PARMA, Ohio (WJW) — Stacy and Aaron Wynieski were counting on their stimulus check to help their family of six stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.
What they thought would be thousands of dollars in relief turned out to be no relief at all, and they just don’t think it’s fair.
“We won’t have a place to live soon,” said Stacy.
The Wynieski’s are just one example of a harsh surprise that is hitting many families, whether you receive all or even part of your stimulus check may depend on what type of back debt you may owe.
“The stimulus checks can’t be reduced if you owe back taxes or are behind in student loan repayments,” says Jim Knuff, a partner with the local CPA firm of Ashworth, Knuff, and Company.
But Knuff says with the way the law works, stimulus checks can be reduced “for back child support owed or for court-ordered garnishment of wages.”
In the Wynieski’s case, since they are within the income limits set for the stimulus payments, the family thought they would get the full $1,200 for each of the parents, plus $500 for each of the four children, for a total of $4,400.
Stacy Wynieski said she even thought the government might withhold her husband’s $1,200 for a portion of the back child support he owes for other, older children. That would have still left their family with a much-needed $3,200.
But since the couple files their taxes jointly, the government withheld all of their funds so their stimulus amounted to zero.
Aaron is out of work right now and Stacy was recently laid off from her job because of COVID-19.
She said it’s unfair to withhold the funds that are suppose to help people through a pandemic for some types of back debts they owe, while allowing other people to receive their full stimulus checks if they owe on a different kind of back debt.
“I think they needed to think this through better,” she said.
Meantime, without the stimulus money, she and her husband have more pressing matters: keeping their family fed and keeping a roof over their heads.
“I have bills to pay and it is really tough right now,” she said.