‘I planned to buy new tires for the winter’: I didn’t get a stimulus check because I owe back child support. Will I get one this time?
I have 2 kids and I pay child support. I have one daughter who I didn’t know about until she was 5 years old. My arrears for child support have kept me down most of my life.
My credit score never goes past 515. I have a hard time making ends meet, so I applied for the $1,200 stimulus check in September. I was under the impression that I would receive this much-needed money. I planned to buy new tires for the winter. (I still don’t have new tires.)
The Moneyist:My husband, 67, wants to leave his $2 million estate and home to his disabled daughter and his sister’s kids. Can he do that? I could outlive them
I feel like this relief fund should be exactly that: A relief fund for all Americans. I was hoping that, no matter what debt was owed, Americans could receive this COVID-19 economic stimulus payment. But — no! Minnesota’s child-support program took all the money.
The government could have left me with at least some of this money, but it took all of it. This is so morally wrong and unfair. Please help!
I feel for you: You are playing catch-up with child support for a daughter that you didn’t know you had fathered. It’s a complex and imperfect system, and of course it would have helped had you been informed earlier that you had a daughter.
I commend you for doing your best to pay your way and take care of your child. Just because you are behind on child-support payments, that does NOT make you a dead-beat dad. The mother of your child did not inform you when she had her child. That is the hand you were dealt and, by fathering this child, that is also the hand you dealt yourself. The good news is you should receive the $600 stimulus check. Unlike the first round, it will not be withheld due to back child support.
In the eyes of the government, the financial burden should not be shouldered by one parent alone, and “how was I supposed to know that I fathered a child?” is not typically enough to relieve the father of the financial responsibility of retroactive payments. It just doesn’t wash. This is where you must also take a hard look at your own part in this situation. You were there, you fathered this child, and whether that was intentional or not, you must be held accountable in the eyes of the law.
The Moneyist: ‘I’m lucky to get by on $75,000 a year’: The $600 stimulus program doesn’t sound reasonable to me. Why am I left out?
It’s also worth remembering: If you were the mother of this girl, you would feed and clothe her, take care of her 24/7, pick her up from kindergarten and drop her off, and adjust your work schedule to ensure that you can fulfill your responsibilities as a working parent, while progressing in your career. You would raise your daughter to the best of your ability, help her with her homework, and ideally provide an example of how to be a productive and responsible member of society.
The one person that must take priority in cases such as yours is the child, and that is how it should be. You didn’t buy new winter tires with the $1,200 stimulus last summer, but maybe take heart in the fact that the mother of your child may have been able to buy her a new pair of shoes.
Want to read more?Follow Quentin Fottrell on Twitterand read more of his columns here
Hello there, MarketWatchers. Check out the Moneyist private Facebook
group where we look for answers to life’s thorniest money issues. Readers write in to me with all sorts of dilemmas. Post your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or weigh in on the latest Moneyist columns.