COVID-19 Economic Impact Updates

Important Covid-19 Resources

Find Local Child Support Contact Information

To get information on coronavirus and COVID-19, visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention 

For information on COVID-19 in California, visit the Governor’s COVID-19 information page or the California Department of Public Health

For COVID-19 information for veterans, visit the Veterans Administration Covid-19 page.

For information on programs available to help businesses impacted by the shutdowns, visit the US Small Business Administration

For information on enhanced unemployment benefits related to COVID-19, visit the Employment Development Department

As  COVID-19 infections continue to rise, California Child Support Services has been working hard to identify actions we can take to address the financial impacts of the pandemic.  We know that for some of you, the need for financial support for your children has increased, and many paying parents are experiencing the financial hardship of lost wages and worrying about the penalties for missed payments.  

OUR ONLINE CASE SERVICE PLATFORM, CUSTOMER CONNECT, IS YOUR BEST OPTION TO CONTACT US AT THIS TIME.  We have more flexibility on a case-by-case basis, so talk to your local office about your specific situation and concerns.

Communication Options:

  • Email: You can email your caseworker directly through Customer Connect.  Log in now.
  • Text: You can enable texting options through your Customer Connect account.  Log in now.
  • Automated Phone Line (access in your area may depend on county closures) 1-866-901-3212

Please do not communicate through social media as this does not protect your privacy.

Below please find answers to some of the Frequently Asked Questions relevant to the coronavirus epidemic effects and child support. 

“Second Round” of Stimulus Payments – December 28, 2020

The Federal Consolidated Appropriations Act, signed on December 27, 2020, includes a second round of economic stimulus payments up to $600 for eligible individuals including qualifying children.  The IRS expects to start sending out stimulus payments in January 2021.

Unlike the CARES Act stimulus payments, the Appropriations Act stimulus payments are specifically exempt from being intercepted for past-due child support. Learn more here.

1. What is the Second Round of Stimulus Payments?

The “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021” (“Act”) provides economic stimulus payments to families who meet certain financial thresholds.  The Act provides payment of up to $600 for an adult who files a single tax return and earns up to $75,000 per year, and up to $1,200 for couples who file jointly and earn up to $150,000 per year.  The payments are proportionally reduced for parents who earn more than these amounts, and single filers who earn $87,000 or more, and joint filers who earn $174,000 or more, will not receive a stimulus payment. 

 

2. Is the Second Round of Stimulus Payments subject to offset for past due child support?

No.  Unlike the stimulus payments approved by Congress through the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES)Act, stimulus payments paid via the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 are not subject to offset for past due child support. Learn more here.

3. Does the Second Round of Stimulus Payments include Payments for Qualified Children?

Yes.  The Second Round of Stimulus Payments includes up to $600 for each qualifying child within a household.  However, the sum of this stimulus payment will also be proportionally reduced based on the amount of parents’ income above the applicable thresholds. 

Unemployment Benefits under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021

1. Does the Act extend the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program from the CARES Act?

Yes.  The Act provides up to an additional 11 weeks’ worth of coverage for individuals who qualified for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (self-employed, independent contractors, gig economy workers, etc.) under the CARES Act.  Qualified individuals can therefore receive up to 50 weeks of unemployment compensation for weeks of unemployment ending on or before March 14, 2021.

2. Does the Act extend the amount of time for individuals to claim Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)?

Yes.  The Act allows claims for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation—the extension of traditional unemployment insurance benefits provided by the CARES Act—through March 14, 2021.  The Act also increases the extension from up to 13 weeks to up to 24 weeks beyond the eligibility period for traditional unemployment insurance benefits. 

3. Does the Act provide an additional weekly supplement to unemployment benefits?

Yes.  The Act allows for an additional $300 per week supplement to any unemployment compensation for weeks of unemployment beginning after December 26, 2020 and ending on or before March 14, 2021. 

4. Does the Act provide additional unemployment compensation for workers who earn both wage income and self-employment income?

Yes.  The Act allows for an additional weekly benefit of $100 in “Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation” (MEUC) for traditional wage earners who can substantiate self-employment income of $5,000 or more in the most recent tax year.  The $100 will be an additional supplement for weeks of unemployment beginning after December 26, 2020 and ending on or before March 14, 2021. 

5. Are unemployment benefits paid under the Act subject to withholding for past due child support?

Yes.  The unemployment benefits and supplemental benefits payable under the Act are subject to withholding for past due child support. 

CARES Act Stimulus Payment FAQs – IRS UPDATE December 21, 2020

The first round of stimulus payments and tax intercept refunds due in 2020 have been delayed several times due to how the payments were processed. We are pleased to say that if you were involved with a delay or hold on an intercepted stimulus payment or tax refund, we have been working very hard to resolve the issue with the IRS and should be releasing funds that we were required to hold very shortly. We are aware of the inconvenience of these delays and will continue to update you as information is made available.

1. How do I know if I might get one of these payments?

If you received a letter from the IRS notifying you that funds were held to pay back child support owed by your spouse, you may be receiving one of these checks.

 

2. Is the IRS currently processing Injured Spouse claims?

Yes.  If you have already filed an Injured Spouse claim, there is no action to take.

3. Who will receive payments from the IRS?

ALL joint filers who have not received their portion of the Economic Impact Stimulus Payments, regardless of whether or not they have filed an Injured Spouse claim.  Payments are planned to begin in October.

4. Do those applying for Injured Spouse claims still need to submit Form 8379?

No. If you have not submitted a Form 8379, the IRS will still automatically issue your portion of the stimulus payment. Do NOT file Form 8379.

5. When will the IRS send Injured Spouse payments to joint filers?

The IRS will begin issuing these payments in October 2020. The FAQ on the IRS website will be updated when a specific date is determined.

6. How much will the payment be?

The amount is determined by the IRS.  If contacting the IRS on this topic, be sure to tell them you are calling about an Injured Spouse payment.

 

7. If California Child Support Services is currently holding a tax refund payment, how long can it be held back?

By law it may be held up to six months after the collection is received. This time frame has been extended until March 31, 2021 by federal authorities due to the possibility of IRS adjustments.

8. What if I WANT my payment to help pay off my spouse’s case?

This is easy – once you receive your IRS check, simply make a payment on our Make a Payment page and it will be applied to your spouse’s case.

General COVID-19 FAQs

1. Will my child support payments be delayed?

Due to mailroom safety measures, there may be delays in the processing of any child support payments received during the coronavirus-related shelter-in-place order. Our State Disbursement Unit and payment processing teams will continue to do their utmost to ensure that payments continue to be processed and disbursed promptly.

If you haven’t already, now is a good time to sign up for Customer Connect, our online Self Service option to view case information, make payments, and obtain payment records – all from the comfort of your home.

Now is also a good time to sign up for direct deposit or an Electronic Payment Card if you are a parent receiving child support. Both are faster, more secure options for receiving child support payments. To learn more visit our Payment Options page, or call our automated phone line at 866-901-3212.

2. Why are child support offices closed?

The health and safety of our staff and customers are always our highest priority, and we want to be sure we are doing everything we can to keep everyone safe.

While some physical child support offices are currently closed to customers and visitors during this time, services will continue to be provided over the automated phone line at 866-901-3212 and through Customer Connect.

We remain committed to continuing to support those we serve during this pandemic.

 

3. How do I find out if my office is closed?

Please visit our Find a Local Office page for links to local office websites.  These should have up-to-date information on temporary changes to normal operations.

4. What if I have a question about my case?

Customer Connect offers the option of emailing your caseworker directly or opting in to text messaging.  Phone lines are still operating, although you may experience long wait times on our automated phone system at 866-901-3212.

5. Will deadlines for responding to notices or request court hearings be postponed?

At this time, deadlines to request hearings or respond to notices have not been extended. However, if you need an extension due to reasons outside of your control, contact your caseworker as soon as possible to discuss available options. 

6. Can I still take a paternity test?

For the duration of the COVID-19 emergency, child support offices will not be conducting genetic testing at their locations as staff do not have the appropriate equipment to protect their health and that of customers.  Thank you for your patience during this difficult time.

7. I’m the parent who pays support. If I’m laid off due to COVID-19, what happens to my child support obligation?

A court order for child support continues until it is modified or terminated. That means your child support is still due.

Contact us to discuss your circumstances and start the process for a modification. Use Customer Connect to contact your caseworker or call 1-866-901-3212.

If you receive unemployment compensation, your child support may be withheld from the benefits.

8. Because of COVID-19 I’m unable to pay my full support amount. Am I at risk for a levy on my bank account?

Effective March 17, 2020 the automated action for Bank Levies has been shut down.  If you receive notification of this action, please contact the child support agency handling your case right away.  Your best communication options are listed above.

9. My income has been reduced because of layoffs/closures/quarantines. Can I request a modification due to a change of circumstances?

If you are unable to pay child support due to quarantine, self-isolation or layoffs, your first step is to request a “review and adjustment,” also called a “modification.”  We can get you the paperwork right away, so reach out to your local office – see above for communications options during county closures.  If you and the other parent can agree, we can help you stipulate to change your child support order for the duration of this emergency.

Although your order remains in place unless modified, we can work with you not only to modify, but on how we would collect the order. PLEASE reach out to your caseworker with the details of your situation – California Child Support Services continues to work hard to ensure business moves forward even if local offices close.

10. If my employer temporarily closes, will they still send in my child support payment?

If you are experiencing unpaid time off, we recommend you make other arrangements to pay your support obligation.  Visit our Payments Options page to review all your options for making child support payments.

Coronavirus Safety 

1. What do I do if I’m afraid for my safety, or the safety of my child, during a quarantine for Covid-19?

There are resources available to help families facing domestic violence, including:

  • The California Partnership To End Domestic Violence: https://www.cpedv.org/
  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline (24/7, free, confidential, in over 200 languages) is 800-799-7233.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has resources on preparing your family for the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

Employer COVID-19 FAQs

1. My employee is not working enough hours to continue medical insurance, but they have a National Medical Support Notice. What do I do?

If an employee isn’t working enough hours to qualify for health insurance, we do not require you to continue providing insurance pursuant to the National Medical Support Notice. If the children are unenrolled, notify us so the case can be updated.

2. My business has temporarily closed due to Covid-19. Will we be sanctioned if we don’t respond within a required time?

No, but you need to respond as soon as possible.