Single parents oppose Okla. child support fee - - No One Gets You Closer

Single parents oppose Okla. child support fee

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ARDMORE, Okla. -- A new fee being levied by Child Support Services in Oklahoma is raising eyebrows of single parents across the state.

Just two weeks from now, the state will begin to collect three percent of child support checks, up to $10 a month, from recipients. Single parents we spoke with are outraged.

Ray Earheart is a single parent of an 11-year-old boy, and says he wouldn't change it for the world. But to many Oklahoma parents, $10 can seem like much more at the end of the month.

"They're going to opt to take it away from the ones that's already struggling, and they really could desperately use the money," Earheart said.

The Department of Human Services said no family who receives temporary assistance, SoonerCare, or Medicaid will have to pay the fee.

And while it may be a burden for some taxpayers, they explained how the state will benefit.

"DHS for several years has had revenue shortfall, as Oklahoma has, and all kinds of departments," said Assistant District Attorney Scot Sampson. "This is just one area where DHS has made a decision to try and meet the budget for the next calendar year."

State Rep. Pat Ownbey (R-District 48) said the the idea to attach a fee to child support payments did not originate in Oklahoma.

"This is something that is done in many states," he said.  "In fact, in many of these states, the fees are much higher."

But single parents like Earheart hope lawmakers will hear their plea.

"I want to see that my son is taken care of, and see that he's got the things he needs, plus the things that he wants and that he is able to be a kid," Earheart said. "Because he is only a kid once."

DHS said it expects to generate close to $1 million per month from this new fee.

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