While the government works to protect groups of individuals who are having their economic impact payments wrongfully seized, there is one specific category of taxpayers who the IRS said can have their checks legally garnished.
The CARES Act did not prohibit the payments to offset for back-due child support. This is the only reason that the government can take a stimulus check and it means people who have had their names submitted to the IRS for tax refund intercept might have their stimulus check reduced or garnished.
The Department of Revenue might submit your name to the IRS if you owe past due support of more than $150 and the other parent received public assistance benefits for the child or if you owe $500 or more.
The policy does not discriminate – even if you had been paying regularly up until the pandemic, overdue child support can be collected in full at any time, regardless of economic hardship.
And if your economic impact payment was intercepted, that doesn’t mean your tax refund will be free from interference. If you still owe money, that check could be collected on child support arrears, too.
If you would like to find out whether your name has been submitted to the IRS you can call the Treasury Offset Program’s Interactive Voice Response system at 1-800-304-3107.
Other Americans have had their economic impact payments wrongfully seized for a variety of purposes, including seniors in nursing homes and assisted care facilities, as well as individuals with debt.
Some senior living facilities were requiring residents to sign over the payments as a means to pay for services. The payments are not able to be counted as income or resources for the purpose of federal benefit programs, like Medicaid.
Lawmakers have asked the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to release guidance clarifying the issue for both nursing home residents and the institutions themselves.
Twenty-five state attorneys general requested that the government stipulate that the coronavirus relief payments would not be subject to garnishment by creditors and debt collectors.