Man says state owes him thousands of dollars

Published 05/02 2013 08:24PM

Updated 05/03 2013 09:29AM

HAMMOND -- A man says he's living paycheck to paycheck because the state owes him thousands of dollars but he doesn't know when or if he'll get it back. Michael Chappell says they made a mistake on his child support payments. For more than a year now, he's been paying too much.

Chappell assumed he'd get that money back, but right now he doesn't know what the state plans to do with his money. It's putting him and his family in a financial bind.

"When you go up there as a non-custodial parent, you're not treated well," said Chappell. 

The father of two found out a few years ago he was actually a father of three.

"I didn't actually know I even had a child until 2009. I was asked to submit to a paternity test for a daughter that was, I think at the time, four years old. I've paid my child support since day one," said Chappell.

Last year he was asked to increase his payments and was told he still owed more than $4,000 for payments his missed.

"They said that in 2010 I was selected for modification and didn't return the paperwork," said Chappell.

So he filed an appeal and after a year of court hearings and paperwork, turns out, he was right.

"They admitted that in 2010 they lost my paperwork," said Chappell.

Now he's wondering if he will ever see that money again.

"Basically they're just telling me that you overpaid because of our mistake, sorry, tough luck, better luck next time," said Chappell.

It's a mistake that's hurting his family.

"Because of this, they put us behind on our house payment, they put us behind on our van payment. The van we have to have because of Kelly's special needs," said Chappell.

What this dad needs are some answers.

"I've kind of resigned myself to the fact that I'm not going to get my money back but the least they can do is give me answers and make sure this doesn't happen to anybody else," said Chappell.

The Department of Healthcare and Family Services told us about protocol in these types of situations. They say if the mistake was their fault, you get a refund. If it wasn't, the money gets put into an account to be used in case you miss a payment. To get a full refund, mom and dad have to work that out themselves. 

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