University of Wisconsin–Madison

Pass-Through & Disregard

The child support enforcement system serves the dual roles of transferring resources from noncustodial to custodial parents and of recovering funds government spends on custodial parents and children involved in social welfare programs. Federal policy allows states flexibility in dividing between families and government the child support collected on behalf of families receiving government benefits. State policy determines the amount that is retained by the state versus “passed through” to custodial parents receiving government benefits. It also determines the extent to which child support payment or receipt is taken into account or disregarded in determining program eligibility or benefit amounts.