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Overview of the Federal Offset Program

Published: May 29, 2014

The Federal Offset Program helps states collect delinquent child support debts by enforcing four remedies:

Federal Income Tax Refund Offset

Congress enacted the Federal Income Tax Refund Offset Program to recover delinquent child support debts. This remedy involves the interaction of all state child support agencies and three federal agencies - the Office of Child Support Enforcement, the Bureau of the Fiscal Service, and the Internal Revenue Service.

Administrative Offset

The Debt Collection Improvement Act (DCIA) allows certain federal payments (other than federal tax refunds) to be offset. State participation in the administrative offset program is optional. A case may be submitted for administrative offset when the debt is at least $25 and is 30 days past due, although states have flexibility to determine a higher threshold. Both recurring and nonrecurring payments are eligible for administrative offset.

See the Executive Order 13019 "Supporting Families: Collecting Delinquent Child Support Obligations", September 28, 1996.

Policy and Technical Operations Information

Additional Related Resources

Last Reviewed: June 9, 2016

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