Important Covid-19 Resources
To get information on coronavirus and COVID-19, visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention
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
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.
- 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.
2021 Child Tax Credit & Advance Payments – June 16, 2021
The IRS announced important changes to the Child Tax Credit that will help many families receive advance payments. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 expands the Child Tax credit for tax year 2021 only. FAQs that may affect your child support payments are below. Visit the IRS website for full details.
1. Is my advance Child Tax Credit payment subject to garnishment?
Yes. Advance Child Tax Credit payments are not exempt from garnishment by non-federal creditors under federal law. Therefore, to the extent permitted by the laws of your state and local government, your advance Child Tax Credit payments may be subject to garnishment by your state, local government, and private creditors, including pursuant to a court order involving a non-federal party (which can include fines related to a crime, administrative court fees, restitution, and other court-ordered debts).
Some states and financial institutions have chosen to act to protect these payments, however, and these payments are still protected from offset by the federal government. For example, if a taxpayer has a judgment against them obtained by a private party but also owes assessed federal taxes, the IRS will not subject the payment to offset with respect to the federal taxes.
2. Will any of my advance Child Tax Credit payments be reduced if I owe taxes from previous years or other federal or state debts?
No. Advance Child Tax Credit payments will not be reduced (that is, offset) for overdue taxes from previous years or other federal or state debts that you owe.
However, if you receive a refund when you file your 2021 tax return, any remaining Child Tax Credit amounts included in your refund may be subject to offset for tax debts or other federal or state debts you owe.
“Third Round” of Stimulus Payments – March 19, 2021
The “American Rescue Plan Act of 2021” (“ARPA”) was signed into law on March 11, 2021 and provides economic stimulus payments to families who meet certain financial criteria.
1. What are the details for the Third Round of Stimulus Payments?
The American Rescue Plan Act provides payment of $1,400 for individual tax filers who earn up to $75,000 per year, and $2,800 for joint filers who earn up to $150,000 per year. The amount of stimulus payments decreases for taxpayers who earn more. Thus, single filers who earn $80,000 or more per year, and joint filers who earn $160,000 or more per year, will not receive a stimulus payment.
2. Can the Third Round of Stimulus Payments be intercepted to pay past due child support?
Possibly. As an “advance”, stimulus payments will not be intercepted. However, if the Recovery Rebate Credit creates a tax refund for you, it is possible that refund will be intercepted.
3. Does the Third Round of Stimulus Payments include Payments for Dependents?
Yes. The ARPA includes payment of an additional $1,400 per dependent in a household. However, any stimulus payment amount received for dependents will also phase out for individual filers who earn more than $75,000 per year, and joint filers who earn more than $150,000 per year.
4. What if I didn’t receive the full amount of either or both of the first two federal stimulus payments?
The IRS and Treasury Department state that they have issued all of the stimulus payments due under the CARES Act (round 1) and Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (round 2). If you didn’t receive the full amount of either or both of these first two federal stimulus payments, the IRS says you may be able to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2020 tax return. Generally, a credit increases the amount of your tax refund or decreases the amount of taxes you owe. The amount you receive for the Recovery Rebate Credit as a result of missed stimulus money would be included as part of your refund or applied to any tax you owe. However, the IRS states that the full amount of your tax refund, including any Recovery Rebate Credit, may be intercepted to pay past due child support. For more information on the Recovery Rebate Credit, please visit the IRS’ website.
5. What if my first stimulus check was taken to pay my spouse's overdue child support?
If your first stimulus check was intercepted to pay your spouse’s overdue child support and you have not yet received your refund, be aware that the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement has extended the time allowed for states to hold the funds for joint filers to June 30, 2021. The IRS is still working to correctly get you your portion of the payment. If you still have not received your portion of the payment and you are ready to file a 2020 tax return, you should go ahead and file. You need to complete the Recovery Rebate Credit worksheet as though you received your portion of the joint payment, even though it was intercepted to pay your spouse’s child support debt. For further information, visit the IRS website at Questions and Answers about the First Economic Impact Payment — Topic D: Receiving My Payment | Internal Revenue Service.
Unemployment Benefits under the “American Rescue Plan Act of 2021” (“ARPA”)
1. Does the ARPA extend the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021?
Yes. The ARPA provides unemployment benefits for individuals who qualify for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (self-employed, independent contractors, gig economy workers, etc.). Qualified individuals can therefore receive up to a total of 79 weeks of unemployment compensation for weeks of unemployment ending on or before September 6, 2021.
2. Does the ARPA extend the amount of time to claim Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation?
Yes. The ARPA allows claims for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)—the extension of traditional unemployment insurance benefits provided by the CARES Act and further extended by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021—through September 6, 2021. The ARPA also increases the eligibility period for PEUC claims to up to 53 weeks beyond the eligibility period for traditional unemployment insurance benefits.
3. Does the ARPA provide an additional weekly supplement to all unemployment benefits?
Yes. The ARPA allows for an additional $300 per week supplement to any unemployment compensation for weeks of unemployment beginning ending on or before September 6, 2021.
4. Does the ARPA provide additional unemployment compensation for workers who earn both wage income and self-employment income?
Yes. In continuation of the benefit introduced by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, the ARPA allows for an additional weekly benefit of $100 in “Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation” (MEUC) for individuals who are eligible for regular state unemployment insurance benefits and 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 ending on or before September 6, 2021.
5. Are unemployment benefits paid under the ARPA subject to withholding for past due child support?
Yes. The unemployment benefits and supplemental benefits payable under the ARPA are subject to withholding for past due child support.
General COVID-19 FAQs
1. Why are some child support offices still 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Can I still take a paternity test?
With the lifting of the statewide COVID-19 emergency orders, please be aware that some child support offices will not be resuming genetic testing at their locations. Contact your local child support agency to find out if genetic testing is being conducted onsite in your county or region.
6. 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.
7. My income has been reduced because of COVID-19. 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.
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.