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Federal Financial Participation and Non-IV-D Activities

PIQ-10-01

Published: October 21, 2010
Information About:
State/Local Child Support Agencies
Topics:
Case Management, Collections/Distribution/State Disbursement Unit (SDU), Funding, Federal Financial Participation (FFP)
Types:
Policy, Policy Interpretation Questions (PIQ)
Tags:
Location Systems, Non-IV-D

PIQ-10-01

DATE: October 21, 2010

TO: State and Tribal IV-D Directors

FROM: Vicki Turetsky, Commissioner, Office of Child Support Enforcement

SUBJECT: Federal Financial Participation and non-IV-D activities

The Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) has received several inquiries requesting clarification on non-IV-D activities that qualify or do not qualify for Federal Financial Participation (FFP). The following policy interpretation addresses the restrictions that apply to non-IV-D cases initially issued in the state on or after January 1, 1994 and in which the income of the noncustodial parent is subject to withholding.

QUESTION 1: Is FFP available for the state child support agency to enter data elements on non-IV-D orders in the state case registry?

RESPONSE 1: The state case registry is an electronic repository of case records and orders required to be included in the state’s automated child support enforcement system established under section 454(16) and 454A of the Social Security Act (the Act). Section 454A(e)(3) of the Act requires that the case records contained in the state case registry must include standardized data elements for both parents, including the parents’ names, social security numbers, uniform identification numbers, dates of birth, case identification numbers, and such other data elements as the Secretary may require. These data elements are required for: (1) all IV-D cases ; and (2) for support orders established or modified in the state on or after October 1, 1998, i.e. non-IV-D cases. FFP is only available for the costs of entering into the state case registry the data elements listed in the regulation under 45 CFR 307.11(e)(3) and (f)(1).

These data elements are listed under 45 CFR 307.11(e)(3) and (f)(1) below.

“§ 307.11 Functional requirements for computerized support enforcement systems in operation by October 1, 2000. At a minimum, each State's computerized support enforcement system established and operated under the title IV-D State plan at §302.85(a)(2) of this chapter must:

(e) State case registry. Have a State case registry that meets the requirements of this paragraph.

(3) Standardized data elements shall be included for each participant. These data elements shall include:

(i) Names;

(ii) Social security numbers;

(iii) Dates of birth;

(iv) Case identification numbers;

(v) Other uniform identification numbers;

(vi) Data elements required under paragraph (f)(1) of this section necessary for the operation of the Federal case registry;

(vii) Issuing State of an order; and

(viii) Any other information that the Secretary may require.

(f) Information Comparisons and other Disclosures of Information. Extract information, at such times and in such standardized format or formats, as may be required by the Secretary, for purposes of sharing and comparing with, and receiving information from, other data bases and information comparison services, to obtain or provide information necessary to enable the State, other States, the Office or other Federal agencies to carry out this chapter. As applicable, these comparisons and disclosures must comply with the requirements of section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and the requirements of section 453 of the Act. The comparisons and sharing of information include:

(1) Effective October 1, 1998, (or for the child data, not later than October 1, 1999) furnishing the following information to the Federal case registry on participants in cases receiving services under the State plan and in support orders established or modified on or after October 1, 1998, and providing updates of such information within five (5) business days of receipt by the IV-D agency of new or changed, information, including information which would necessitate adding or removing a Family Violence indicator and notices of the expiration of support orders:

(i) State Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) code and optionally, county code;

(ii) State case identification number;

(iii) State member identification number;

(iv) Case type (IV-D, non-IV-D);

(v) Social security number and any necessary alternative social security numbers;

(vi) Name, including first, middle, last name and any necessary alternative names;

(vii) Sex (optional);

(viii) Date of birth;

(ix) Participant type (custodial party, non-custodial parent, putative father, child);

(x) Family violence indicator (domestic violence or child abuse);

(xi) Indication of an order;

(xii) Locate request type (optional);

(xiii) Locate source (optional); and

(xiv) Any other information of the Secretary may require.”

QUESTION 2: Is FFP available for the state child support agency to enter non-IV-D financial terms of the initial support order in the state case registry?

RESPONSE 2: No, section 454A(e)(4) of the Act provides that payment records shall be maintained for each case record in the state case registry with respect to which services are being provided under the state plan. The statutory language limits the necessity of maintaining a payment record to IV-D cases.

FFP is available to provide information on payments collected and disbursed by the SDU in non-IV-D cases under income withholding. FFP is not available to provide additional information on non-IV-D cases such as payment records. See Question #11 for additional information.

QUESTION 3: Is FFP available for the state child support agency to enter non-IV-D financial terms of a modified court order in the state case registry?

RESPONSE 3: No, see response to Question #2.

QUESTION 4: Is FFP available for the state child support agency to enter privacy safeguards in the state case registry to prohibit release of information about non-IV-D individuals who are the subject of a protective order?

RESPONSE 4: Yes, it is appropriate to include the family violence indicator as a data element within the state case registry for purposes of reporting the family violence indicator to the federal case registry. This data element is required pursuant to sections 454(26) and 454A(d) of the Act and 45 CFR 307.11(e)(3)(vi) which states that the state case registry shall contain all data elements required under 45 CFR 307.11(f)(1) for the operation of the Federal Case Registry.

QUESTION 5: Is FFP available for the state child support agency to enter graduation dates or notices of the expiration of support orders upon emancipation of the child in non-IV-D cases in the state case registry?

RESPONSE 5: Yes, section 454A(f)(1) of the Act requires the notice of expiration date for all support orders established or modified in the state on or after October 1, 1998. In addition, 45 CFR 307.11(f)(1) requires the state case registry to collect and maintain data on the expiration of support orders, as determined by state law, in non-IV-D cases established or modified in the state on or after October 1, 1998.

QUESTION 6: Is FFP available for the state child support agency to hold/suspend payments if the non-IV-D account is in dispute as stated in section 454B(c)(2) of the Act?

RESPONSE 6: Yes, if the conditions in section 454B(c)(2) of the Act are met. Under that section, “the State disbursement unit may delay the distribution of collections toward arrearages until the resolution of any timely appeal with respect to such arrearages.”

QUESTION 7: Is FFP available for the state child support agency to manually split payments between cases when the state case registry lacks information for automated distribution of the payment and at least one case is non-IV-D?

RESPONSE 7: Yes, section 454B(b)(2) and (3) of the Act requires the State Disbursement Unit (SDU), established under sections 454(27) and 454B of the Act, to accurately identify payments and promptly disburse the custodial parent’s share of any child support payment in all IV-D cases, and in all cases not being enforced by the state with an initial order established on or after January 1, 1994 and in which the income of the noncustodial parent is subject to withholding. This provision requires the IV-D agency to be able to allocate payments among a noncustodial parent’s IV-D and non-IV-D cases initially issued in the state on or after January 1, 1994 and in which the income of the noncustodial parent is subject to withholding.

Also, the procedures for income withholding under 45 CFR 303.100(a)(5) require that:

Ҥ 303.100 Procedures for income withholding.

  • (a) General withholding requirements.

    (5) If there is more than one notice for withholding against a single noncustodial parent, the State must allocate amounts available for withholding giving priority to current support up to the limits imposed under section 303(b) of the Consumer Credit Protection Act (15 U.S.C. 1673(b)). The State must establish procedures for allocation of support among families, but in no case shall the allocation result in a withholding for one of the support obligations not being implemented.”

Any payments through the SDU in a IV-D case and in a non-IV-D case subject to withholding must be distributed in accordance with section 457 of the Act.

QUESTION 8: Is FFP available for the state child support agency to update address changes as reported by the non-IV-D custodial parent and noncustodial parent to ensure prompt disbursement of payment?

RESPONSE 8: Yes, see section 454B(b)(3) of the Act.

“(b) Required Procedures.—The State disbursement unit shall use automated procedures, electronic processes, and computer-driven technology to the maximum extent feasible, efficient, and economical, for the collection and disbursement of support payments, including procedures—

(3) to ensure prompt disbursement of the custodial parent's share of any payment;”

QUESTION 9: Is FFP available for the state child support agency to perform routine locate activities if the non-IV-D custodial parent has an invalid address and undistributed payments and locate information is needed to disburse collection?

RESPONSE 9: FFP is available for location services in non-IV-D cases only if location services are used to locate the custodial parent for disbursement of a collection. FFP is not available for non-IV-D cases if location services are used to establish and/or enforce a support order.

Section 454B(b) of the Act requires the “State disbursement unit shall use automated procedures, electronic processes, and computer-driven technology…for the collection and disbursement of support payments…” This includes the use of automated locate services to locate the custodial parent for prompt disbursement of support payments. IV-D agencies are not responsible for providing other services or taking enforcement actions in non-IV-D cases.

QUESTION 10: Is FFP available for the state child support agency to process/trigger refund of overpayments in non-IV-D cases?

RESPONSE 10: The SDU would not be able to process a refund of an overpayment as it would be unable to determine the amount overpaid in a non-IV-D case; however, in the best interest of the child, the child support agency may determine whether it is appropriate to process/trigger refund of overpayments in non-IV-D cases at a minimal cost to the IV-D agency. The SDU only collects and disburses child support payments for non-IV-D cases initially issued in the state on or after January 1, 1994 and in which the income of the noncustodial parent is subject to withholding. The monthly child support amount is not a required data element for non-IV-D cases; therefore, the cost of maintaining this information is not allowable.

QUESTION 11: Is FFP available for the state child support agency to answer phone calls related to status of payments and financial records, produce payment history reports, and reconcile the payment record as needed for custodial parents and noncustodial parents in non-IV-D cases?

RESPONSE 11: FFP is available to provide information on payments collected and disbursed by the SDU in non-IV-D cases initially issued in the state on or after January 1, 1994 and in which the income of the noncustodial parent is subject to withholding. Section 454B(b)(4) of the Act requires that:

“(b) The State disbursement unit shall use automated procedures, electronic processes, and computer-driven technology to the maximum extent feasible, efficient, and economical, for the collection and disbursement of support payments, including procedures—

(4) to furnish to any parent, upon request, timely information on the current status of support payments under an order requiring payments to be made by or to the parent, except that in cases described in subsection (a)(1)(B) [non-IV-D cases], the State disbursement unit shall not be required to convert and maintain in automated form records of payments kept pursuant to section 466(a)(8)(B)(iii) before the effective date of this section.”

FFP is not available to provide additional information on non-IV-D cases such as full support order payment and other financial records, or reconciliation of full payment records as this information is not required to be collected, recorded or maintained on non-IV-D cases. See Response to Question #2 above.

QUESTION 12: Can the state child support agency receive FFP for issuing income withholding orders (IWO) to employers for non-IV-D cases?

RESPONSE 12: As stated in PIQ-01-01, “income withholding orders may be included as part of a support order or may be issued as a separate order by a tribunal or an appropriate authority under State law.” FFP is available for the state child support agency to issue an income withholding order for a IV-D case. In non-IV-D cases, the income withholding order is issued by a tribunal or an appropriate authority under state law. The state child support agency is not responsible for issuing an income withholding order for non-IV-D cases; therefore; FFP is not available for this activity.

FFP is available for the costs of issuing an income withholding order on IV-D cases by state courts under a cooperative agreement with the IV-D agency as stated in 45 CFR 302.34.

QUESTION 13: Can the state child support agency receive FFP for responding to employer questions regarding payment redirection to an SDU?

RESPONSE 13: Section 454B of the Act requires the state child support agency to establish and operate an SDU to collect and disburse payments under support orders in all IV-D cases and non-IV-D cases in which the support order is initially issued in the state on or after January 1, 1994, and in which the income of the noncustodial parent is subject to withholding pursuant to section 466(a)(8)(B); therefore, FFP is available for the cost of providing necessary technical assistance and information to employers to ensure that these requirements are met.

QUESTION 14: What non-IV-D administrative costs can the state child support agency claim for FFP?

RESPONSE 14: As stated in the instructions to Line 1c of the OCSE-396A report, FFP is available only for those amounts that can be identified as incurred directly as a result of:

  • the submission to, and maintenance in, the state case registry of data with respect to each child support order established or modified in the state on or after October 1, 1998, in a non-IV-D case;
  • the receipt in the SDU of non-IV-D collections through income withholding for child support orders, initially issued in the state on or after January 1, 1994 (as included on Line 2e of Form OCSE-34A) and the disbursement of these collections by the SDU; and
  • the required reporting of financial and statistical information related to non-IV-D cases to OCSE on this and other required federal financial or statistical reports.

The instructions for the OCSE 396A report are available at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/css/resource/instructions-for.... (79.64KB Adobe PDF)

QUESTION 15: May the state child support agency establish a schedule of user fees for non-IV-D payers and payees to recover the costs for performing case audits, providing account histories, and administering income withholding and other activities that may not qualify for FFP?

RESPONSE 15: Yes.

QUESTION 16: If fees are collected for activities that are not claimed for IV-D FFP, must those fees be reported as IV-D program revenue?

RESPONSE 16: Fees charged for the purpose of offsetting the costs of collecting and disbursing child support payments in non-IV-D cases must be reported as program income as such costs are eligible for FFP (see 45 CFR 304.50). Fees are not required to be reported as program revenue if the purpose of the fee is clearly articulated and the fee is for services in non-IV-D cases not related to the collection and disbursement of payments through the SDU.

cc: ACF/OCSE Regional Program Managers