Help for Disabled Iowans Who Owe Back Child Support
Authored By: Iowa Legal Aid
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A new rule change will help Iowans with disabilities who owe back child support. If a person owes back child support, the back child support is collected through an income withholding order. Under the current rules, a person only has 15 days from the date the first income withholding order is sent to ask for a smaller amount of money to be taken out. This is called asking for a "hardship." To ask for a hardship or reduction, a person must send a written request to lower the amount of money taken for back child support. Send it to your local Child Support Recovery Unit office. The Income Withholding Order has the address.
What happens if a person becomes disabled after the amount of back child support is set? The answer used to be they couldn't do anything. If the 15-day deadline to ask for a hardship reduction had passed, it was too late to ask for any change on that basis. The new rule addresses this problem.
Starting on September 1, 2006, the 15-day deadline no longer applies to Iowans with disabilities. A person who starts getting Social Security disability benefits or Supplemental Security (SSI) benefits can ask for a hardship reduction at any time after they become disabled. They no longer have to do it in the first 15 days. They can ask for a hardship on very old child support orders.
This rule change only applies to people who become persons with a disability according to the Social Security Administration. It does not apply to people who lost their job, had a new child, or had some other change making them unable to pay the back support.
The new rule does not change the amount of back child support a person owes. The amount remains the same. The only change is a person with a disability will pay less each month on his or her back child support.