New child-support law leaves some parents feeling 'penalized'

``I don't think it's fair,'' the Otsego mother said of the new federal law. ``I'm getting penalized for not getting assistance.

``I'm a single mom and I make about $17,000 a year,'' said Herring, who has a 10-year-old son. ``I pride myself on not getting any assistance and we struggle to make it.''

The child-support checks Herring gets is actually payback from when her son's father fell behind in child-support payments, not current support, she said.

The change was announced in letters sent out in mid-July to those who receive child support.

The Federal Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 requires the $25 fee be collected after the custodial parent receives $500 in support, said Colleen Steinman, spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Human Services' Office of Child Support.