DHS returns child support money to father

Monday, August 4th 2008, 11:31 pm
By: News 9

By Amy Lester, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY-- A metro woman's angry with the Department of Human Services over missing child support money. Tonja Miller received a letter from DHS telling her she would be receiving child support from her ex-husband.

"I was excited," Miller said.

According to the letter, Miller would receive about $160 from her ex-husband's paychecks for current and past-due child support. Miller said she has not received child support in years and was looking forward to buying her daughter school clothes.

Miller called DHS to find out how to collect her child support money, but the DHS worker said they sent the money back to her ex-husband.

"I started crying, I was so angry," Miller said.

The worker said if DHS has no way of contacting the recipient of child-support, they send the money back.

Because Miller recently moved, the letter from DHS was forwarded from her old address, but her work address and phone numbers are still the same.

"Challenges happen in the system," said DHS spokesman George Johnson. "We wish they didn't, but they do happen."

Johnson said the money was sent electronically. If DHS doesn't have a debit or bank account number to deposit the money for the recipient and they can't contact the recipient, the money is sent back.

"Any funds that may have been returned, any funds that may have been uncollected, they will reinitiate that case to begin that process in earnest again," Johnson said.

Miller said she now has a DHS debit card, but is still frustrated that the money is not in her hands.

"They need to be more aware that this system is to help us, not harm us," Miller said.

DHS said if Miller visits their office, they'll help her set up an account to assure that the mix-up doesn't happen again.