Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 2001 . Economic Security Risk Factor 7. Child Support

03/01/2001

Figure ECON 7a.  Total, Non-AFDC/TANF, and AFDC/TANF Title IV-D Child Support Collections: 1978-1999

Figure ECON 7a.  Total, Non-AFDC/TANF, and AFDC/TANF Title IV-D Child Support Collections: 1978-1999

Source:  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Support Enforcement, Preliminary Child Support Enforcement FY 1999 Data Report, 2000 (and earlier years), Washington, DC.


  • Collections paid through the Child Support Enforcement system (Title IV-D of the Social Security Act) totaled $15.8 billion in 1999, nearly $1.5 billion more than in 1998.  During the 1990s, child support collections grew rapidly, at an average rate of almost $1.1 billion a year. 

  • Non-TANF collections as a percentage of overall collections by the IV-D program have rapidly increased in recent years.  Non-TANF collections increased by nearly $1.7 billion between 1998 and 1999, while TANF collections declined by nearly $0.2 billion.  However, the 6 percent drop in TANF collections between 1998 and  1999 was smaller than the 13 percent drop in the number of TANF recipient families over the same time period. 

  • The amount of TANF collections paid to AFDC/TANF families has decreased since FY 1996, when the first $50 of each month’s child support collection were “passed through” to families that were receiving cash benefits.  The $50 pass-through was repealed by the 1996 welfare reform law, although a number of states have opted to pass through some or all of collections to the custodial TANF family, despite the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.

  • In 1999, over 95 percent of TANF collections (collections on behalf of TANF recipients and for past due support assigned to the state by former TANF recipients) was retained to reimburse the state and federal governments for the cost of welfare benefits, as shown in Table ECON 7a.

Table ECON 7a. Total, Non-AFDC/TANF, and AFDC/TANF Title IV-D Child Support Collections: 1978-1999

 

Total Collections (in millions)
AFDC/TANF Collections
  Total          
Fiscal Year Current Dollars Constant '99 Dollars Total Payments to AFDC/TANF Families Federal & State Share of Collections Non- AFDC/TANF Collections Total IV-D Administrative Expenditures
1978 $1,047 $2,618 $472 $13 $459 $575 $312
1979 1,333 3,059 597 12 584 736 383
1980 1,478 3,042 603 10 593 874 466
1981 1,629 3,053 671 12 659 958 526
1982 1,771 3,098 786 15 771 985 612
1983 2,024 3,401 880 15 865 1,144 691
1984 2,378 3,828 1,000 17 983 1,378 723
1985 2,694 4,182 1,090 189 901 1,604 814
1986 3,249 4,913 1,225 275 955 2,019 941
1987 3,917 5,768 1,349 278 1,070 2,569 1,066
1988 4,605 6,526 1,486 289 1,188 3,128 1,171
1989 5,241 7,074 1,593 307 1,286 3,648 1,363
1990 6,010 7,729 1,750 334 1,416 4,260 1,606
1991 6,886 8,429 1,984 381 1,603 4,902 1,804
1992 7,964 9,462 2,259 435 1,824 5,705 1,995
1993 8,907 10,273 2,416 446 1,971 6,491 2,241
1994 9,850 11,067 2,550 457 2,093 7,300 2,556
1995 10,827 11,836 2,689 474 2,215 8,138 3,012
1996 12,020 12,785 2,855 480 2,375 9,165 3,055
1997 13,364 13,841 2,843 157 2,685 10,521 3,432
1998 14,348 14,622 2,650 152 2,498 11,698 3,589
1999 15,843 15,843 2,482 113 2,368 13,362 4,039

Note:  Not all states report current child support collections in all years.  Constant dollar adjustments to the 1999 level were made using a CPI-U-X1 fiscal year average price index.  Fiscal year 1999 data may not be exactly comparable to that of previous years due to changes in data reporting forms. 

Source:  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Support Enforcement, Preliminary Child Support Enforcement FY 1999 Data Report, 2000 (and earlier years), Washington, DC.


Figure ECON 7b.  Average Annual Child Support Enforcement Payments for Current Support by Non-Custodial Parents with an Obligation and Payment (1998 Dollars): 1986-1998

Figure ECON 7b.  Average Annual Child Support Enforcement Payments for Current Support by Non-Custodial Parents with an Obligation and Payment (1998 Dollars): 1986-1998

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


  • Average child support 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.  (Note that many families classified as not on AFDC/TANF in a particular year may have received AFDC/TANF at some point in the past.)

  • When converted to constant dollars, average payments have not quite kept pace with inflation, as shown in Table ECON 7b.  In constant (1998) dollars, annual child support enforcement payments to AFDC/TANF families decreased by 8 percent between FY 1986 and FY 1998, from $1,425 to $1,319.  Payments to non-AFDC/TANF families fell by 18 percent in constant dollars over the same time period, from $2,877 to $2,361.

Table ECON 7b. Average Annual Child Support Enforcement Payments for Current Support by Non-Custodial Parents with an Obligation and Payment (Nominal and 1998 Dollars): 1986-1998

Payments (in millions)
  AFDC/TANF Non-AFDC/TANF Total  
Fiscal Year Current Dollars Constant ’98 Dollars Current Dollars Constant ’98 Dollars Current Dollars Constant ’98 Dollars F.Y. CPI-U
1986 $959 $1,425 $1,936 $2,877 $1,433 $2,130 109.3
1987 910 1,315 1,851 2,675 1,416 2,046 112.4
1988 975 1,353 1,793 2,488 1,468 2,037 117.0
1989 1,046 1,386 1,770 2,345 1,457 1,930 122.6
1990 1,110 1,401 1,998 2,521 1,672 2,110 128.7
1991 1,049 1,260 1,989 2,389 1,711 2,055 135.2
1992 1,210 1,411 2,314 2,698 1,919 2,238 139.3
1993 1,230 1,392 2,498 2,827 1,990 2,252 143.5
1994 1,178 1,299 2,266 2,499 1,889 2,083 147.3
1995 1,294 1,388 2,595 2,784 2,167 2,325 151.4
1996 1,200 1,252 2,504 2,612 2,109 2,201 155.6
1997 1,221 1,241 2,427 2,467 2,116 2,150 159.8
1998 1,319 1,319 2,361 2,361 2,117 2,117 162.4
1986-98              
– change $360 -$106 $425 -$516 $684 -$13 53.1
– percent 37.6 -7.5 21.9 -18.0 47.7 -0.6 48.6

Note: Data for 1996 and 1997 are revised from previous report. Data for 1998 do not include information from Florida, Illinois, and Wisconsin.

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

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