Louisiana is diverting disaster payments from the BP oil leak to chip away at a $1.2 billion backlog in unpaid child support, reports the Baton Rouge Advocate. The state Department of Children and Family Services said the agency has intercepted $5.5 million in payments to people who are behind on their child support. The agency also is gearing up plans to begin taking casino winnings from people who failed to pay their court-ordered support to their children.
The BP Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion killed 11 men and resulted in a three-month discharge of 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico last year. BP is paying billions of dollars to shrimpers and others impacted by the disaster. The state asked the Gulf Coast Claims Facility in November to look among the list of people seeking BP payments for those who owe child support in Louisiana. The names of 9,458 people owing $101 million in child support have been found among the claims applicants. Not all of those people, she said, will get a payment from BP, since some applications are denied. The biggest individual diversion so far was $33,817.