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Attaching Unemployment Benefits

Child Support Services utilizes several enforcement methods to ensure that the children we serve receive financial support.  Attaching unemployment benefits is one way to avoid a lapse in support when the parent who pays support is laid off.

Below are the most commonly asked questions by the parents who pay support and by those who receive support.  If you have further questions, about attaching unemployment benefits, please contact Child Support Customer Service at: 208-334-2479 (Boise area) or Toll Free 1-800-356-9868.

I just got laid off my job, how can I pay my child support obligation?
Child Support can attach up to 50% of the weekly benefit amount to pay towards your child support. Before your unemployment benefits are attached you will be notified of the amount we intend to attach. 

The Idaho Department of Labor will only withhold up to 50% of the weekly benefit amount (before taxes are withheld) regardless of the amount requested by Child Support.
If you would like to pay more than the amount that will be attached you can send in additional payments.

How do you determine how much to withhold from unemployment benefits?
The amount of your unemployment benefit attachment will depend on the amount you are court ordered to pay each month for child support.  If you also owe past due support, the attachment will include an amount to be paid towards the amount that is owed. If the court order specifies a monthly amount to be paid on the past due support, the unemployment attachment will be based on that amount.

If the case is for past due support only, the percentage of the attachment will depend on the weekly benefit amount.

Federal and State Laws allow Child Support to attach up to fifty percent (50%) of the weekly benefit amount for child support.

What if the amount that I have been noticed for is more than I can afford?
Child Support must collect current support, but we can negotiate the monthly amount withheld for past due support.  Contact Child Support Customer Service to discuss your options with your Case Manager.
The Idaho Department of Labor will only withhold up to 50% of the weekly benefit amount (before taxes are withheld) regardless of the amount requested by Child Support.

The 2-1-1 Idaho Care Line provides a listing of agencies that can help you find a job or find a better paying job. After you access 2-1-1 Idaho Care Line, click on 'Get Help' and then select 'Employment' under the column titled Services.

Will Child Support attach my unemployment benefits even when I am not behind in my support obligation?
No. Your Child Support debt does not qualify for unemployment attachment until you are at least 1 month behind on paying your support.

If you are not 1 month behind and you want Child Support to attach your unemployment benefits, Child Support Services will only attach for the amount you owe in current support.  You can call our Child Support Customer Service line if you have never been notified of Child Support attaching your unemployment benefits and you would like us to withhold for you. To voluntarily have your unemployment benefits attached you will be waiving your right to be notified.

Will you continue to withhold unemployment benefits if my case becomes current?
Yes.  If the past due support has been paid, and only current support is due, the attachment will be adjusted and the corrected amount will be sent to the Department of Labor.

My case (debt) is paid in full.  Why are you still collecting my benefits?
When your child support obligation has been paid in full, a closure is sent electronically to the Department of Labor to stop the attachment.  Sometimes the Department of Labor does not receive the closure in time to stop the attachment for the current week.

Please contact your Case Manager to verify that the attachment has been closed and to have any overpayment refunded to you.

My income is much lower with unemployment benefits, how can I get my child support payment changed?
You can request to have your child support order reviewed to determine if it qualifies under Idaho law to be modified. The parent who requests the order be reviewed is the parent who will be required to pay the legal costs involved. Those costs include court costs and attorney fees.  To request a review, complete the Modification Request form and mail to your local Child Support office. Upon receipt, Child Support will send to you a Limited Services Agreement that you will be required to complete and sign. Child Support will not conduct a review of your order until this agreement is received from you.

You do not have to get the help of Child Support Services to have your child support order modified.  You can get free legal forms through the Idaho Court Assistance Office that you can file with the court on your own (referred to as "pro se") to request your child support order be modified. You can either complete this process on your own or hire a private attorney to help you.  You can obtain these legal forms at the Idaho Court Assistance Office website.

If the parent paying child support applies for unemployment benefits, when can I expect to receive a payment?
Typically, the custodial parent receives a check within 4 to 6 weeks after the unemployment claim can be recorded on the Child Support automated system.  Before unemployment benefits can be attached, Child Support must notice the NCP and allow 14 days to request an administrative review.  After the 14 days has passed, the attachment is sent electronically to the Department of Labor.  A collection is received the week following the attachment.

Why didn’t I get a child support payment when the other parent is still drawing unemployment benefits?
When there is more than four (4) weeks in a month, the NCP may have already met the maximum amount that can be attached for a month.  When this happens, the Custodial Parent will not receive a payment from the 5th week of benefits.

In the past, I received child support payments from unemployment benefits.  Why aren’t you collecting from the other parent's unemployment now?
Sometimes when a claim is closed and then re-opened, the attachment may need to be activated manually, by the case manager.  If you know that the NCP is receiving unemployment benefits, and you have not received a payment, contact Child Support Customer Service.