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Chicago agencies seek change in welfare and child support rules

Illinois law currently dictates that only $50 out of each child support payment can go to a mother who's already on welfare. The remainder of a father's payment is sent back to the state of Illinois in order to help pay back the welfare benefits that have been provided to the mother. While this is often seen as a fair way for the government to recoup taxpayers' money, some organizations are claiming that non-custodial fathers may be more likely to consistently make their payments if they knew that more of their money was actually going to their children.

A representative for one of the Chicago agencies is lobbying to get the law changed> He states that the current situation can be dispiriting for fathers who are trying to get their lives on the right path. He claims that his organization encourages non-custodial fathers to avoid being deadbeats and support their children. However, many of the fathers he helps only make around $15 an hour, meaning that the fathers can end up having to pay out 65 percent of their earnings. The man states that the fathers could handle this situation better if they knew that more of the money was going directly to their kids.

One spokesperson from Illinois Child Support Services stated that while her department cannot comment on the proposed changes to the child support law, the ideas behind the campaign are solid. She claimed that the agencies trying to get the law changed are using one of the most favorable approaches she's seen for supporting responsible fatherhood.

The amount of money that the new legislation will propose is not yet known. The federal government currently permits states to give $100 out of each child support payment to a family on welfare that has one child. For custodial mothers that have two or more kids, the federal government allows a maximum of $200 per payment. If the legislation is successfully created and passed, it may motivate low-income fathers to make their required payments.

Source: chicagotribune.com, "Welfare law formula 'doesn't support the family'" Dawn Turner Trice, Dec. 18, 2013

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