The Investigators

Dec 4, 2012 11:59 PM

Wrong parent's paycheck garnished for child support

TUCSON - A huge problem for our children in Arizona are dead beat parents not paying their share of support.

It is common to have wages garnished to make sure the money gets to where it's supposed to go.

But imagine if you looked at you paycheck one day and saw money missing, withdrawn for child support for kids you never heard of.

It happened to a woman in California so she turned to the News 4 Tucson Investigators to find out why this happened and how to stop it.

"At this point I'm just trying to get answers as to how my name even and my social number came to this agency," says Claudia Casillas. "And how they can legally deduct money from my paycheck."

Claudia tells us her employer gave her a copy of an Income Withholding Order (IWO) issued by the Division of Child Support Enforcement which is part of the Department of Economic Safety.

Listed on the order are the names of three girls but Claudia has only one child, a son.
"He's 20. Correct," Claudia explains. "And that's the only time I ever given birth. Just once in my life."

Claudia's employer in California told her they have to comply with the order and withdrew $35.96.
Claudia was stunned and worried about her good credit and reputation as she didn't want people to suspect she was a deadbeat parent. She called the Division of Child Support Enforcement located here in Tucson.

"Her reaction was more like, ‘yea, yea. Prove to us, who you are. That these are not your children.'"

The Investigators also called that office. They transferred us to the Attorney General's office who referred us to D.E.S. We wanted to know what steps they take to ensure they have the right person.

In an email statement D.E.S. provided this response:

The State does its best with the identifying information that is provided to it, and we use locate efforts to verify and add other information to ensure we are dealing with the appropriate person. The locate process uses both automated and manual tools using two or more personally identifying elements know to the division based on the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) regulations and guidelines, such as name, date of birth or social security number of the NCP. In this situation, the State had the name and date of birth which provided automated locate information through the Arizona Parent Locate Service, which in turn yielded a social security number, which led to an automated IWO being issued. The person whose SSN was provided to us had a matching first name, last name, birth month and birth year, but the SSN was for the incorrect person.

--Department of Economic Security

There is also a process to contest a garnishment.

And in this case the state says it was a mistake and they've made the moves necessary to correct it.
Claudia is relieved and says, in her opinion, the agency was quicker to respond after the Investigators started making calls.


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