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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke July 26, 2021

No, Delaware doesn’t limit what parents can buy with child support payments

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  • Delaware issues child support payments using prepaid debit cards, but it doesn’t limit what child support recipients can buy.

An old post about Delaware limiting what mothers can buy with child support payments is again spreading on social media, but it wasn’t accurate then and it isn’t accurate now. 

"New ‘child support card’ controls what mothers can and CANNOT buy with child support money," reads a screenshot of what looks like a headline that was posted on Facebook in June 2016

Other screenshots in the post say that "it will not allow the parent to purchase alcohol, cigarettes or pay any other kind of bill" and that "if the programme is successful in the states of Delaware, the government might apply it nationwide thus controlling its usage." 

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

A spokesperson for the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, which includes the state’s child support services division, told PolitiFact "there is no validity to this claim." 

Featured Fact-check

Delaware law requires parents to support their children up to age 18 or 19. If one parent fails to support their child, the other parent can seek a court order to pay. Court-ordered payments are made to the child support division, which distributes the money to child support recipients

The division sends child support payments on prepaid debit cards that are issued by U.S. Bank. It’s called a ReliaCard, and neither the state nor U.S. Bank "controls, tracks or denies purchases" with it, according to the child support services division. 

Before the state started sending payments using the prepaid debit card in February 2020, child support recipients received payments on what was called a First State Family Card. This was a prepaid Visa card that was credited whenever a child support payment was received, and the state didn’t limit purchases with this card, either.

We rate this post False. 

Our Sources

Facebook post, June 2, 2016

Delaware press release, Feb. 14, 2020 

Delaware, ReliaCard pre-paid debit card, visited July 26, 2021

Delaware Public Media, New payment method coming for Delaware child support recipients, Nov. 18, 2019

Facebook post, Jan. 22, 2018

Delaware Courts, Child support overview, visited July 26, 2021

Delaware, Accounting for child support payments, visited July 26, 2021

Snopes, Delaware child support card, Jan. 9, 2016

Email interview with Jeffrey Gentry, manager of internal communications, Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, July 26, 2021


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No, Delaware doesn’t limit what parents can buy with child support payments

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