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Boston — Click on a topic for more information: Income Withholding · Modification · Medical Support · Passport Requests · Authorization for Release of Information · What to Remember
The Child Support Enforcement Division (CSE) recognizes that many parents who have a child support case with us are active duty military service members; are being called to active military duty;or are veterans. CSE joins those who thank you for your dedicated service to our country. We want to assist parents with their child support issues as they make the transition from civilian life to full-time military duty or leave active military service.
We want parents to better understand how military duty can or may affect their child support case, specifically regarding Income Withholding; Modification; Medical Support; and Passport Requests.
If you have been called to active duty or planning to enlist, it is important that you:
If you pay child support and the payments are withheld directly from your paycheck, please contact us as soon as possible. We can transfer the income withholding from your civilian employer to the Department of Defense (DFAS) so that your child support will be deducted from your military pay. There may be some delay before the income withholding at DFAS goes into effect. To avoid any lapse in payments during this time, you must make payments on your own using our payment coupons until you see the child support deducted from your military pay.
Military activation may mean a sizeable reduction in monthly income. The change in income may justify a change in the amount of the child support order. Only a court can modify the amount of your child support order; however DOR can help you ask the court for a change to the amount of your child support order. Click here for information about a modification. Remember -- even if your income is reduced due to military activation, you are still responsible for paying the current court order amount on time and in full. DOR will continue to use all available enforcement remedies to collect any past-due support.
If you are ordered to provide health insurance coverage for your children, your call to military duty means your existing insurance coverage will end. However, you may enroll your children in the military health care coverage TRICARE. You must notify us if you will no longer be maintaining your existing health insurance plan, and we can then assist in enrolling your children in the military's TRICARE coverage.
Your call to active military duty may require you to obtain a valid passport prior to deployment. The State Department will refuse to issue or renew passports to parents who owe $2,500 or more in past-due child support. If you owe $2,500 or more in past-due support, please contact us to discuss payment options so that you can obtain your passport.
Authorization for Release of Information
Our policy prevents us from discussing a child support case with anyone other than you or the other parent in the case without your permission. If you have been called to active military duty and want to designate someone else to speak with us on your behalf, you must provide a completed Authorization for Release of Information to us. Once we have this form on file, we will be able to discuss your case with the individual you designate.
What to Remember About Active Duty and Child Support
Currently, we work with veterans who self-identify to our staff or through staff at certain Veteran Advocacy Groups, the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services (DVS), the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), or at other local veterans groups.
Chapter 115 benefits: CSE works with DVS to assist veterans with eligibility for Chapter 115 benefits. Veterans who apply for state-issued Chapter 115 financial assistance may not be eligible if they owe a large amount of past-due child support. CSE will work with the DVS Officers and veterans to negotiate payment agreements where the veteran can get the Chapter 115 benefits if he or she agrees to make payments toward his or her child support obligation and CSE agrees to refrain from using certain enforcement tools (such as driver’s license suspension).
Compensated Work Therapy (CWT): CSE has a long-running collaboration designed to assist veterans in the VA’s CWT project. The goal of the VA CWT–DOR Veteran’s Program is to encourage veterans who owe past-due child support to voluntarily pay a portion of their non-garnishable veteran’s benefits toward the past-due child support. When veterans make those payments, CSE can exempt from levy the first $2,500 of a bank account, exempt the veteran from the assessment of interest and penalty, and forego suspending or revoking the veteran’s driver’s, professional, trade or recreational license or motor vehicle registration.
Only a court can modify the amount of a child support order. If your financial circumstances have changed, for example, your income has decreased; CSE can help you ask the court for a reduction. Click here for more information about a modification of your child support order.
Having trouble paying? Even if you are not receiving Chapter 115 benefits or are not in a CWT program, if you are having trouble paying your current child support and/or paying the past-due support you owe, we may be able to help you: