On July 7, 2006, Governor Rendell signed Senate Bill 1205 which requires all lawyers to certify that before a client receives a personal injury award or lump sum workers\’ comp award, the client does not owe back child support. This law effects all settlements, judgments, arbitration awards, and workers\’ compensation awards with net proceeds in excess of $5,000.
The new law effectively permits the Department of Public Welfare to intercept overdue child support from lump sum monetary awards or settlements paid by insurers and workers’ compensation carriers. Any award is stayed in the amount of the child support lien pending payment of the lien.
Before distributing any payments from an award or settlement, the attorney must be provided by the client with a statement setting forth the client’s name, address, date of birth, and social security number along with the amount of any child support arrearages. If there are no arrearages, then the attorney must confirm that no arrearages exist.
To determine if there is a child support arrearage/lien, a free search can be conducted on the child support section of the DPW website at: www.humanservices.state.pa.us/csws
Thomas P. Cummings, Esq. January 3, 2007