Friday

Charging for Child Support: Exploitation of the Poor



While the video is about Virginia, this is applicable to many states and I will speak about my favorite: Florida.

If you are a recipient of child support collected by the state (in Florida= the Department of Revenue (DOR), Child Support Enforcement (CSE)) you have several ways in which you can receive your monies: paper check, direct deposit, or debit card. There are pros and cons to each. You must wait on a paper check to come in the mail. You must give up personal information about your bank (which you may have already done when you opened a TANF case) account. Or you could just access the money via a simple card, right? I mean, you don't have to give them any further information...and the money is deposited immediately...

Well, first off, if you use the child support debit card like you do any other debit card, then "someone" has a record of all of your purchases. Big brother is watching. I'm sure some child support paying fathers would love to have access to this information, but it is truly none of anyone's business. Second, if indeed you swipe that card here and there, it would be akin to taxing all of your purchases because of the fees. Try withdrawing your money in increments and you'll be taxing it again.

It doesn't sound like much, but 50 ¢ + 50¢ + $1.50 + $2, really can add up. That's gas money, bread, medical insurance co-payment money, etc.

It seems that states are really getting off on making profits on people's misery (see In Texas and Florida--Court Ordered Extortion: Because "Families Are Worth Saving").

And you thought the poor weren't paying taxes!!!!!

Debit card fees bite into child support payments

TROUTVILLE, Virginia (CNN) -- For the past year, Donna Chamberlain has worked at a fuel center here in Virginia's Roanoke Valley. It pays roughly half of what her old job did, but after being out of work for 14 months, she feels lucky to have it.

Adding to her concerns, she and her husband, Steve, are now the custodial parents of their 7-year-old special-needs grandson, Cayden. The family needs every penny it can collect.

So when state officials replaced the roughly $40-a-week child support check with a debit card, Donna read the fine print -- and left it on the table.

"It was automatically generated, and had my name on it," she told CNN. "This thing had 10 fees." Watch Chamberlain discuss the hidden fees Video

Virginia is one of two dozen states that use debit cards as one means of distributing child support payments, a move that allows them to reduce the amount of money spent issuing and mailing checks.

But the fees attached to the debit cards can accumulate quickly: 50 cents to make a telephone balance inquiry; 65 cents to make an ATM withdrawal after two free withdrawals are taken; and $2.75 if the card is used at an out-of-network bank.

Chamberlain found one charge particularly galling. North Carolina-based banking giant Wachovia, which distributes the funds on Virginia's behalf, said it would deduct $2.50 from her account for more than one face-to-face visit at one of its banks...



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2 advocates for peace:

Glenn's Cult? Mar 28, 2009 12:16:00 AM  

I refused the card and was forced to provide my bank account information or I would NOT receive my checks. I am in a state that uses the debit cards.

Rj Mar 29, 2009 9:08:00 AM  

I originally thought the card would be the easy way to go....I had NO idea about the fees though. I never got it though anyway, even though they were trying to make it seem like they were forcing it on us.



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