If a North Carolina parent is entitled to child support, a state disbursement unit may be of assistance in collecting it for and distributing it to that parent. It is also the job of the SDU to accurately identify payments as well as provide payment records to a parent or to a court. It is important to note that the SDU must work on behalf of parents who receive Temporary Assistance to Needy Families.
If a parent is receiving TANF, the state may be able to use some of the child support money it receives to reimburse itself or the federal government. However, the state may also choose to pass on some or all of the support that it collects for a parent receiving such benefits. When parents receive TANF assistance, they are required to assign their child support rights to the state.
Once parents leave the program, they are given back their right to collect support payments. Exceptions may be made in the event of arrearages accrued while receiving benefits. Evidence has shown that pass-through policies that are more generous to parents may increase the odds that noncustodial fathers find jobs as opposed to taking part in the underground economy.
Parents who are entitled to child support payments and are not getting them may wish to talk to an attorney. Legal counsel may be able to help parents work out an arrangement that protects the best interest of the child without putting an undue financial strain on the noncustodial parent. An attorney can also seek a modification of the order on behalf of a noncustodial parent who has suffered a financial downturn such as a job loss.