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State agencies facing backlash after child support payments taken out twice from unemployment benefits

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    Oklahoma City, Okla (KFOR) — An Oklahoma man is encountering new problems with the Oklahoma Security Employment Commission.

“This is just heaping coals upon a fire right now,” said John Cochran.

Cochran has been unemployed since COVID-19 spread. He says he’s always made payments directly out of his weekly paycheck to pay for his two girls’ child support.

Since he’s been unemployed, that money has been coming out of his unemployment benefits, but it’s been the wrong amount.

“They’ve literally taken double,” said Cochran.

He says the OESC and Child Support Services have plucked hundreds of dollars a week from both his traditional unemployment benefits and his pandemic unemployment assistance.

“It was the exact same amount out of both checks, out of my CARES package and my unemployment benefit and I realized then that there obviously had to be an error,” he said.

Cochran says he immediately made calls to both OESC and Child Support Services.

He said, “Part of the feedback I received early on was that there was a glitch in the system.”

But News 4 found out it wasn’t an error or a glitch.

OESC and Child Support Services saying instead of a case by case basis, the money was intentionally taken out twice for everyone because some do not receive enough benefits to pay the full amount. They also say the money was taken out regardless of past due child support.

Cochran says he doesn’t fall into the category of not receiving enough benefits to cover the full amount and he says he’s never missed a payment.

“They have lumped every tax paying Oklahoman into the same bucket,” he said.

Cochran says to make matters worse, his ex-wife and two girls haven’t received any of the child support money for nine weeks now.

“They’re not seeing any of it. She has received one payment in two months,” he said.

News 4 asked Child Support Services why affected families haven’t received payments.

Child Support Services did not directly address the question and gave News 4 this statement:

“Child Support Services distributes nearly a million dollars a day in court-ordered child support to families in compliance with all applicable state and federal laws. Children deserve regular, reliable support from both parents whenever possible, and in partnership with OESC, child support can continue flowing even during periods of unemployment.”

“It makes you wonder where the money’s going. There are families out there that need this,” said Cochran.

OESC told Cochran he can expect to see a refund in either days or weeks but did not give a specific timeline.

News 4 also asked when those affected can expect to see refunds, but we did not receive a response.

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Article Topic Follows: Regional News

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