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Clarification of OCSE-157 Line 29

DCL-09-03

Published: February 10, 2009
Information About:
State/Local Child Support Agencies
Topics:
Federal Reporting, OCSE-157 Annual Data Report
Types:
Policy, Dear Colleague Letters (DCL)

DEAR COLLEAGUE LETTER

DCL-09-03

DATE: February 10, 2009

TO: All State IV-D Directors

RE: Clarification of OCSE-157 Line 29 (Cases Paying Toward Arrears During the Fiscal Year)

Dear Colleague:

This letter is to provide you with clarification instructions for Line 29 on the OCSE-157 report based on the new required assignment provisions under the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA). Effective October 1, 2009, or at State option, as early as October 1, 2008, this statutory change to section 408(a)(3) of the Social Security Act eliminates the assignment of Pre-Assistance Arrearages in current assistance cases. Under this new assignment provision, States may only require current assistance families to assign support that accrues during the assistance period. Consequently, a current assistance case may include both assigned support and support (i.e. Pre-Assistance Arrearages) owed to the family.

In light of this change the instructions for Line 29 have been amended to state that in current assistance cases, States must count on Line 29 all cases with collections distributed to past-due support, whether the support is paid to the family or retained by the State. This change in instructions for Line 29 is indicated below with deleted language in strike-through format and added language in underline format. All other aspects of the instructions remain the same.

Line 29 - Cases Paying Toward Arrears During the Fiscal Year
Report the number of cases that made at least one payment toward arrears during the fiscal year. Report the total number of IV-D cases in which payments of past-due child support were received during the fiscal year, and part or all of the payments were distributed to the family to which the past-due child support was owed (or, if all past-due child support owed to the family was, at the time of receipt, subject to an assignment to the state, part or all of the payments were retained by the state).

In other words, count those cases where all of the past-due support was disbursed to the family because all support was owed to the family, or some or all of the past-due support was retained by the state because some or all support was assigned to the state.

However, in former assistance cases, if some of the past due support was assigned to the state and some was owed to the family, only count those cases where some of the support actually was disbursed to the family.

This means that in never assistance cases, all payments go to the family, so states must count all cases with any payments applied to past-due support and paid to the family. In current assistance cases, all support is assigned to the state, so states must count all cases with payments applied to past-due support paid to the family or applied to past-due support and retained by the state. However, in former assistance cases, if some past-due support was owed to the family at the time of the collection, states must only count the case if some of the collection was applied to past-due support and paid to the family.

Please note that this amended definition was not included in the recently extended OCSE-157 Report form (AT-08-10). If you have any questions regarding this notice, please contact Joyce Pitts at (202) 401-5368 or e-mail her at joyce.pitts@acf.hhs.gov

Sincerely,

Donna J. Bonar
Acting Commissioner
Office of Child Support Enforcement