September 30, 2010

Franchot Recovers Hundreds of Thousands in Child Support Payments

Annapolis, MD. (September 30, 2010) – Reaffirming his goal to use modern technology for the benefit of Maryland taxpayers, Comptroller Peter Franchot announced today his office will be paying more than 1,200 delinquent child support accounts from the agency’s unclaimed property fund. The payments are made possible by using the agency’s computers to cross-reference state files; files provided thanks to House Bill 963, sponsored by Delegate Galen Clagett.

The legislation allows the Comptroller’s office to regularly cross check its Unclaimed Property accounts with the Department of Human Resources file of delinquent child support payers. When matches are found, the Comptroller’s Office directs those funds to DHR, who then makes sure they get to the children and the families who are owed the money.

“I commend Delegate Clagett for his leadership and for his persistence in fighting for this bill,” said Comptroller Franchot. “As we have the technology to run these matches, my agency runs delinquent tax payers through multiple databases on a regular basis and it only makes sense that we do the same with delinquent child support payments. This law helps ensure that the families who are counting on these funds to help make ends meet get what they are owed.”

Comptroller Franchot testified in support of Delegate Clagett’s bill during the 2009 and 2010 Session. During a test run after the bill’s first introduction, the Comptroller’s Office found over 1,600 matching accounts totaling more than $670,000. The Comptroller was very pleased to see the bi-partisan support that led to the bill’s passage this past session.

“We are very happy to have gotten this important bill through after 2 years of hard work,” said Delegate Clagett. “I am delighted that it is working and helping to get money back into the hands of the children and families who so desperately need it.”

In preparing the first remittance for the interception of unclaimed property accounts to offset delinquent Child Support payments, the Comptroller’s office is sending money to 1,281 accounts totaling $458,403.00. The amount being transferred will be significantly lower in future years due to the fact that this is a clean up on all unclaimed property records. Future payments will only match against current owner accounts. Financial institutions, utility and insurance companies and other corporations are required to report to the Comptroller any bank accounts, security deposits, wages, insurances benefits and contents of safe deposit boxes that have been unclaimed after three years. Funds remain the property of the owners or their legitimate heirs and can be claimed anytime. There is no statue of limitations. The agency has records on approximately 800,000 accounts worth more than $900 million.

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