As we are frequently reminded in the press, the new requirements for passports have complicated travel during the past summer for many tourists. However, a more unknown passport requirement has uncovered many individuals who have not paid child support and has forced them to pay millions of dollars in child support arrearages. The State Department denies passports to non-custodial parents who owe more than $2,500.00 in child support. Such individuals are usually caught when they either attempt to obtain their passport or renew their passport. Once the parents make good on their child support arrearages, they can obtain their passport or reapply for their passport.
The passport denial program is just one of several tools the federal government has to collect overdue child support. Other methods by which the government collects child support arrears include withholding money from a worker’s paycheck and unemployment insurance. In addition, state and federal income tax refunds can also be seized. In some states, lottery departments also can deduct delinquent child support payments from winnings. Some states submit names of those behind on their payments to credit reporting agencies. In Florida, a common method of penalizing individuals falling behind in the payment of child support is the suspension of their driver’s license and, in some cases, professional licenses.
Another jump in collections from Passport Denial Program can be expected in 2008 or in early 2009. That’s when the new passport requirements will likely take effect for land and sea travelers as well as air travelers.