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The ANA Messenger - Spring Edition

Published: June 6, 2013
Social and Economic Development Strategies (SEDS), Environmental Regulatory Enhancement

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OCSE Works With BIA and FMS to End
Offset of BIA General Assistance Payments

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The Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) recently learned beginning in November 2012 the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) updated their automated system changing the way they submit payments to Treasury’s Financial Management Service (FMS).  As a result of this change, FMS intercepted several hundred general assistance payments issued by BIA via the administrative offset program.  Although these general assistance payments are not currently exempted by law or the Secretary of the Treasury from administrative offset, they are means-tested payments and may reflect that the payees do not have sufficient resources to meet their needs for food, clothing, shelter, and utilities.  OCSE alerted states and Tribes to the needs based nature of these payments via an E-Flash and posted this information on the OCSE Tribal Webpage newsfeed.

OCSE’s Scott Hale and Paige Hausburg facilitated a call with BIA and FMS to open the lines of communication and help BIA submit an exemption request to Treasury.  If the Treasury Secretary approves the exemption request, BIA will be allowed to code these payments as exempt from administrative offset when they submit to FMS, preventing future intercept matches.  We will keep everyone apprised of the results of BIA’s exemption request.

We are working closely with BIA to get additional details regarding the noncustodial parents whose BIA general assistance payments have been or may be administratively offset.  Once the information is received, OCSE will contact the state’s offset coordinator and/or point of contact with the information.

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Last Reviewed: October 17, 2016