In March, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, also known as the COVID-19 stimulus package. Among other things, the act sent a stimulus check of $1,400 to every person in the United States who made less than $75,000 in 2020.
If you’re one of those people, you may be wondering what the deal is with child support this time around. The first stimulus check, passed in 2020, made headlines because the IRS withheld some people’s checks in order to cover their overdue child support payments.
The short answer is that, even if you’re overdue on child support, you should still receive your 2021 stimulus check. That being said, you can absolutely use your check to pay child support if you choose to do so.
From Slidell family law attorney Kristen Stanley-Wallace, here’s everything you need to know about the third stimulus check and child support payments.
Paying child support with your stimulus check
The Covid-Related Tax Relief Act of 2020 made it clear that the IRS cannot withhold or redirect anyone’s stimulus check in order to cover their child support payments. Regardless of your child support situation, you should be receiving your check in the mail like everyone else.
However, there are no restrictions on what you can use this money for now that you have it. In fact, paying down debts like child support is a really good way to make use of this money.
Here are some other ideas for how to use this stimulus check to improve your financial situation:
- Pay rent or any other basic necessities
- Pay off credit card or other debt
- Start an emergency fund
- Open a 529 investment plan for a child
- Save for retirement
While it may be tempting to treat yourself to a Nintendo Switch or a beach getaway, it might be smart to use this extra cash to pay off your child support or other debts hanging over your head. Find out how child support payments are calculated in Louisiana.
Other things to know about the third stimulus check
So, we know that the IRS won’t be redirecting your 2021 stimulus check to cover your child support payments. But what else do you need to know about the third stimulus check and child support?
- There are other ways your check might be redirected to pay for child support. If you are claiming your stimulus check as a Recovery Rebate Credit on your taxes, there may be an opportunity for the IRS to withhold it after all. In addition, there’s nothing stopping a private collection agency from redirecting your payment to cover a debt.
- New guidelines make it easier to receive stimulus payments for your dependents. For this third stimulus check, dependents of all ages qualify for an extra $1,400 payment. This means that a child under 19, a student under 24, or a qualifying relative who relies on you for care could all earn your family extra stimulus checks.
- The “joint custody loophole” has been closed. Previously, some parents with joint custody of their kids were able to “double dip” the stimulus checks by claiming the child as a dependent in different years. As a result, they both received a stimulus for the same dependent. This loophole was closed for the third stimulus check.
Contact a child support attorney in Slidell
If you run into any issues with your 2021 stimulus check and your child support payments, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team at Stanley-Wallace law. Contact us today at (985) 288-4621 to discuss your case.