SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico is changing the way child support collections are distributed, and officials say the change will result in more money for families in need. The changes could bring millions to families now on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits.

In the past, some payments that parents made towards child support ended up in the pockets of state and federal government agencies; the idea was to use child support funds to pay back the government for a time the families spent on TANF cash assistance, according to the state’s Human Services Department (HSD). Now, more of that money will be passed through to families, rather than going straight to the government.

“This change will benefit low-income families and children in New Mexico,” Dr. David R. Scrase, the cabinet secretary for HSD said in a news release. “A pass through of an additional $100 can make a real difference to a family who is living below the federal poverty line, which is what it takes to even qualify for TANF cash assistance.”

The new changes double the amount of money that is passed through (from $100 up to $200) to families with two or more children, as long as child support payments are at least $200. For families with one child, the pass-through amount is not changing – it will remain at $100, as long as child support payments are at least $100.

The change goes into effect on January 23, 2023. And HSD says it will help as many as 8,000 families in New Mexico.