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What is the federal tax refund offset program?

If you are owed back child support, you may benefit from the federal tax refund offset program. According to the Office of Child Support Enforcement, if you qualify, the federal government will take the back support owed out of your child’s other parent’s tax refund. They then send it to the child support agency in Illinois, who will then pay you. If you are on public assistance, then you are eligible for the program if you are owed at least $150, but if you are not on assistance, then you will need to have a back child support balance of $500 or more.

The state agency will submit all of your information to the federal government. You do not have to do anything, but you may be charged a small fee for the service. The program was created in 1981 and expanded in 1984 when services were offered to all families and not just those receiving state aid. It is run through a combined effort between the state child enforcement agencies, the IRS, the Financial Management Service of the Department of the Treasury and the OCSE.

It is important to note that you have to get full child support services through your state agency in order to qualify for the program. In addition, the age of your child does not affect back support collection, so even if your child is over the age of 18, the government will still collect if you are otherwise eligible. The program is mandatory for all cases that meet the eligibility criteria. This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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