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Feb 26, 2012 12:51 PM by Matt Stafford

Rule could cost child support debtors only income

WASHINGTON (AP) - Advocates say thousands of poor and disabled men could lose their only income next year because of a change in how back child support is collected.

Next year the government will start paying all federal benefits electronically. Under the old system, states could capture only 65 percent of those benefits from people who chose to be paid by paper check.

But a separate Treasury Department rule guarantees states the power to freeze the bank accounts of people who owe child support.

A spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services says the government is working on guidelines to make sure no one goes into deep poverty because of an automatic collection.

Advocacy groups want the Obama administration to change the rule.

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