Arrears Payment Incentive Program
When noncustodial parents with child support obligations become unemployed, incarcerated or unable to pay their obligations for another reason, they accumulate arrears both to the custodial parent and the state. The Texas Arrears Payment Incentive Program was established to encourage noncustodial parents to pay their current support obligations and to begin paying against their arrears.
How the Program Works
For noncustodial parents with a current obligation and state-owed arrears, the program provides matching credits if the noncustodial parent pays the current obligation AND an additional amount toward the arrears. For example, an individual with a $100 per month child support obligation who paid his or her $100 obligation and also made a $20 payment toward their state-owed arrears would reduce their state-owed arrears by $40 ($20 paid + $20 matching credit).
For noncustodial parents without a current obligation but with current arrears, any payment made toward the state-owed arrears is matched by the state dollar for dollar. In other words, a $20 payment toward the state-owed arrears would reduce those arrears by a total of $40.
Arrears Payment Incentive Program Pilot Evaluation
The Child Support Division of the Texas Office of the Attorney General (OAG) worked with Dr. Carolyn Heinrich and CFRP to study the implementation of a mini-pilot Arrears Payment Incentive Program, including options for increasing participation in the program and for increasing the amount paid by noncustodial parents toward their current obligations, state-owed arrears, and the arrears owed to custodial parents. This CFRP study assessed the factors that influence payments toward arrears and the program’s effects. CFRP provided support in disseminating information about the program and made recommendations to inform the future expansion of the program. The evaluation of the mini-pilot program is complete.
Information sessions were held during the summer of 2013 to answer questions about the program and assist with enrollment for qualifying cases.
Evaluation of HEROES (Help Establishing Orders Ensuring Support) for Children in Military Families Project