Vol 47 No 47 MAY 26 - JUNE 1, 2005
INTERCEPT PROGRAM REDIRECTS LOTTERY WINNINGS
CHILD AND WELFARE BENEFITS
GOVERNOR PATAKI ANNOUNCES LOTTERY PRIZE MONEY RECOUPED
Governor George E. Pataki announced that New York State
recouped nearly $5 million in outstanding child support payments
and public assistance repayments from lottery winners during the
State's 2004-05 fiscal year, through New York's Lottery Intercept Program.
"We are proud of our efforts to increase child support collections to
record levels in this State and ensure that children and families
receive the support they deserve. If someone who has failed to pay
child support has the good fortune to win a lottery prize, we want
to also ensure that their children share in that good fortune and get
what is legally and morally entitled to them," Governor Pataki said. "It
is also reasonable to require former public assistance recipients, who
enjoy a financial windfall thanks to the lottery, to pay back at least a
portion of what they were given in assistance."
Governor Pataki fought for the establishment of the Lottery Intercept,
which was enacted in 1995. The State matches the names of lottery
winners with files from the State Office of Temporary and Disability
Assistance (OTDA), identifying those who owe back child support or
who have received welfare benefits up to 10 years prior to winning a
The program can deduct up to 100 percent of winnings for delinquent
child support and up to 50 percent to repay welfare benefits. If the lottery
winner fits both criteria, the child support arrears are paid first.
In the 2004-05 Fiscal Year, there were 1,057 intercepts for child
support totaling $711,660 and 5,102 intercepts for public
assistance programs totaling more than $4.2 million. This
represents an increase over the previous year, when the total
child support collected under this program was $510,893 to
go along with $3.7 million recouped from public assistance recipients.
Since its inception, the program has intercepted nearly $10
million for child support and more than $25 million in public
Child support payments in New York topped $1.4 billion in
2004 a $65 million increase over 2003. The collections included
$538 million for New York City, an increase of 157 percent over
1994 and $911 million for the rest of state, an increase of 123
percent since 1994.
OTDA Commissioner Robert Doar said, "The intercept is one of
many initiatives championed by Governor Pataki that have gained
New York State national prominence for collection efforts. Thanks
to the Governor's leadership, more children than ever are being
supported by both parents. Governor Pataki made this a priority
when he took office and the results speak for themselves."
New York Lottery Director Nancy A. Palumbo said, "We are pleased
to assist Governor Pataki in his efforts to ensure that children and
families in New York State receive the support they deserve. The
Governor's utilization of technology and agency partnership within
the state system has enabled the Lottery to partner with the OTDA
and greatly benefit the State's families who are dependent on
child support collections. We are very proud to play a part in
Other partnerships among state agencies have also helped boost
child support collections. Governor Pataki pushed for legislation
to use the broad collection powers of the state Department of
Taxation and Finance to enforce child support cases that are four
months in arrears.
In 2004, the Tax Department collected $58,361,125, including
asset seizures, involving an average monthly caseload of 13,195
cases. The total amount collected under this program since its
inception in March of 1997 is $350 million.
The State Labor Department's Child Support Intercept Program
compares the names of child support obligors against the names
of individuals who receive unemployment insurance benefits.
When there is a match, the agency withholds child support
from the obligor's unemployment insurance benefits and then
transmits it to the child support program for distribution to
the families. The program intercepted $37.5 million in 2004,
and had captured more than $315 million since 1995.