Friday, October 26, 2001

State will reimburse poor families

By Liz Sidoti
The Associated Press

        COLUMBUS — Gov. Bob Taft on Thursday signed into law a bill that allows the state to pay back $38 million plus interest in overdue child-support payments and income-tax refunds that were improperly withheld from poor families.

        The law requires counties to audit up to 160,000 child-support cases from a three-year period to determine which families are owed money.

        The state wrongly pocketed money to offset the cost of welfare benefits that families had received.

        The state admitted in February that it did not reprogram the child-support computer system, which calculates and distributes payments, in accordance with a 1996 federal welfare-reform law.

        As a result, the state illegally withheld millions in overdue child-support payments and income-tax refunds from former welfare recipients as reimbursements.


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