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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and Child Support Services - Updates

We understand that the current fight against the spread of COVID-19 is ever-changing. This page is dedicated to posting important child support related news that might affect you and your family. Please continue to check this page for updates.

As always, if you have any questions or need assistance regarding your child support, please contact your local district office or our Central Information Unit at 603-271-4427 or 1-800-852-3345 ext. 4427. You can email us at BCSS-CIU@dhhs.nh.gov. Please know we are experiencing a very high volume of calls and e-mails at this time.

Thank you for visiting us and for your continued patience. Please stay safe and healthy.

Child Support Offices The priority of the Department of Health and Human Services is to ensure the health and safety of all those we serve. In an effort to slow the spread of illness, beginning Wednesday, March 18, 2020 until further notice, the Bureau of Child Support Services is conducting all appointments by phone only. All Child Support Services are currently available. However, offices are currently not open to the public. If you had an appointment scheduled with us for any reason, or have an upcoming child support-related court hearing, and you have not heard from us, please contact us as soon as possible in one of the following ways:

Child Support Response to CoronavirusWe are here to help you through this challenging time. The New Hampshire Bureau of Child Support Services is working closely with its partner agencies and stakeholders on federal, state and local levels to address and respond to the Coronavirus safely and effectively. This letter shares important information about what you can expect and how you can take action.

What You Can Expect
Our services will continue to be available. While we have suspended in-office customer service, we are available by phone and e-mail to respond to your concerns and questions.

We will continue to process payments. We will continue to distribute child support to families within 48 hours. We recognize that consistent child support is more important than ever. We do not anticipate any delay due to the coronavirus in the processing of payments.

We can help if you are financially affected by the Coronavirus. We may be able to help you to modify your order. We can also connect you with community services that can help.

Please continue to make payments. Your support may make all the difference in your child’s life during this period. We understand there may be challenges. We may be able to assist you with this.

What Can I Do? Stay On Track With Your Child Support

Sign up for our e-ChildSupport portal at https://e-childsupport.dhhs.nh.gov/customer/ to view case information, view payment information, update your contact information, and e-mail questions to your caseworker – all from the comfort of your home.

Sign up for direct deposit if you are a parent who receives support. Direct deposit will allow you to manage your child support payments online. You can obtain a copy of the direct deposit form at our website at https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dcss/directdeposit.htm

Get current payment information on your case by calling 1-800-371-8844, available 24/7.

Visit New Hampshire 2-1-1 to find essential services in your location. New Hampshire 2-1-1 is a free, confidential service that connects you with community and government services in your area. Dial 2-1-1 to connect to a trained professional or visit online at www.211nh.org.

What If I’m Scheduled For A Court Hearing?
Check with the court if you are scheduled for a hearing. If you are scheduled for a court hearing, contact the court at 1-855-212-1234 or by email at familyservice@courts.state.nh.us to confirm if it is still on as scheduled or been rescheduled. Many hearings have be changed to a new date and will be conducted telephonically.

What If I Lost My Job And I Can’t Pay Support?
Request modification of your order if you have lost your job. We can work with you to pursue a review and possible modification of your obligation. Your obligation amount may be modified by the court due to a substantial change in circumstance.

Pursue Employment Services. To find out more about unemployment benefits, go to www.nhes.nh.gov.

If you are the paying parent and Income Withholding is not possible. You can make payments by any methods described in the “HOW TO MAKE YOUR PAYMENTS”, found here: https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dcss/payor.htm

Will My Unemployment Benefits Be Garnished To Pay My Support?The Bureau of Child Support Services (BCSS) provides its services following state and federal laws and regulations. BCSS activities only apply to parents and caregivers who utilize its services.

When a parent who pays support receives Unemployment Compensation Benefits (UCB), BCSS collects support directly from that benefit. Twenty percent (20%) of the UCB (or what is legally ordered, whichever is less) is withheld by NH Employment Security and sent to BCSS to distribute in accordance with Administrative Rules. This practice has been in effect since 1987 and is an automated process between NH Employment Security and the Department of Health and Human Services.

If you are the paying parent, you can voluntarily increase the amount of the intercept to pay your support. Please contact us to learn how.

If you need to speak with someone in BCSS directly regarding Unemployment Intercepts for Child Support, please contact us at BCSS-CIU@dhhs.nh.gov or by phone at 603-271-4427 or 1-800-852-3345 ext. 4427. Please know we are experiencing a very high volume of calls and e-mails at this time.

Will My Federal “Stimulus Payment” Be Taken To Pay Child Support?
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 are subject to interception for past-due child support. The CARES legislation specifically set in place the same process Child Support agencies already use for collecting past-due support through the Federal Offset Program by intercepting federal tax refunds. Pursuant to federal authority, the U.S. Treasury intercepts the support owed from federal income tax refunds, and sends it to BCSS.

BCSS reached out to the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement and was informed that the Economic Impact Payment issued under the CARES Act is not exempt from child support, and therefore is being intercepted and sent to BCSS. Neither the CARES Act nor the federal government have provided any options for states to treat the Economic Impact Payment differently.

Additional questions may be answered by visiting the IRS website at:
www.irs.gov/newsroom/economic-impact-payments-what-you-need-to-know

If you need to speak with someone in BCSS directly regarding the Child Support intercept of a federal Economic Impact Payment, please contact us at BCSS-CIU@dhhs.nh.gov or by phone at 603-271-4427 or 1-800-852-3345 ext. 4427. Please know we are experiencing a very high volume of calls and e-mails at this time.

Please reach out if you have questions or concerns.

You can contact us at 1-800-852-3345 or 603-271-4427,
or by e-mail at BCSS-CIU@dhhs.nh.gov

 
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