Jacksonville, FL–This problem isn’t the end of the world, though I do understand the family being upset over it. But on a larger level, what does this say about child support enforcement? If they can’t correct a simple, obvious error like this after 10 damn years, what does this say about their ability to correct errors and make adjustments in real, ever-changing cases?
When the TV reporter confronts the child support enforcement official, the official says they can “probably” eliminate the fake arrearage–after 10 years they can “probably” fix it?!
From Family Upset Dead Man Still Gets Child Support Bills (www.news4jax.com, 9/9/08):
A Jacksonville man said although his brother has been dead for more than 10 years he is still receiving his child support bills from the state. The bills he said reopen a painful family wound every month it arrives in the mail.
Scottie Peterson died in 1997, but the fact that the man continues to receive monthly statements to pay child support has his family fed up.
“It’s re-opening an old wound every single time,” said the Scottie Peterson’s brother, Donald Peterson.
He said he has made several calls to try to notify the proper agencies about his brother’s death.
“I’ve called agency after agency that has to do with child support in the state of Florida. All of them send me to another 1-800 number or another 877 number or say, ‘this office doesn’t handle it,” Donald Peterson said.
He said he’s tried everything he can to let the state know that his brother, who has a son who is now 21 and a daughter who is 19, is dead.
“They won’t give me an estimate. They won’t give me any information,” Donald Peterson said.
Channel 4 reporter Scott Johnson spoke with a supervisor at the division that handles child support. The supervisor said they have no record of Scottie Peterson’s death, but he said the office “just wants to help them out now and get through this,” and said that they “probably can zero out everything he owes”.
However, Donald Peterson said fixing this problem should have been laid to rest years ago.
“I don’t know what the problem is. This seems to be the most extreme case of passing the buck I’ve ever seen,” Donald Peterson said.
[Note: I posted this post a few days ago, except only the headline came out. I was out of town and did it from my Treo. For some unimaginable reason, when I post from my Treo it sometimes knocks out the text when it publishes. I didn’t have access to a computer and wasn’t aware of the problem until the next day. My apologies.–GS]