A record $3.2 billion in child-support payments was collected from absent parents last year, including more than $300 million from federal income-tax refunds, Health and Human Services Secretary Otis R. Bowen has reported.
Bowen, in releasing the Department of Health and Human Services' 11th annual report Thursday to Congress on child-support enforcement, said the amount was a 20 percent increase over fiscal 1985 collections and brought to more than $19 billion the amount collected since the program was established in 1975.
Child-support collections have more than doubled since 1980. And the program has collected $3.45 for every $1 spent, he said.
Bowen added that more than $300 million of the increase in collections in fiscal 1986 was made possible by the offset of federal income-tax refunds, $260 million from parents with families receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and $49 million for nonwelfare families.
Since 1982, the Internal Revenue Service has been able to deduct delinquent child-support obligations from federal income-tax refunds of parents whose children receive government assistance. This provision was expanded to children not receiving AFDC in 1984.
The amount collected for non-AFDC children was the first time this enforcement technique was available to those not receiving public assistance.
More than 730,000 support orders and 244,996 paternities were established last fiscal year.