Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 2009-2013. Economic Security Risk Factor 6. Child Support

04/01/2013

Figure ECON 6. Total Current Child Support Collections Distributed by Receipt of IV-D Services and Other Public Assistance: 1993-2009

Note: AFDC/TANF families are families who have reported receiving cash assistance for any month during the 12-month period. Therefore, not all the child support reported received was necessarily received while the family was receiving cash assistance. Data limitations do not allow a month-by-month breakdown. Families receiving SSI, food stamps/SNAP, Medicaid or housing assistance are limited to families not receiving AFDC/TANF. Families receiving services through the IV-D system are estimated according to the methodology described in technical appendices to the ASPE-published report Characteristics of Families Using Title IV-D Services in 1999 and 2001, available at: http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/CSE-Char04/index.htm and previous reports.

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Current Population Survey, Child Support Supplement, 1994-2009.

  • Figure ECON 6 shows total child support collections distributed by receipt of IV-D services and other public assistance between 1993 and 2009. Title IV-D of the Social Security Act authorizes state programs to assist custodial parents in establishing paternity and child support awards, and collecting child support payments. The total amount of child support received by custodial parents through the IV-D system in 2009 was $15.3 billion or 64.6 percent of all child support payments received by custodial parents.2
  • In total for 2009, custodial parents reported receiving $23.7 billion in child support payments from non-resident parents.Total child support collections have fluctuated between 1993 and 2009. The 2009 collection rate is similar to the 1993 collection rate, $23.7 billion in 2009 compared to $24.1 billion in 1993 (in constant 2009 dollars).

Table ECON 6. Total and Percent of Child Support Collections by Receipt of IV-D Services and Other Assistance: Selected Years 1993-2009

  Collections
1993 1995 1997  1999 2001 2003 2005 2007 2009
Receiving Title IV-D Child Support Services and: (Billions of current dollars)
AFDC/TANF 2.5 2.4 2.5  1.7 1.5 2.6 1.8 1.5 1.8
SNAP, SSI, Medicaid or Housing 1.7 2.0 2.8  2.9 3.7 5.3 5.9 5.8 7.2
Child Support Services Only 4.7 6.7 5.9  6.7 8.3 8.3 9.4 6.8 6.3
Subtotal Families Receiving IV-D Services 8.8 11.1 11.2  11.3 13.5 16.2 17.2 14.0 15.3
Not Receiving IV-D Child Support Services 7.7 8.8 9.3  8.8 9.4 9.4 9.0 9.3 8.4
Total 16.5 19.9 20.6  20.1 22.9 25.6 26.1 23.3 23.7
Receiving Title IV-D Child Support Services and: (Billions of constant 2009 dollars)
AFDC/TANF 3.6 3.3 3.4  2.2 1.8 3.0 2.0 1.5 1.8
SNAP, SSI, Medicaid or Housing 2.4 2.8 3.7  3.7 4.4 6.2 6.5 6.0 7.2
Child Support Services Only 6.8 9.4 7.9  8.7 10.1 9.6 10.3 7.0 6.3
Subtotal Families Receiving IV-D Services 12.9 15.5 15.0  14.5 16.4 18.9 18.8 14.5 15.3
Not Receiving IV-D Child Support Services 11.3 12.3 12.4  11.3 11.4 10.9 9.8 9.6 8.4
Total 24.1 27.8 27.4  25.8 27.7 29.8 28.7 24.1 23.7
Receiving Title IV-D Child Support Services and: (In percent)
AFDC/TANF 15.0 12.0 12.3  8.4 6.6 10.1 6.9 6.2 7.6
SNAP, SSI, Medicaid or Housing 10.1 9.9 13.6  14.3 16.0 20.9 22.8 24.8 30.3
Child Support Services Only 28.3 33.8 28.7  33.7 36.3 32.3 36.1 29.1 26.6
Subtotal Families Receiving IV-D Services 53.3 55.8 54.6  56.4 58.9 63.3 65.7 60.1 64.6
Not Receiving IV-D Child Support Services 46.7 44.2 45.4  43.6 41.1 36.7 34.3 39.9 35.4
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0  100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Note: AFDC/TANF families are families who have reported receiving cash assistance for any month during the 12-month period. Therefore, not all the child support reported received was necessarily received while the family was receiving cash assistance. Data limitations do not allow a month-by-month breakdown.

Families receiving SSI, SNAP, Medicaid or housing assistance are limited to families not receiving AFDC/TANF.

Families receiving services through the IV-D system are estimated according to the methodology described in technical appendices to the ASPE-published report Characteristics of Families Using Title IV-D Services in 1999 and 2001, available at: http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/CSE-Char04/index.htm and previous reports.

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Current Population Survey, Child Support Supplement, 1994-2009

  • Table ECON 6 shows greater detail on child support collections by receipt of IV-D services and other assistance. Child support payments received through IV-D by custodial parents who also received AFDC/TANF cash assistance, declined from $3.6 billion (constant 2009 dollars) in 1993 to $1.8 billion in 2009.4
  • Child support payments to custodial parents who did not receive TANF but received another form of public assistance (SNAP, SSI, Medicaid or housing assistance) increased from $2.4 billion (in constant 2009 dollars) to $7.2 billion between 1993 and 2009. This group of custodial parents includes former TANF recipients as well as those eligible for cash assistance. The increased collections for this group offset the decline in payments to TANF families.

2 As noted in the Data Sources section, the CPS has been subject to criticism for underreporting of income. The CPS-CSS, a supplement to the CPS, underreports the amount of current support income received by custodial parents, especially among those in the IVD system. The Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement reports that the total amount of current support collected through the IVD system in FY 2009 was $19.9 billion. Only $715 million of that was collected on behalf of families on current assistance, some of which was retained by the government to recoup welfare costs. Thus, custodial families in the IV-D system received over $19 billion in current support in FY 2009. This figure is about 25 percent higher than the amount reported in the CPS-CSS. See: Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Support Enforcement. FY 2009 Annual Report to Congress. Appendix III. Table 84 for total current support collections. Unpublished figures indicate the amount collected on behalf of current assistance cases. http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/css/resource/fy2009-annual-report-table-84

3 This amount represents current year support received for a twelve-month period and does not include amounts paid for prior periods (arrearages) or amounts retained by the federal and state governments to recoup welfare costs.

4 The decline partly reflects the decrease in AFDC/TANF caseloads. Also, some states no longer “pass-through” any child support payments to custodial parents receiving TANF. Prior to the enactment of PRWORA in 1996, states were required to pass-through the first $50 of any child support collected.

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