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Assignment of Support Rights and Distribution of Child Support Collections under the DRA of 2005

AT-09-03

Published: July 28, 2009
Information About:
State/Local Child Support Agencies
Topics:
Case Management, Collections/Distribution/State Disbursement Unit (SDU)
Types:
Policy, Action Transmittals (AT)
Tags:
Deficit Reduction Act, Pass-through/Family Distribution

ACTION TRANSMITTAL

AT-09-03

DATE:July 28, 2009

ATTACHMENT: Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA) Answers and Questions

TO: State Agencies Administering Child Support Enforcement Plans under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act and Other Interested Individuals

SUBJECT: Questions and answers relating to the assignment of support rights and distribution of child support collections under the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA)

Background: On February 8, 2006, the President signed into law the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA), Public Law 109-171. Effective October 1, 2009, or at State option, as early as October 1, 2008, section 7301 of the DRA revises assignment of support rights and distribution requirements, thereby revising sections 408(a)(3) and section 457 of the Social Security Act (Act) and adding section 454(34) of the Act. Section 408(a)(3) pertains to the assignment of child support under title IV-A of the Act, section 457 governs the distribution of child support under title IV-D of the Act, and section 454(34) adds a new State plan requirement with respect to distribution.

Effective October 1, 2009, or as early as October 1, 2008 at State option, section 408(a)(3) of the Act is amended to limit the assignment of support rights to the amount of support that accrues during the period that a family receives assistance, not to exceed the cumulative amount of Unreimbursed Assistance (URA). States may retain rights to support obligations previously assigned as detailed in section 457(b)(1)(A) and (2)(A)1 of the Act.

Also effective October 1, 2009, or as early as October 1, 2008 at State option, section 457 of the Act is amended to provide States with the option to:

  1. Pass through all amounts of child support to Current-Assistance families; the Federal Government will waive its share of the pass-through amount up to the Excepted Portion, if that amount is disregard in calculating TANF eligibility;
  2. Pass through all amount of child support to Former-Assistance families without paying to the Federal Government the Federal share of the pass-through amount;
  3. Discontinue assignments executed prior to October 1, 1997;
  4. Discontinue assignments executed from October 1, 1997 to September 30, 2009 (or September 30, 2008) for Pre-Assistance arrearages;
  5. Continue to distribute collections applied to arrearages in Former-Assistance cases according to the requirements contained in the former section 457(a)(2)(B) of the Act, referred to as PRWORA Distribution in Former-Assistance cases, or apply the amendments made to this section by the DRA, referred to as DRA Distribution in Former-Assistance Cases; and
  6. By adopting all of the available options (including compromising arrearages2) States have the authority to pay 100% of child support to Current-Assistance and Former-Assistance families.

CONTENTS: This action transmittal provides guidance on sections 408(a)(3) and 457 of the Act for the assignment and distribution of child support collections and must be read in conjunction with OCSE-AT-07-05.

EFFECTIVE DATE: These instructions, as well as OCSE-AT-07-05, are effective October 1, 2009, or as early as October 1, 2008 at State option. Related Action Transmittals OCSE-AT-97-17, OCSE-AT-98-24 and OCSE-AT-99-10 remain in effect until after these dates to the extent the contents do not conflict with OCSE-AT-07-05 and this AT.

RELATED MATERIAL:

  • Action Transmittal OCSE-AT-97-17, dated October 21, 1997, "Instructions for the distribution of child support under section 457 of the Social Security Act;" 
  • Action Transmittal OCSE-AT-98-24, dated August 19, 1998, "Instructions for the Distribution of Child Support Under Section 457(a)(6) of the Social Security Act, Definition of Assistance Paid to the Family for Child Support Purposes, and Additional Questions and Answers;" 
  • Action Transmittal OCSE-AT-99-10, dated September 15, 1999, "Definition of ‘Assistance Paid to the Family’ for Child Support Enforcement Collection Purposes;" 
  • Action Transmittal OCSE-AT-07-05, dated July 11, 2007, "Instructions for the Assignment and Distribution of Child Support Under Sections 408(a)(3) and 457 of the Social Security Act (the Act);" 

INQUIRIES:ACF/OCSE Regional Program Managers

Vicki Turetsky
Commissioner
Office of Child Support Enforcement

cc: ACF/OCSE Regional Program Managers
Tribal IV-D Directors

1 The DRA Amendments will be reflected in the on-line version of the Social Security Act beginning October 1, 2009. The language may also be found at 42 U.S.C. 657(b)(1)(A) and (2)(A).

2 AT-89-06, Prohibition of Retroactive Modification of Child Support Arrearages, PIQ-99-03, Compromise of Child Support Arrearages, PIQ-00-03, State IV-D Program Flexibility with Respect to Low Income Obligors -- Imputing Income; Setting Child Support Orders and Retroactive Support; Compromising Arrearages; Referral to Work-Related Programs and Other Non-traditional Approaches to Securing Support, and PIQ-05-01, Reduction of the Unreimbursed Assistance Balance (URA) when Permanently-Assigned Arrearages are Compromised.