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Issue Alert - 04-01-05

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Jan 05, 2004

Issue Summary:

Clarification of Budgeting of Child Support Income

Persons Affected:

Recipients of FIP, CDC and/or FAP that also receive child support.

For More Information:

Center for Civil Justice320 S. Washington, 2nd Floor Saginaw, MI 48607 (989) 755-3120, (800) 724-7441 (989) 755-3558 FaxEmail:


Family Independence Program (FIP); Child Development and Care Program (CDC); Food Assistance Program (FAP)

What's Happening?

The FIA has issued guidelines to help budget child support income, listing three different methods of computation:
  • Using Actual Income for Past Months: if there is a payment history, actual dates and amounts will be used.
  • Using Past 3 Months Average: when support has been received for the past three months, the average can be used, even when the amounts vary.
  • Projecting New Orders/Changes in Order Amount: if court ordered support is just starting or there is a change in the amount, the income will be projected from that amount.
If none of the above apply, the caseworker is to use his/her best judgment to determine a monthly amount to project for the future.

What Should Advocates Do?

Advise clients that caseworkers have discretion when prospectively budgeting child support amounts. Clients should report all changes as soon as possible.

Finding Help

Most legal aid and legal services offices handle these type of cases, and they do not charge a fee. You can locate the "free" legal services or legal aid office that serves your county on the Michigan LawHelp web site ( or look in the yellow pages under "attorneys" or call the toll-free lawyer referral number, (800) 968-0738.