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FCR Conference Call: Making the Best Use of DoD Information

October 15, 2003

Published: January 23, 2004
Information About:
State/Local Child Support Agencies
Topics:
Federal Systems, Federal Case Registry (FCR), National Directory of New Hires (NDNH)
Types:
Technical References
Tags:
Department of Defense (DOD), External Locate, Location Systems, Quarterly Wages

A conference call was held on October 15, 2003 between representatives from the Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS) and the states.

Participating States

Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Purpose of the call

The purpose of the call held on October 15, 2003, was to identify information currently available from the National Directory of New Hires (NDNH) and Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS) related to members of the military, retired military, and civilian employees of DoD, and to discuss how and when additional information should be requested.

Participants were encouraged to make use of the Quick Guide to Working with the Military as an Employer, as transmitted with Information Memorandum 03-03, and which also is available on the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement's (OCSE) web site.

Information also may be found in the publication, Working with Federal Benefits Agencies, referred to within Information Memorandum 03-05 and available on the OCSE web site.

Additionally, Information Memorandum 03-06, Reactivating The Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS) External Locate Function For The Department Of Defense (DoD) To Eliminate The Need For Verification Of Employment, provides information about changes in FPLS processing and is found on the OCSE web site.

States were provided in advance:

  • Income Included in the Quarterly Wage Records (see Attachment 1)
  • Military Worldwide Locator Addresses (see Attachment 2).

Responding to a state suggestion from an earlier multi-state conference call, participants were invited to ask questions verbally or email questions during the call.

A. FPLS Proactive Matches

1. New Hire Reports (W4)

The Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) submits W4s for DoD personnel semi-monthly, in the middle of the month and at the end of the month. Information is sent on active duty military, new reservists, and civilians. Generally, employee addresses are not sent on active duty and new reservists because these persons do not yet have a permanent duty station address.

Note: Reservists who are called to active duty are not submitted as new hires. Activated reservists will have their income reported on the Quarterly Wage (QW) reports. Significant changes in income for a reservist may necessitate review and modification.

The New Hire report includes the following:

  • Employee Name, SSN, and Date of Birth
  • Employee Date of Hire
  • Employee Address (if available as discussed above)
  • Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN)
  • DoD Status Code (A - active, C - civilian, R - reserve)
  • Employer Address (See Attachment 3)
  • Employer Optional Address (See Attachment 3)

The DFAS Income Withholding Customer Service Number is (216) 522-6960.

The DFAS web site for income-withholding information is http://www.dfas.mil/garnishment/childsupportalimony/startpayment.html.

Knowing the correct FEIN for each branch of the military will help caseworkers locate the participant. The FEINs for DoD can be found in the Quick Guide to Working with the Military and on the OCSE web site.

2. Quarterly Wage Reports (QW)

DoD/DMDC submits QW reports by the end of the month following the end of each quarter in which wages were earned. Information from DoD/DMDC is timelier than QW information submitted from states, which is submitted by the end of the fourth month following the quarter in which wages were earned. The difference in timeliness is due to the fact that DoD, like other Federal agencies, is both the employer and the reporting agency. Consequently, the information passes directly from DoD to the NDNH, rather than through another party, e.g., a State Employment Security Agency (SESA). Information is submitted for active military, reservists, civilian employees, US Coast Guard (active and retirees), and DoD active duty retirees.

Note: DoD military retirees have been included in the QW reports since August 2003. The first QW files containing military retirees included 132,472 retiree wage records that affected all 54 states and territories. (Wages for civil service retirees are not included in the QW files; they must be obtained through an external locate request.)

Caseworkers are encouraged to use the reported QW records to the fullest extent possible since the wages are current and proactively reported to states. Additionally, the only way to know if a reservist has been activated is through the QW records.

The following information is included on the Quarterly Wage record:

  • Employee Name and SSN
  • Wages
  • Reporting Period
  • FEIN
  • DoD Status Code (A - active, C - civilian, R - reserve, P - pension)
  • Employer Name and Address (See Attachment 3)
  • Employer Optional Address, (See Attachment 3)

Caseworkers should use the same contact information as provided in the previous section.

Quarterly wages reported by DoD/DMDC are supposed to include all sources of income, including wages, bonuses, incentives and allowances (See Attachment 1). It was recently determined that only wages and regular pay were being reported. DMDC has corrected its files and the third quarter 2003 QW submission contains the correct wage amounts as previously defined. OCSE is determining whether to replace QW information stored on the NDNH for the prior three quarters with corrected wage amounts. States will be notified by an E-Flash if any changes are made to the NDNH data.

Note: In subsequent meetings, a decision was reached that the prior quarters would not be replaced. OCSE is now looking into different methods of providing base pay, bonuses, incentives and allowances.

Another QW data problem identified by caseworkers involved states not getting QW reports for some known members of the military. It was determined that there was a problem with the manner in which DMDC was reporting name suffixes (e.g., Jr.) to the NDNH. Suffix information was being submitted in the first name field. This resulted in records being rejected due to invalid SSN and name combinations. The problem has been corrected, and as of third quarter 2003, names will be populated in the correct fields.

B. DoD Information Provided Upon Request

1. External Locate Requests

External locate responses contain information about location, service, date of birth, pay, and rank. External locate requests are not proactive, they must be requested by states. The FPLS sends external requests directly to DoD on a monthly basis.

Information is returned for active duty military, reservist, retired military personnel, and retired civil service. Annual salary is provided for retirees whose salaries are fixed, but is not provided for personnel whose salaries might change from month to month. Cost of living pay raises go into effect in January for military and civil service retirees.

2. NDNH Locate Request

Caseworkers can send an NDNH Locate Request to receive the most recent four quarters of income information stored on the NDNH. If information is needed for periods prior to the most recent four quarters, caseworkers can send an employment/income verification form to the appropriate DFAS office for the military branch. Requests for wages prior to one year will be honored. (This is a change from the documentation in the Quick Guide to Working with the Military as an Employer, which will be amended in the next version on the OCSE web site.)

C. Proposal to Modify the External Locate Response

Since DMDC stopped responding to wage verification requests, several states have indicated problems using the data systematically provided by DMDC for DoD. Recently, states were asked to identify the income used in guideline computations involving persons in the military. Twenty-three (23) states responded, with 20 states indicating that they use all income received by the military member. Since all income is reported on the QW report, that income appears to meet the needs of the majority of states who provided feedback. However, three states indicated that they use only actual wages/salary and do not consider allowances. OCSE is exploring three options for meeting the needs of those states that do not use total income in the guideline computation.

  1. Talks are continuing to determine if it is feasible to report monthly income on the external locate response. Monthly income can be defined as wages/salary and will give caseworkers current insight into wages reported with a different definition than the income reported on QW records.
  2. DFAS has agreed that they could identify years of service on the external locate response. This information could be included in the filler portion of the file. Using years of service and rank (that is currently provided in the external locate response record) caseworkers could determine base pay. Base pay and Basic Allowances for Housing (BAH) can be found at the DFAS web site.
  3. In a meeting held after the conference call, OCSE is considering obtaining three wage amount fields from DoD. One field would contain base wage amount, another would contain other periodic payments such as allowances, and the third field would contain bonuses or one time payments such as re-enlistment or signing bonuses. For those states that want all-inclusive income, OCSE would total the amounts in the three DoD wage fields and provide the total amount in the wage field on the QW Proactive Match and NDNH Locate Request records.

States will be advised well in advance of implementation, if any changes are made to the DoD external locate responses.

D. The 'Work Number' for Civilian Income Information

DoD has contracted with a third-party provider, TALX Corporation, Inc, for employment and wage verification for its civilian personnel. The Work Number database has basic employment information, address, and payroll data, including year-to-date pay, and a payroll history for the prior two years. DoD electronically updates information to TALX Corp. every pay period. States may register for this service by phone at (800) 660-3399 or via the Internet at http://www.theworknumber.com/socialservices/. See IM-03-03 (A Quick Guide to Working with the Military as an Employer) for additional details about this service and the options available.

E. Additional Information Requests

DFAS will only accept verification of employment (VOE) requests for historical wage data over one year old. Linda Krabbenhoft explained that the volume of requests became too great for them to continue to manually respond to all income verification requests. The backlog for responding to income verifications was found to be in excess of four months. It was determined that QW wage reports actually get to caseworkers faster than completed income verifications. Consequently, DFAS no longer accepts requests for current wage information.

As an alternative to sending VOEs, caseworkers may submit a judge-ordered subpoena or a Privacy Act Request to DFAS to obtain additional information. DFAS does not respond to administrative subpoenas, as they are not subject to state laws, according to Rod Winn of DFAS. Currently, DFAS responds to requests for a Leave and Earning Statement (LES), but since those requests are essentially asking for current wages, DFAS may soon stop responding to those requests as well. Some states also submit requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), although this is discouraged due to the record keeping involved in tracking a FOIA request.

Any document requesting historical income information should be sent to the appropriate DFAS location, based on the branch of service for the employee (see A Quick Guide to Working with the Military as an Employer for address information). If caseworkers do not know the military branch for the employee, the letter can be sent to the DFAS Denver Center for forwarding to the appropriate location. Currently, DFAS is destroying most of the income verification requests for current wages.

North Carolina staff suggested that DFAS should report wages to the NDNH monthly to avoid all problems with wage verifications. Linda Krabbenhoft stated that DFAS will give the NDNH any data it can accept - but the NDNH currently is not set up to accept wage records on a monthly basis. This would constitute a major change to the NDNH and OCSE is not considering this change at this time.

F. Contact FCR State Technical Support for System Issues Only

DFAS has been sending letters to caseworkers referring individual case inquiries to the FCR State Technical Support (State TS) Liaisons. The letters seem to imply that the State TS Liaisons have avenues to obtain information other than the data available through the NDNH or external locate requests. This is not the case. State TS Liaisons do not have additional access to information.

This issue was addressed with DoD/DFAS and the incorrect information being disseminated will be rectified. DoD/DFAS will only refer state systems staff to the State TS Liaisons when questions or issues arise about programming and FPLS data usage.

G. Serving Income-Withholding Notices to DoD

Kids First is the DFAS electronic child support submission system that can process individual income withholding requests via an on-line web system, as well as via a batch process interface using the OCSE CSENet 2000 system. More information on Kids First, and how to access it, is available from the DFAS Cleveland field organization at (216) 522-5118, or at the DFAS Kids First section on the OCSE web site. To sign up for Kids First, states should contact Larry Sharpley at (216) 522-5435, ex. 41677.

Several states that use Kids First expressed satisfaction with the process. Mark Close in South Dakota previously has expressed a willingness to help other states implement the batch process. Staff in Iowa also have indicated a desire to help other states. Currently ten (10) states are using the web site for sending in income-withholding notices on 2,500 to 3,000 people per month. Five (5) states are using the batch process to submit 12,000 orders per month.

As stated previously, manual income-withholding notices should always be sent to:

DFAS Cleveland Center
ATTN DFAS GAG CL
P.O. Box 998002
Cleveland, OH 44199-8002

North Carolina and Kentucky staff commented they needed to receive addresses and income data faster on new recruits. Rod Winn explained that wages for new recruits are not on the DFAS system for at least four months. This means that wage data on new recruits are not available, except at the local base, until the QW submission from the most current quarter in which the recruit joined the military is processed through the NDNH. John Calhoun in Florida suggested that contacting the base Provost Officer or the JAG office could secure service when needed.

Rod Winn offered to give workshops at any state conference to help caseworkers better understand how to use DoD information and interact with DFAS, including Kids First.

H. DoD Medical Verifications

DMDC continues to respond to requests from caseworkers to verify enrollment of children in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Registration System (DEERS). About 85% of the time, in processing a request for medical information, DMDC finds that the child is already enrolled in DEERS. Medical verification requests should be sent to:

DMDC Support Office
Attn: CA99
400 Gigling Road
Seaside, CA 93955-6771

In order to reduce the amount of manual verifications being processed at DMDC, a plan is being evaluated by OCSE and DoD to perform a match between DEERS and the FCR to flag children enrolled in DEERS. States will be involved as the process evolves since states will need to develop a way to accept an indicator of DEERS enrollment. States should look for more information as this plan is formulated.

I. EFT with DoD

DFAS is finalizing plans to begin EFT/EDI transmissions to State Disbursement Units (SDUs) for child support payments from military retirees in December. SDUs will be notified when the change is implemented for affected individuals. DFAS is planning to implement EFT for active duty personnel in April 2004.

Action Items/Issues:

States were asked whether in the future they preferred one to three smaller conference calls, or one large conference call, as future multi-state conference calls are planned. Mixed opinions were expressed by states.

OCSE will follow up with Pat Venza about getting wages for new recruits sooner than what comes on quarterly wage reports. Subsequent discussion revealed that information about wages is maintained for new recruits at DMDC and is reported to NDNH through QW wage reports.

OCSE will investigate whether states that do not use the all-inclusive military QW income amounts in guideline computations will benefit from receiving monthly wages in the external locate response record as an alternative for determining participant income.

Ohio - caseworkers have indicated that they cannot access the QW data for participants employed by DoD. Linda Hudson is working with Cindy Lucas of Ohio on the problem.

Ohio - will provide a revised listing for getting E-Flashes. Linda Hudson forwarded a request to Cyndy Lucas asking for names, type of E-Flash the person is to receive, and his or her e-mail and mailing addresses.

Ohio - Denice R. Goldsworthy wants to ensure that information from this call is sent to her at her fax number which is 503-656-2599 so she can report to her state. Notes will be sent after being finalized for release.

North Carolina and Kentucky - need to receive income data faster for newly hired recruits. They stated it takes too long to wait for a QW report when they are trying to establish an order. Linda Hudson will double-check to determine whether income can be made available sooner on new recruits.

North Carolina - asks when the Quick Guide will be revised with current information. Rod Winn indicated that the guide is undergoing a final edit and should soon be available on the OCSE web site.

Nebraska - asked to verify that DoD external locate is still 'A01' for the automated process. That was confirmed.


Attachment 1 - Income Included in Quarterly Wage Records

For Active Duty:

Amount of Accrued Leave Pay Amount of Separation Payment
Amount of Contract Cancellation Pay and Allowances
Base Pay Basic Allowance for Subsistence
Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) (previously Basic Allowance for Quarters)
Career Sea Pay Career Sea Pay Premium
Diving Duty Pay Enlistment Bonus
Essential Service Pay Family Separation Allowance Type I, II
Foreign Duty Pay Foreign Language Proficiency Pay
Hazardous Duty Incentive Pay I, II, III Hostile Fire Pay
Nuclear Officer Accession Bonus Overseas Extension Pay
Proficiency Pay Regular Reenlistment Bonus
Rental Charge for Inadequate Government Quarters
Selective Reenlistment Bonus

 

Additional income included for officers only.

Aviation Career Incentive Pay Aviation Officer Continuation Pay
Additional Special Pay Board Certified Pay
Incentive Special Pay Miscellaneous Officer Pay
MORB/Nurse Bonus Amount Nuclear Career Accession Bonus
Nuclear Career Annual Incentive Bonus
Nuclear Qualified Officer Continuation Pay
Saved Pay Saved Pay for Health Professionals
Variable Special Pay

 

For Reserves:

Aviation Career Incentive Pay Airborne Warning and Control Systems
Basic Ad Pay Career Sea Pay
Controller Pay Diving Duty Pay
Foreign Duty Pay Foreign Language Proficiency Pay
Hazardous Duty Incentive Pay I, II, III
Hostile Fire Pay And /Or Imminent Danger Pay
Monthly Basic Pay
Reserve Component Incentive Program Payments
Reserve Component Incentive Program Education Payments
Separation Pay
Special Pay for Reserve Medical Officers Payments

 

For Civilians:

Award Amount I, II & III Final Compensatory Time Paid
Locality Payment Lump Sum Leave Pay
Manual Pay Adjustments Amount Overtime Paid
Severance Pay Amount Voluntary Separation Incentive

 

Attachment 2 - Military Worldwide Locator Addresses

Army Active Duty
Army Worldwide Locator
USAEREC
8899 E. 56th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46249
(703) 325-3732

Note: This can only be used by personnel who otherwise have access to the Army web site. It is not available to child support staff generally due to confidentiality requirements related to September 11, 2001.

Army Reserve or Retired
Commander
ARPERCEN
9700 Page Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63132
(314) 538-3777

Navy
Navy Personnel Command
(PERS 312)
5720 Integrity Drive
Millington, TN 38055-3120
(901) 874-3388

Air Force
Headquarters
ARMPC/RMIQL
550 C. Street West, Suite 50
Randolph AFB, TX 78150

Marine Corps
Headquarters, USMC
Code MMSB-10
208 Elliot Road, Room 201
Quantico, VA 22134
(703) 784-3942

Coast Guard
US Coast Guard
Personnel Command
2100 2nd Street, West
Washington, DC 20593
(202) 267-1340
Fax (202) 267-4985

Attachment 3 - DoD Employer Addresses

Army (Active Duty FEIN is 359990000; Reserve Duty FEIN is 351819323)
DFAS Indianapolis Center
ATTN DFAS PMTCBC IN
8899 East 56th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46249-0865

Navy (Active Duty FEIN is 349990000; Reserve Duty FEIN is 341586724)
DFAS Cleveland Center
ATTN DFAS GAF CL
1240 East 9th Street
Cleveland, OH 44199-8002

Marines (Active Duty FEIN is 539990000; Reserve Duty FEIN is 539990000)
DFAS Kansas City Center
ATTN DFAS GA KS
1500 East 95th Street
Kansas City, MO 64197-0001

Air Force (Active Duty FEIN is 849990000; Reserve Duty FEIN is 849980000)
DFAS Denver Center
ATTN DFAS GA DE
6760 East Irvington Place
Denver, CO 80279-8000

DoD Civilian Employee (FEIN is 311575142)
DFAS Denver Center
ATTN DFAS GA DE
6760 East Irvington Place
Denver, CO 80279-8000

DoD Active Duty Retirees (FEIN is 340727612)
DFAS Cleveland Center
ATTN DFAS GAF CL
1240 East 9th Street
Cleveland, OH 44199-8006

Coast Guard Retirees (FEIN is 529980000)
USCG Human Resources SVC & Info Center
444 S E Quincy Street
Topeka, KS 66683-3591

Employer Optional Address, for all military income withholding:

DFAS Cleveland Center
ATTN DFAS GAG CL
P.O. Box 998002
Cleveland, OH 44199-8002