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What happens if your child's father (or mother) pays child support?

Produced by Deborah Harris, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed December 2017

When you get TAFDC, you have to assign your child support (and spousal support) rights to the state for any person who will be included in the grant. The Department of Revenue (DOR) then collects the support. 106 C.M.R. §§ 203.700-203.710. DTA should send you the first $50 a month in support that DOR collects. This is called a child support "pass through."

The assignment of child support does not cover back support (arrearages) for the period before you began receiving TAFDC. DOR should send this money directly to you. DTA may then try to count this money as income for TAFDC and may try to apply the lump sum rule. See Lump-sum Income. Consult an advocate if you get a back child support payment from DOR.

If the child support DOR collects for a month is more than your grant plus $50, DTA should send you the difference. If this happens for two months in a row, DTA should close your TAFDC case and you should get the child support instead (and the month should not count towards your 24 months if you are subject to the time limit). 106 C.M.R. § 204.230DTA Online Guide (Acosta Payment).

You can close your TAFDC case at any time for any reason. If you close your TAFDC case DOR must send the support money directly to you. There may be several weeks’ delay before DOR starts sending you the support.

Advocacy Reminders

  • You are entitled to the $50 a month child support pass through for children who are on the grant.
  • Support paid for a child receiving SSI does not count against the TAFDC grant but some of it does count against the SSI benefit. 106 C.M.R. § 204.250(A)(1). See also DTA Transitions, Mar. 2002, p. 7.
  • Massachusetts has not yet taken advantage of a federal law that allows the state to increase the pass through from $50 a month to $100 a month for one child and $200 a month for two or more children. Under this option families get more of the child support that is paid for their children.

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