Governor Cuomo signs law making it easier to find & receive child support payments

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Press release from 

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation (S.7153/A.7942) making it easier for families to locate and collect their unclaimed child support payments. The new law establishes an efficient, streamlined process for unclaimed funds to be turned to the State Comptroller's Office, where families then can more efficiently locate the payments they are entitled to receive.

"Many parents who struggle economically rely on child support payments for basic household needs. Unfortunately, the bureaucratic process to claim these payments has made it impossible for some to access these funds," Governor Cuomo said. "With this new law, we are simplifying what has always been an unnecessarily difficult administrative process and making it more efficient for families to receive the funds they are owed."

Child support is critical to keeping families out of poverty. In some cases, parents who need to receive payments cannot be located by the local districts of social service (LDSS), responsible for administering the payments, or a payment is received without enough identifying information to match it to the right account. This has resulted in tens of millions of dollars of undistributed funds across New York State.

Under current law, LDSS must follow an outdated process that requires them to petition the Family Court to allow the funds to be deposited with the County Treasurer, where they must remain for five years before they can be turned over to the State Comptroller. This process results in seven years or longer before the funds are part of a transparent and easily searched database on the Comptroller's website.

The new law eliminates the requirement for LDSS to apply to Family Court, and requires two years of diligent efforts by LDSS to locate the family entitled to the funds. After two years, the funds are seamlessly transferred to the State Comptroller's Office of Unclaimed Funds, so families can locate and claim this money as expeditiously as possible.

Senator Liz Krueger said, "For families struggling to make ends meet, every dollar counts, and having child support payments get caught up in layers of bureaucracy just creates additional hardship and stress. By streamlining the process of matching payments with families, we will take a small step toward easing the burden."

Assemblymember Helene Weinstein said, "I am proud to have worked alongside OTDA on this important bill which will make sure that child support payments go where they are intended to go - to help support children - by cutting through unnecessary bureaucratic and judicial red tape and delay."