Families in New York could soon have an easier time locating and collecting unclaimed child support funds under a new measure signed into law Friday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The law creates a new process for claiming funds that have been turned over to the state comptroller's office, essentially creating a destination for families to find unclaimed money.
"Many parents who struggle economically rely on child support payments for basic household needs," Cumo said. "Unfortunately, the bureaucratic process to claim these payments has made it impossible for some to access these funds. With this new law, we are simplifying what has always been an unnecessarily difficult administrative process and making it more efficient for families to receive the funds they are owed."
The measure is meant to address what supporters call an outdated process for local districts of social service to petition Family Court and have the money be deposited to a county treasurer's office. The money must remain there for five years before it can be turned over to the state comptroller. The law signed by Cuomo ends the Family Court application and sets a two year window for local districts of social service to find money families are entitled to receive, reducing the time taken to search for the money.
"For families struggling to make ends meet, every dollar counts, and having child support payments get caught up in layers of bureaucracy just creates additional hardship and stress," Cuomo said. "By streamlining the process of matching payments with families, we will take a small step toward easing the burden."
Supporters point to child support access helping families avoid sliding into poverty.
"I am proud to have worked alongside OTDA on this important bill which will make sure that child support payments go where they are intended to go - to help support children - by cutting through unnecessary bureaucratic and judicial red tape and delay," Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein added.