ARRA Restores Federal Match for Child Support Incentive Payments
On March 26, 2009, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the availability of an estimated $1 billion in funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA, P.L. 111-5) for state child support enforcement (CSE) programs. The funding is a result of an ARRA provision that temporarily suspends section 7309 of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2006 (DRA) for fiscal years (FYs) 2009 and 2010. The new law requires the federal government to resume matching expenditures of federal child support incentive payments for those two years. The DRA provision had reduced federal child support funding to states by approximately 20% by eliminating the federal match on incentive payments. States should find the policy change a relief, as the elimination of the federal match, coupled with the current economic downturn, has required many states to either implement program cuts within their CSE programs or increase state general fund spending to maintain program operations.