Manassas Journal Messenger | Va. imposes child support fee
In October, Virginia’s Child Support Enforcement department will start collecting an annual fee from child support recipients to help offset the national deficit.
Recently 130,000 letters were sent to child support recipients in Virginia stating that $25 a year will be deducted from their support payments, said Nick Young, director of child support enforcement for Virginia.
The state must collect the fee because it is mandated by the federal 2005 Deficit Reduction Act.
“It’s a nuisance fee,” Young said. “Virginia didn’t like it, lots of us testified against it [in Congress] and we lost.”
Parents who have children receiving child support don’t like it either.
“It’s not right to steal from little kids, and that’s what the federal government is doing,” said Pam Colbert, a mother of four girls, two of whom get support.
Virginia Child Support Enforcement becomes involved in child support cases when a parent asks the government to assist in collecting the money.
Two-thirds of the fee will be transferred to the federal government and the remainder will be placed in the state’s Department of Social Services budget to pay for computer upgrades necessary to collect the fees, and to pay for future collections.
The fee averages about $2 a month, said Young, and it’s one of the only fees charged to parents related to child support, besides blood tests and court fees.
“Where could you hire a lawyer, an accountant, a court specialist and case worker for $2 a month?” Young said. “While we don’t like the fee, we wish we didn’t have to charge it and we wish it wasn’t mandated by federal law, but in perspective, people are receiving value for the money.”
He said he’s not making light of the fee, “because $25 is a lot of money when you don’t have it.”
“That’s a whole month worth of school lunches,” said Colbert, a Louisa County resident.
The $25 would be taken out of child support payments only after the recipient receives the first $500 in 12 months, Young said.
Young said in one year, Virginia would collect about $2 million from about 81,000 child support accounts. Most of the money – $1.3 million – will be sent to the federal government.
Colbert said she’s going to drop out of the state child support system, so the state and federal governments can no longer deduct $25 from her 11- and 9-year-old children.
“They’re just kids. They have no clue about what’s going on so it’s not their responsibility to pay,” she said. “It’s hard enough to get it in the fist place so I can’t let them take it.”
Out of Virginia’s 2 million children, 500,000 are on child support rolls, Young said.
The Child Support Enforcement department sends out about $2 million in payments a day, he said.