It’s hard to believe, but the head of child support collections for Idaho says that unemployment is the “‘unexpected’ silver lining to Idaho’s economic malaise.” Why? Because it’s easy to garnish dads’ unemployment checks!

This is the typical attitude of child support enforcement officials–their job is to collect as much money as possible, regardless of whether the dad is poor or homeless (not to mention if he has been unfairly denied the right to be a part of his children’s lives or isn’t even the father of the child). Federal incentives which reimburse states for their child support enforcement operations feed the problem, since they also largely ignore these issues.

From Higher Idaho joblessness yields child-support cash (Idaho Statesman, 1/25/09):

BOISE, Idaho (AP) – Idaho’s rising jobless rate is apparently helping the state collect child support, as Department of Health and Welfare collectors garnish unemployment benefits.

Director Richard Armstrong told the Joint Finance-Appropriations budget writing committee Tuesday that rising collections from deadbeat dads have been an “unexpected” silver lining to Idaho’s economic malaise.

Some who historically haven’t paid child support have now filed to collect unemployment benefits after joblessness more than doubled in a year to 6.6%, the highest in more than 20 years.

Armstrong says his employees can more easily garnish deadbeats’ state checks – including to cover payments that are months in arrears.

How long this boost lasts is unclear. State unemployment benefits generally end after a maximum of 26 weeks.

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