Yes, Up to $100 for one child/$200 for two or more children

Yes

2012 State TANF Plan

Wisconsin

Yes, 75%

Yes

Wis. Stat. Ann. § 49.145(2)(s)

Wyoming

No

No

 

 

1 Colorado Enacted Senate Bill 12 during the 2015 legislative session, making the pass-through effective as of January 1, 2017.

2 Georgia is a fill-the-gap state meaning that the amount of child support distributed to the family is equal to the difference between the maximum eligibility standard and the recipient’s income; essentially to fill the gap between income and need. The countable income and TANF payment amount are added together and subtracted from the standard of need amount. The difference is filled by child support up to 100% of the current support amount. NOTE: according to the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement, 2014 Preliminary Report, Georgia has not passed through any amount over the past 5 years.

3 Michigan discontinued implementing its $50 pass through and disregard statute effective 10/1/2011 due to budgetary constraints.

4Minnesota passed 2015 SB 1458, creating a disregard of $100 for one child or $200 for two or more children. For more about the full pass-through, click here.

5 Montana’s pass-through is considered a $100 addition to the recipient’s TANF payment, not as a separate payment.

6 South Carolina statute (S.C. Code Ann. § 43-5-222) indicates that there is a $75 pass-through.

7 Tennessee is a fill-the-gap state meaning that the countable income and TANF payment amount will be added together and subtracted from the standard of need amount. The difference will be filled by child support up to 100% of the current support amount.

8 Washington suspended its $100/$200 pass-through in 2010. See statute.

9 Effective July 1, 2019

About This NCSL Project

NCSL staff in D.C. and Denver can provide comprehensive, thorough, and timely information on critical child support policy issues. We provide services to legislators and staff working to improve state policies affecting children and their families. NCSL's online clearinghouse for state legislators includes resources on child support policy, financing, laws, research and promising practices. Technical assistance visits to states are available to any state legislature that would like training or assistance related to this topic.

The Denver-based child support project staff focuses on state policy, tracking legislation and providing research and policy analysis, consultation, and technical assistance specifically geared to the legislative audience. Denver staff can be reached at (303) 364-7700 or cyf-info@ncsl.org.

NCSL staff in Washington, D.C. track and analyze federal legislation and policy and represent state legislatures on child support issues before Congress and the Administration. Staff in D.C. can be reached at (202) 624-5400 or cyf-info@ncsl.org.

The child support project and D.C. human services staff receive guidance and support from NCSL's Standing Committee on Health & Human Services.

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