Unemployed parents in Arizona waited through weeks of frustrating system adjustments before the government was able to process their additional $600 per week of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. Now, single fathers say the state is taking much more than they owe in child support and failing to keep track of the overpayments.
Multiple Support Payments Collected, Then Misplaced
As reported in the Arizona Mirror:
Tucson dad Raymond Kingman normally pays $250 a month in child support. The state deducts $275 every week from his unemployment payment. Tempe dad Ty Young has a support order for $450 a month, but the state deducts $375 a week from his unemployment.
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Brett Bezio, the spokesman for the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES), said on May 20 that the state was aware of overpayments and would be processing refunds within five days. He encouraged parents to call the Child Support Services at 800-822-4151 to report any discrepancies.
The problem, the men say, is the state isn’t keeping track of the money. When checking his account online, Young found the state only logged the payment from May 5.
As he told the Mirror:
“That means my last three payments have not been recorded. No communication from DES.”
Kingman has gotten the same information from the Child Support Services hotline. Because the workers don’t see the extra payments in their system, they aren’t able to process refunds.
What Struggling Fathers Can Do In The Meantime
It’s imperative that single fathers look at their unemployment payments closely and report any inaccuracies to Child Support Services, DES, and their state and local representatives. If you’re comfortable talking with the media, reach out to local reporters covering COVID-related news. The more attention this problem gets, the faster the state will provide a solution.
Worried about housing? Gov. Doug Ducey signed an executive order in March which put a stay on evictions and foreclosures from missed rent and mortgage payments. HUD, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have issued their own restrictions. Fathers who are stressing over looming payments can call the Arizona Dept of Housing at 877-448-1211 to discuss their options.
Need help covering the basics? Arizona residents can dial 2-1-1 for more information on how to meet their basic needs. Just a few of the current programs offering additional support during sheltering include:
– Pandemic EBT, extended food assistance
– School meals for households with children
– Delivery of school meals for rural households
– Debt consolidation and tax filing assistance
Resources are also available through ArizonaTogether.org.
We have also heard of states taking single fathers’ stimulus payments, and, in at least one case, even the stimulus payment of a dad’s new wife! If you know of other states that are taking the unemployment benefits or stimulus checks of single dads, let us know in a comment.