It’s not unusual for finances in Arkansas to change after a divorce. Individuals must provide their income when they’re applying for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as “food stamps,” and it’s important to know how to classify child support payments.
Do you have to report your child support as income?
The United States Department of Agriculture states that any parent getting court-ordered child support has to register it as income on their SNAP application. Child support is supposed to be helping to feed the child, so the government wants to know that both parents are taking care of the children – and know if it’s not enough.
If you’re getting child support but it wasn’t court-ordered, you must still legally report it as income. If you’re found to give false information or purposefully fail to report income, you may have to pay back child support or risk losing it forever.
What if I’m not getting child support?
If the court order is in place but the other parent hasn’t made child support payments, the parent that is supposed to receive it doesn’t have to report it. There’s no reason to report income that isn’t there, but the state will usually do a follow-up to make sure the parent isn’t lying.
In addition, if there is no court-ordered child support and you apply for food stamps, the state may open a case to get you child support. To qualify for food stamps, the parents would have to work with the Child Support Agency to establish child support (or figure out why it isn’t being given).
While it seems invasive, the state does this because they want to provide assistance. They also want to ensure that both parents support the child.