Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 2000. Economic Security Risk Factor 4. Child SUPPORT

03/01/2000

Figure ECON 4a. Total, Non-AFDC/TANF, and AFDC/TANF Title IV-D Child Support Collections: 1978-98

Figure ECON 4a. Total, Non-AFDC/TANF, and AFDC/TANF Title IV-D Child Support Collections: 1978-98

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Support Enforcement, Preliminary Child Support Enforcement FY 1998 Data Report, 1999 (and earlier years), Washington, DC.


  • Collections paid through the Child Support Enforcement system (Title IV-D of the Social Security Act) totalled $14.3 billion in 1998, nearly $1 billion more than in 1997. Over the past 10 years, collections have grown rapidly, at an average rate of $948 million a year.
  • Non-TANF collections increased by nearly $1.2 billion between 1997 and 1998, while TANF collections declined by $0.2 billion. The growth in non-TANF collections was due to the growth in both the number of non-custodial parents paying child support and increases in the average amount of support paid per case. Note that the 7 percent drop in TANF collections was smaller than the 20 percent drop in the number of TANF recipient families in the same year.
  • In 1997 and 1998, over 94 percent of TANF collections (collections on behalf of TANF recipients and for past due support assigned to the state by former TANF recipients) were retained to reimburse the state and federal governments for the cost of welfare benefits. A larger proportion of TANF collections were paid to AFDC/TANF families between FY 1984 and FY 1996, when the first $50 of each month’s child support collection were “passed through” to families that were receiving cash benefits (see “IV-D Payments to AFDC/TANF Families” in Figure ECON 4a). The $50 pass-through was repealed by the 1996 welfare reform law, although a number of states have opted to pass through some or all of collections to the custodial TANF family, despite the loss of revenues to the state.

Table ECON 4a. Total, Non-AFDC/TANF, and AFDC/TANF Title IV-D Child Support Collections: 1978-98

  Total Collections (in millions)  
  Total AFDC/TANF Collections    
Fiscal Year Current Dollars Constant '98 Dollars Total Payments to AFDC/TANF Families Federal & State Share of Collections Non-AFDC/TANF Collections Total IV-D Administrative Expenditures
1978 $1,047 $2,568 $472 $13 $459 $575 $312
1979 1,333 3,002 597 12 584 736 383
1980 1,478 2,985 603 10 593 874 466
1981 1,629 2,996 671 12 659 958 526
1982 1,771 3,040 786 15 771 985 612
1983 2,024 3,337 880 15 865 1,144 691
1984 2,378 3,756 1,000 17 983 1,378 723
1985 2,694 4,103 1,090 189 901 1,604 814
1986 3,249 4,821 1,225 275 955 2,019 941
1987 3,917 5,660 1,349 278 1,070 2,569 1,066
1988 4,605 6,403 1,486 289 1,188 3,128 1,171
1989 5,241 6,942 1,593 307 1,286 3,648 1,363
1990 6,010 7,584 1,750 334 1,416 4,260 1,606
1991 6,886 8,271 1,984 381 1,603 4,902 1,804
1992 7,964 9,285 2,259 435 1,824 5,705 1,995
1993 8,907 10,080 2,416 446 1,971 6,491 2,241
1994 9,850 10,860 2,550 457 2,093 7,300 2,556
1995 10,827 11,614 2,689 474 2,215 8,138 3,012
1996 12,020 12,545 2,855 480 2,375 9,165 3,055
1997 13,364 13,581 2,843 157 2,685 10,521 3,432
1998 14,348 14,348 2,650 152 2,498 11,698 3,589

Note: Not all states report current child support collections in all years. Constant dollar adjustments to the 1998 level were made using a CPI-U-X1 fiscal year average price index.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Support Enforcement, Preliminary Child Support Enforcement FY 1998 Data Report, 1999 (and earlier years), Washington, DC.


Figure ECON 4b. Average Annual Child Support Enforcement Payments for Current Support by Non-Custodial Parents with an Obligation and Payment (1997 Dollars): 1986-97

Figure ECON 4b. Average Annual Child Support Enforcement Payments for Current Support by Non-Custodial Parents with an Obligation and Payment (1997 Dollars): 1986-97Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Support Enforcement, Preliminary Child Support Enforcement FY 1997 Data Report, 1998, and Twentieth Annual Report to Congress, for the period ending September 30, 1995 (and earlier years), Washington, DC.


  • Average payments on behalf of families not receiving AFDC/TANF have, over time, been about twice as large as those payments for families receiving AFDC/TANF, as shown in Figure ECON 4b. (Note that many families not on AFDC/TANF may have received AFDC/TANF sometime in the past.)
  • Although current dollar annual payments on behalf of AFDC/TANF and non-AFDC/TANF families have increased by more than 40 percent between FY 1986 and FY 1997, when converted to constant dollars, average payments have not quite kept pace with inflation (as shown in Table ECON 4b and Figure ECON 4b).

Table ECON 4b. Average Annual Child Support Enforcement Payments for Current Support by Non-Custodial Parents with an Obligation and Payment (Nominal and 1997 Dollars): 1986-97

  AFDC/TANF Non-AFDC/TANF Total  
Fiscal Year Current Dollars Constant ’97 Dollars Current Dollars Constant ’97 Dollars Current Dollars Constant ’97 Dollars F.Y. CPI-U
1986 $959 $1,402 $1,936 $2,830 $1,433 $2,095 109.3
1987 910 1,294 1,851 2,632 1,416 2,013 112.4
1988 975 1,332 1,793 2,449 1,468 2,005 117.0
1989 1,046 1,363 1,770 2,307 1,457 1,899 122.6
1990 1,110 1,378 1,998 2,481 1,672 2,076 128.7
1991 1,049 1,240 1,989 2,351 1,711 2,022 135.2
1992 1,210 1,388 2,314 2,655 1,919 2,201 139.3
1993 1,230 1,370 2,498 2,782 1,990 2,216 143.5
1994 1,178 1,278 2,266 2,458 1,889 2,049 147.3
1995 1,294 1,366 2,595 2,739 2,167 2,287 151.4
1996 1,280 1,315 2,591 2,661 2,152 2,210 155.6
1997 1,361 1,361 2,315 2,315 2,118 2,118 159.8
1986-97              
– change $402 -$41 $379 -$515 $685 $23 50.5
– percent 41.9% -2.9% 19.6% -18.2% 47.8% 1.1% 46.2%

Note: Data for 1997 are preliminary and do not include information from Florida, Hawaii, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Support Enforcement, Preliminary Child Support Enforcement FY 1997 Data Report, 1998, and Twentieth Annual Report to Congress, for the period ending September 30, 1995 (and earlier years), Washington, DC.

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