PIERRE, SD (KELO) — South Dakota Child Support Commission made a big change to its recommendations.
The commission no longer wants a custodial parent who currently receives a full payment to receive a lower amount.
The commission previously recommended cuts for low-income parents.
Indeed, many noncustodial parents in South Dakota struggle to make full monthly payments to custodial parents, especially when both parents have lower combined net incomes.
The theory was that the cuts would make it easier for low-income non-custodial parents to make full payments and reduce the need for enforcement action.
Virgena Wieseler, who oversees various children’s programs for the state Department of Social Services, told the commission on Friday that the frequency was “about half and half” in the lower combined income brackets than parents. non-custodial parents actually make full payments to custodial parents each month.
The commission was expected to deliver its report to the governor and the Legislative Assembly and complete its work by December 31, 2021. Governor Kristi Noem, however, issued a decree of December 30 extend the commission until March 31, 2022.
Its extension came on the heels of the committee proposing the cuts for low-income parents at its last meeting on November 18.
Representing mike stevensa member of the commission, said Friday that it would be difficult for him to explain to other lawmakers why the commission recommended cutting support for lower incomes as inflation drove up prices.
The commission’s report remains unfinished. Wieseler told the committee on Friday that the draft would be reworked in the coming days and then sent to members for final review.
This is important, because the legislature will decide whether or not to put the commission’s recommendations into state law. the legislative session 2022 opens Tuesday, January 11 and is scheduled to run through March 28.
South Dakota Supreme Court Justice Scott Myren chairs the commission. “The legislative session starts next week, so time is running out,” Myren said.
No one at Friday’s meeting publicly mentioned the governor, other than the executive order. Wieseler said she showed the November recommendations to people at the Department of Human Services and questions were asked about the cuts. No one else has spoken about the source of the concerns.
The reductions that the commission originally recommended November 18 would have affected the parents differently, depending on the amount of their combined monthly income.
These reductions would have applied to the following levels:
- For parents of one child, a combined net monthly income of $5,700 or less.
- For parents of two children, a combined net monthly income of $3,350 or less.
- For parents of three or four children, a combined net monthly income of $2,300 or less.
- For parents of five children, a combined net monthly income of $2,200 or less.
- For parents of six children, a combined net monthly income of $2,450 or less.
Instead, the commission recommended on Friday a different schedule, known as option Awhich consultant Jane Venohr developed at Wieseler’s request.
“The consequence is that there is no change to low income,” Venohr said. She later added, “It does no harm to the families who are now receiving their full child support.”
The proposal adopted on Friday would increase the amounts over much of the schedule and eliminate all previously recommended reductions.
For example, for a child whose parents have a combined net monthly income of $950 or less, the current schedule provides for the non-custodial parent to pay $79 per month to the custodial parent. This amount would have been reduced to $50 per month under the November recommendation. Under option A, it would remain at $79.
For a child whose parents have a combined net monthly income of $1,101 to $1,150, the current schedule provides for a payment of $266 per month. That would have gone down to $77. Under option A, it would remain at $266.
After the meeting, the governor’s spokesperson made this statement to KELOLAND News. “As the cost of living in the country has risen, the council have met to further analyze any decrease in child support,” said Ian Fury.