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FY1998 Annual Report - Charts

Office of Child Support Enforcement

Published: December 1, 1998

Program Results

The total IV-D Child Support caseload is an average of the quarterly case counts of all noncustodial parents who are now or may eventually be obligated under law for the support of one or more dependent children. Cases where families were referred to the Child Support agency because they are receiving TANF and title IV-E Foster Care are classified as TANF/FC cases; cases where the custodial parents applied for child support enforcement services or are receiving Medicaid but not TANF services are called non-TANF cases. Nationally, the Child Support Enforcement program had 19.4 million cases in FY 1998, an increase of 1.9 percent over fiscal year 1997 and an increase of 4.3 percent since FY 1994. During the five-year period from 1994 to 1998, the non-TANF portion of the caseload increased by 33 percent, while the TANF and TANF Arrears caseload has decreased by 18 percent.

Paternities Established


Table for Figure 1: Paternitites Established
  1994 1995 1996 1997 1998
Total Paternities (Thousands) 676 932 1,058 1,294 1,462
In-Hospital Acknowledgements (Thousands) 84 273 325 480 614
IV-D Paternities (Thousands) 592 659 733 814 848


Some States voluntarily report in-hospital information to OCSE. In-hospital numbers include an unknown number of acknowledgments for children in the IV-D caseload and children outside the IV-D caseload.

The number of children for whom paternity has been established has grown steadily over the past five years. The combined total of in-hospital paternities acknowledged and IV-D paternities established was 1,462,565 for FY 1998. In FY 1994, 592,048 IV-D paternities were established by the State Child Support Enforcement agencies. By FY 1998, this had increased by 43 percent to 848,178 IV-D paternities established. The total number of in-hospital paternities acknowledgments for FY 1998 was 614,387. In-hospital paternities are reported on a voluntary basis. In FY 1998, 41 States reported in-hospital paternities.

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Table for Figure 2: Support Orders Established
  1994 1995 1996 1997 1998
Total Support Orders Established (Millions) 1,024,675 1,051,336 1,092,992 1,155,973 1,147,701

Due to systems problems, the number of support orders for the State of Tennessee are not included in the total number for FY 97.

The legal establishment of an order to pay child support is a prerequisite to collecting child support. In FY 1998, the Child Support Enforcement program established 1,147,701 support orders a decrease of 1 percent from the previous year. The number of child support orders established have increased by more than 12 percent over the last five years.


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Table for Figure 3: IV-D Cases With and Without Orders (FY 1998)
  Total TANF & Arrears Non-TANF
Total Cases (Millions) 19.4 8.5 10.9
Without Orders (Millions) 7.9 3.6 4.3
With Orders(Millions) 11.5 4.9 6.6

States report the number of cases remaining open on the last day of each quarter that have support orders established. Of the 19.4 million cases in the child support caseload in FY 1998, 59 percent had support orders (57.7% of TANF cases and 60.8% of Non-TANF cases had orders).

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Table for Figure 4: Number of IV-D Cases For Which a Collection Was Made
  1994 1995 1996 1997 1998
Total Cases (Millions) 3.4 3.7 3.9 4.2 4.5
TANF (Millions) 1.2 1.3 1.3 1.4 1.4
Non-TANF (Millions) 2.2 2.4 2.6 2.8 3.1

States report the number of cases in which a collection was made during the second month of each quarter. In FY 1998 there were 4.5 million cases with a collection in the child support enforcement program. This is an increase of 7 percent from the previous fiscal year and a 32 percent increase since 1994.


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Table for Figure 5: Total Collections
  1994 1995 1996 1997 1998
Total Collections (Billions) 9.8 10.8 12.0 13.3 14.3
TANF (Billions) 2.5 2.7 2.8 2.8 2.6
Non-TANF (Billions) 7.3 8.1 9.2 10.5 11.7

Total child support collections are the amounts collected by the program and distributed during the year on behalf of families receiving benefits from the TANF, Title IV-E foster care and Medicaid programs and for non-TANF families who have applied for child support services. In FY 1998, collections reached a record high of $14.3 billion, a 7.4 percent increase from the previous fiscal year. Non-TANF collections accounted for almost 82 percent of the total amount collected. Total collections have increased by 46 percent since 1994.

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Table for Figure 6: TANF Collections
  1994 1995 1996 1997 1998
TANF (Billions) 2.5 2.7 2.8 2.8 2.6

TANF collections, including title IV-E Foster Care collections, amounted to $2.6 billion in FY 1998. This is a decrease of 6.8 percent over the previous year. This drop in TANF collections is a result of the decrease in the TANF caseload.


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Table for Figure 7: Distribution of TANF Collections FY 1998
  State Share Federal Share Pmt to Families Incentive Points Medical Support
TANF Collections (Millions ) $1,089 $961 $152 $396 $52


The Federal and State governments retain portions of TANF child support collections as reimbursement for (Title IV-A) TANF payments to families. In FY 1998, States kept $1.1 billion as their share of TANF payment reimbursements and received an additional $396 million in collection incentives from the Federal share of TANF collections. The Federal share of the $2.6 billion collected in TANF cases amounted to $961 million. In FY 1998, TANF families received over $152 million in support collections and $52 million in medical support payments through the Child Support Enforcement program.


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Table for Figure 8: TANF Collections
  1994 1995 1996 1997 1998
Non-AFDC Collections(Billions) $7.3 $8.1 $9.2 $10.5 $11.7

Non-TANF distributed collections are child support payments made on behalf of and distributed to families who have applied for Child Support Enforcement services. In FY 1998 non-TANF collections rose to $11.7 billion, an increase of 11.2 percent since the previous year and a 60.2 percent increase since FY 1994.


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Table for Figure 9: Interstate Collections
  1994 1995 1996 1997 1998
Interstate Collections (Millions) $785 $837 $898 $983 $1,032

Collections made on behalf of families in other States totaled a record $1,032 million in FY 1998, an increase of 5 percent. In five years, interstate collections rose by 31 percent. A State's distributed collection amount does not include collections made on behalf of other States. Hence, total distributed collections do not reflect the efforts put forth by one State to collect for another. In some cases, a substantial amount of child support is collected by one State on behalf of other States.


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Table for Figure 10: Total Collections by Method of Collections FY 1998 ($14.3 Billion)
  Wage Withholding Unemployment Intercept Offset Federal Tax Offset State Tax Offset Other
Total Collections (% of Total) 55.8% 1.4% 7.2% 0.9% 34.7%

There are various ways in which child support payments are made. Wage withholding, withholding of unemployment compensation, and State income tax refund offsets are all powerful enforcement techniques. However, wage withholding is by far the most effective, totaling 56 percent of all collections in FY 1998. Federal and State income tax refund offsets contributed 7 percent and 1 percent, respectively; and the withholding of unemployment compensation accounted for 1 percent of total collections. The remaining 35 percent of collections was obtained from parents who sent their child support payments directly to the State Child Support Enforcement agency, payments received through other enforcement techniques, or collections received from other States.


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Table for Figure 11: Accounts Receivable, FY 1998
  Current Year Support Prior Year Support
Amount Due (Billions) $18.7 $46.9
Amount Received (Billions) $9.5 $3.9

Accounts receivable data present the total dollar amount of child support payments due and received by IV-D agencies. Information reported for FY 1998 indicates that $18.7 billion in current support and $46.9 billion in prior years support was due. Almost $9.5 billion or 51 percent of the current support due was collected. Of prior years support due, only $3.9 billion or 8 percent was collected. Comparisons of States' accounts receivable data are complicated because States count arrearages differently based on State laws and practices. For example, some States include unreimbursed public assistance as a debt and others do not. Some States have statutes of limitations governing collection of debt, some assess interest on arrearages which becomes part of the amount due, and some have policies for writing off bad debts.


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Table for Figure 12: Total Expenditures
  1994 1995 1996 1997 1998
Total Expenditures (Billions $) 2.5 3.0 3.0 3.4 3.6
Federal Share (Billions $) 1.7 2.1 2.0 2.3 2.4
State Share (Billions $) 0.8 0.9 1.0 1.1 1.2


Total expenditures are the net amounts of combined Federal and State funds expended on the operation of the CSE program. The amounts reported are reduced by the amount of program income (fees and costs recovered in excess of fees, interest earned, and other program income received) received by the States. Total expenditures were $3.6 billion in FY 1998, an increase of almost 5 percent over FY 1997. Of this $3.6 billion, $2.4 billion was the Federal share and $1.2 billion was the States' share. The increases in program costs over the last five years are heavily impacted by the costs of developing and implementing automated systems, as required by the Family Support Act of 1988.
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Table for Figure 13: Total Collections per Dollar of Administrative Cost
  1994 1995 1996 1997 1998
Total (Dollars) $3.85 $3.59 $3.95 $3.90 $4.00
Non-TANF (Dollars) $2.85 $2.70 $3.01 $3.07 $3.26
TANF (Dollars) $1.00 $0.89 $0.94 $0.83 $0.74

Nationally, $4.00 in child support payments are collected for every $1.00 spent to administer the Child Support Enforcement program. During the five-year period FY 1994 to FY 1998, the ratio of total child support collections to total administrative costs has fluctuated and remains in the vicinity of $4.00.