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

5/29/2020

group of children sitting and laughing

Under 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.

Washington is the most recent state to implement child support pass-through payments, passing Senate Bill 5144 in 2020. That legislation requires that the first $50 of child support received each month for a family with one child and the first $100 of child support received each month for a family with two or more children pass through to a family seeking public assistance. This bill becomes effective June 11, 2020.

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. Colorado House Bill 1100, sent to the governor on March 23, 2020, ensures child support payments are not passed through to temporary assistance for needy families (TANF) recipients if the general assembly does not appropriate an amount of money that is at least 90% of the total county share of collections passed through to the custodial party after the full federal share is paid.

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; 2020 HB 1100

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

106 Mass. Code Regs. 705.900

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

 

Virgin Islands

No

No

 

Washington

Yes8, Up to $50 for one child/$100 for two or more children

Yes

2019 SB 5144Wash. Rev. Code § 26.23.035

West Virginia

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

Yes

2018 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. House Bill 1100 was passed by the legislature and sent to the governor on March 23, 2020 which ensures child support payments are not passed through to temporary assistance for needy families (TANF) recipients if the general assembly does not appropriate an amount of money that is at least 90% of the total county share of collections passed through to the custodial party after the full federal share is paid.

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. 

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.

Effective June 11, 2020

Contact Us

For more information or to request technical assistance on state or federal child support policies and programs, please send a message to Children & Families staff. As a membership organization serving state legislators and legislative staff, we do not respond to inquiries or provide legal advice related to individual child support or family law cases.

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