The state of Florida is hanging on to $31 million in unclaimed child support payments, citing an inability to find the recipients:
Shireena Adams has gotten $15 in child support over the 11 years she's raised her granddaughter, creating more than a little financial strain.
"I'm thinking about giving up my car. Most the time it just sits there because I don't have enough money for gas and insurance is expensive," said the 61-year-old whose severe arthritis has her living in an Indiana apartment on $1,065 a month in disability.
Turns out the state has collected more money from the girl's father but failed to pass it along to Adams. State officials said they couldn't find her -- even though a simple Internet search would have done the trick.
A lot of states are sitting on money that was collected for child support on behalf of caregivers. The federal government is urging action, but not in the way you might expect. A new report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General urges states to spend the unclaimed money -- some on federal administrative costs for child support programs and the rest on the state's general budget.
The State of Florida spends quite a bit of time and money trying to locate the owners of "unclaimed" funds, mailing out notices, publishing lists of names on the Internet and in newspapers. This goes on for years. Why? Because this money belongs to a person, not the state government.
What incentive is there for Department of Revenue employees to do their job if they know that the unclaimed money goes into administrative costs and they may even get a raise! That doesn't make good business sense.
According to news reports that I have read, Revenue does not have any written policy regarding how parents who are owed this money will be located.
The Legislature moved child support enforcement to the Department of Revenue from the former Department of HRS. Why? Because Revenue COLLECTS money. It seemed like a good move.
I have dealt with Revenue for almost two years, attempting to get a simple court order for child support. The staff's lack of training, careless handling of paperwork and lack of commitment to the mission of their job is astounding.
The Legislature should conduct a full investigation of this inept program that is wasting Florida's taxpayer dollars and depriving thousands of children the support they need. Everyone wants to criticize "dead beat dads." From what I have seen in visiting the local child support office, I hear many non-custodial parents trying to correct payment records. It's time to review a program that calls itself a success when collecting less than 55% of the child support owed.
I'm recording the lengthy debacle of my quest for child support through Revenue at needchildsupport.blogspot.com<>
Florida is the new California.
God have mercy on yer souls.
child support customer service records show monthly payments have been deducted from my SS Disability. My bank records show the same. The child support office shows no payment received for 3 months. Both women say they are viewing the same record. Both agree that the payments have gone in my mother's account - it's been closed for 19 months. So where's the money? How do you find out?