Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Economic Impact (Stimulus) Payments and the Treasury Offset Program
- What is an economic impact (stimulus) payment?
- I owe delinquent debt. Will my economic impact payment be offset?
- I do not know if I have a delinquent child support debt. Who can I call to check?
- If I qualify for an economic impact payment, and I have children, how much will I receive?
- Is there a limit to the amount my economic impact payment can be offset to satisfy my delinquent child support debt?
- What child support obligations are referred by the state to the TOP?
- What if I think my economic impact payment should not have been offset?
- Please complete and return the appeal form by e-mail to the office handling your child support case or mail to:
- When will the economic impact payment be applied to my child support account and payment released to the parent who receives support?
- What if I am not the responsible party that owed the delinquent child support debt?
- What if I have additional questions about the economic impact payments? Am I eligible? What if I don't file a tax return? How will I get the payment?
On March 27, 2020, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security ("CARES") Act, which, among other things, authorizes economic impact payments (also referred to as "stimulus payments" or "recovery rebate payments") to eligible individuals. For details on these economic impact payments, please visit www.irs.gov/coronavirus
The economic impact payments can be offset through the Treasury Offset Program (TOP) only to collect delinquent child support obligations that have been referred by the state to TOP.
Individuals whose adjusted gross income was less than $75,000 and those who filed as head of household with an adjusted gross income less than $112,500 will receive $1,200. Married couples filing jointly who make less than $150,000 will receive $2,400. For people who make more, the payment amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 above the $75,000/$112,500/$150,000 income thresholds. Parents also receive an additional $500 for each qualifying child. Those who file single with incomes exceeding $99,000, $136,500 for head of household, or $198,000 for joint filers with no children are not eligible and will not receive payments.
The economic impact payments can be offset through the TOP up to the full amount of delinquent child support obligations that have been referred by the state to TOP.
The threshold varies by the type of arrears owed. A case with public assistance arrears is eligible if the total balance from all of the parent's cases who owes support is at least $150. For non-public assistance arrears, the total balance from all of his or her cases must be at least $500 to be eligible.
If you believe that you do not owe past-due child support, for limited reasons you may dispute the intercept of your economic impact payment. Grounds for dispute must meet one of the following criteria:
- Whether the debt amount is a correct statement of the debt that has accrued under or been established by a court order or administrative decision;
- Whether there is a court order prohibiting collection. NOTE: a court order setting regular payments on arrears does not limit the use of a federal intercept for enforcement of a liquidated debt;
- Whether DSER is authorized or required by state or federal law to submit the debt, or may do so pursuant to an application or contract for support enforcement services with an individual in connection with past-due non-TANF related child support or alimony; or
- Whether the responsible parent and DSER have executed a written agreement that expressly exempts the responsible parent from submittal for federal offset of the debt.
If you believe your situation meets the above criteria, please access the appeal form or contact the DSER office handling your child support case by phone or e-mail to have the form sent to you:
- SanfordChildSupport.email@example.com, 1-800-482-0790
- PortlandChildSupport.firstname.lastname@example.org, 1-800-482-7520
- LewistonChildSupport.email@example.com, 1-800-482-7517
- AugustaChildSupport.firstname.lastname@example.org, 1-800-452-1926
- RocklandChildSupport.email@example.com, 1-800-432-7802
- BangorChildSupport.firstname.lastname@example.org, 1-800-432-7825
- EllsworthChildSupport.email@example.com, 1-800-432-7823
- CaribouChildSupport.firstname.lastname@example.org, 1-800-432-7366
- IGOChildSupport.email@example.com, 1-800-452-1926 (For noncustodial parents that reside outside the State of Maine)
Division of Support Enforcement and Recovery (DSER)
109 Capitol Street, 2nd Floor
Augusta, ME 04333
If the parent who owes support files a joint tax return with his/her spouse, it may take up to six (6) months for the payment to be applied and distributed to the parent who receives support. This allows the spouse of a parent responsible for support to appeal as an injured spouse as described below.
If you are receiving your economic impact payment jointly with your spouse and only the spouse owes the child support debt, you can file an injured spouse form with the IRS. Please visit the IRS website at https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/about-form-8379 to file your claim.
You can also choose to waive your right to file an injured spouse claim by completing a Request to Release IRS Joint Refund. By completing this form and sending it to DSER, the amount of the economic impact payment can be applied to the child support arrearage without the otherwise required six-month delay.