In FY 2017, the child support program collected $28.6 billion on 14.2 million IV-D cases. The average amount collected per IV-D case was $2,012. This amount varied considerably across IV-D jurisdictions. As shown in Figure 1, New Jersey collected the most per case in FY 2017 ($3,507) and Virgin Islands collected the least ($619).
Figure 1. 2017 IV-D Collections per Case
There are many factors that influence collections per case. One of these factors is a state's distribution of case types, which fall into one of three categories:
- Current Assistance: Cases that are receiving cash assistance from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program or IV-E foster care maintenance payments.
- Former Assistance: Cases that formerly received cash assistance from TANF or IV-E foster care maintenance payments.
- Never Assistance: Cases that never received cash assistance from TANF or IV-E foster care maintenance payments.
In FY 2017, Current Assistance cases represented 9.3 percent of the national caseload, Former Assistance cases represented 42.3 percent, and Never Assistance cases represented 48.5 percent. The national average collected per case was $538 for Current Assistance cases, $1,433 for Former Assistance cases, and $2,799 for Never Assistance cases. Thus, states that have a larger percent of Current Assistance cases in their caseload than the national average will tend to have lower overall collections per case. In contrast, states that have a larger percent of Never Assistance cases in their caseload than the national average will tend to have higher overall collections per case.
We examined collections per state if all states had the same distribution of case types as the national average. As Figure 2 shows, California would gain the most collections per case ($612) and Texas would lose the most (-$433). That is because, when compared to other states, California has the largest percent of Current Assistance cases (23%), an above average percent of Former Assistance cases (55%), and the lowest percent of Never Assistance cases (22%). In contrast, Texas has the lowest percent of Current Assistance cases (3%), a below average percent of Former Assistance cases (26%), and among the highest percent of Never Assistance cases (71%).
Figure 2. Change in Collections per Case if All States Had the Same Distributions of Case Types as the National Average
As noted above, there are many factors that affect collections per case. We looked at just one factor — the distribution of case types. Looking at other factors would yield different results.
We welcome your comments. Please send them to DPSASupport@acf.hhs.gov.
Source for both figures: Authors' analysis of OCSE-157 data