Policy Questions and Responses to Miscellaneous Issues regarding PRWORA
July 30, 1997
TO:STATE AGENCIES ADMINISTERING CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT PLANS UNDER TITLE IV-D OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT AND OTHER INTERESTED INDIVIDUALS
SUBJECT:Policy Questions and Responses to Miscellaneous Issues regarding Provisions of P.L. 104-193, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996 (PRWORA)
BACKGROUND: P.L. 104-193, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996, which amended portions of the Social Security Act, was enacted August 22, 1996. The Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) has received numerous inquiries from States and individuals regarding interpretation of its provisions. The purpose of this Action Transmittal (AT) is to inform States and other interested individuals and organizations of OCSE's policy responses to these inquiries. Besides this AT on miscellaneous inquiries, OCSE issued AT-9704 on 3/12/97 which contains questions and answers on National and State New Hire Directories and OCSE anticipates issuing ATs on questions and answers relating to Case Registry, Distribution, and State Disbursement Units.
ATTACHMENT:Attached are a collection of miscellaneous questions and answers in response to inquiries regarding provisions of PRWORA. The questions are arranged by subject matter.
Also Attached, is a list of Access and Visitation Contacts (Attachment 1).
INQUIRIES: Regional Administrators
David Gray Ross
Office of Child Support
CHILD SUPPORT QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
List of Topics
Access & Visitation
Administrative Enforcement in Interstate Cases
Automated Data Processing Requirements
Health Care Coverage
Locator Information from Interstate Networks
Miscellaneous including liens, privacy safeguards and work requirement
Notification of Hearings
Review and Adjustment
Social Security Numbers
GRANTS TO STATES for ACCESS & VISITATION PROGRAMS
QUESTION 1: Section 391 tasks the Administration for Children and Families to make grants to States to establish and administer programs to support and facilitate noncustodial parents' access to and visitation of their children. Which ACF component will administer this new grant program and how much money will be available for these grants?
ANSWER 1: The Office of Child Support Enforcement will be charged with carrying out this new responsibility. Beginning in FY 1997 and for each succeeding fiscal year, a capped entitlement of $10 million will be available for grants to States for access and visitation programs. These funds will be allocated among the States as specified in the statute. The funding is separate and distinct from funding for federal and State administration of the Child Support Enforcement program.
QUESTION 2: Do the funds have to be used specifically for access services?
ANSWER 2: Access services which are allowable under the grant are broadly defined. Grants to States for Access and Visitation Programs may be used for a variety of purposes to establish and administer programs to support and facilitate noncustodial parents' access to and visitation of their children. Activities which may be funded include: mediation (both voluntary and mandatory), counseling, education, development of parenting plans, visitation enforcement (including monitoring, supervision and neutral drop-off and pickup), and development of guidelines for visitation and alternative custody arrangements.
QUESTION 3: Will implementing regulations be issued and, if so, what areas will they cover?
ANSWER 3: The Statute requires regulations governing reporting, monitoring, and evaluation.
QUESTION 4: Does this section require us to establish an access and visitation program by 10/1/96? Or is it an optional provision?
ANSWER 4: Participation in the program is voluntary.
QUESTION 5: Will States be required to use a specified application format when they are seeking possible grantees?
ANSWER 5: A draft application was sent to State contacts.
QUESTION 6: What organizational entity in the State will be responsible for the program?
ANSWER 6: The State will determine what organizational entity will be responsible for the program. A list of designated agencies is attached (Attachment 1).
QUESTION 7: Is there a State match required for Allotment to States under subsection (c)?
ANSWER 7: No.
QUESTION 8: May private funds (e.g., foundation grants) be mixed with the Federal grant funds in the implementation of the Access and Visitation programs?
ANSWER 8: Yes.
QUESTION 9: Under the provision making grants available to States for access and visitation programs (Sec. 469B), is a State limited to only one grant proposal, or may a State receive more than one grant for separate projects that attempt to accomplish different goals?
ANSWER 9: The State would receive one financial grant or allotment of funds from the Federal government; States may make one or more grants from that allotment for the same or different purposes as set forth in the Sec. 469B of the Act.
QUESTION 10: Who will be able to request FPLS information for custody and visitation purposes, and how will they do it?
ANSWER 10: OCSE will issue program instructions on this issue.
ADMINISTRATIVE ENFORCEMENT IN INTERSTATE CASES
Question 1: This section requires States to "respond within 5 business days to a request made by another State to enforce a support order." What must a State do to "respond?"
ANSWER 1: Within 5 business days from receiving the referral (electronic means or other format) from the other State with the necessary information about the obligor, the responding State must check the available databases it has for in-State locate to determine if income/assets exist for that obligor in the State. If anything is matched or identified, the responding State must proceed to collect support from that source and remit it to the requester.
Question 2: Does section 323, (administrative enforcement in interstate cases) of PRWORA require that all interstate cases be handled administratively? Does this mean that local courts will not be handling these cases?
ANSWER 2: Section 323 does not require that all interstate cases be handled administratively. The purpose of this section is to assist States to keep as many cases intrastate as possible. It is for selected cases that can be enforced quickly as information is available on the obligor. Such cases will be handled administratively rather than by local courts. Administrative enforcement will become more accessible as States' automated systems improve.
AUTOMATED DATA PROCESSING REQUIREMENTS
QUESTION 1: When will the child support automation regulations be issued?
ANSWER 1: Although the legislation requires the regulations for CSE automated systems to be published within two years of enactment, ACF plans to provide guidance and functional requirements to States as soon as possible. For example, ACF has already issued an action transmittal (OCSE-AT-96-10) providing guidance to States on how to seek restoration of the enhanced funding for Family Support Act provisions.
A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding the allocation of $400 million of enhanced Federal funding for a State-wide computerized enforcement system, will be issued in the near future. A second NPRM regarding the remaining systems related provisions in PRWORA is anticipated for issuance during the fall of 1997.
QUESTION 2: For States that have not yet been certified for the 1988 FSA requirements, what will need to be submitted in order to include system enhancements for new hire reporting and the central payment registry data as part of current system enhancement/development efforts?
ANSWER 2: New Hire Directory and State Disbursement Unit are two requirements of PRWORA that are specified by statute as not required to be integrated as part of the statewide automated CSE system. Regardless of the option selected by the State regarding where to locate these databases, any enhancements to the State's automated CSE system should be included in an Advance Planning Document Update. The certification requirements for the Family Support Act do not address State New Hire Registry or State Disbursement Unit requirements. The revised Certification Guide will address PRWORA requirements including the State New Hire Registry and State Disbursement Unit requirements. The New Hire record specifications for the submittal of W-4 (New Hire), quarterly wage and unemployment insurance data to the National Directory of New Hires is available.
QUESTION 3: Will States be required to submit a new Advance Planning Document (APD) or will an Advance Planning Document Update (APDU) suffice?
ANSWER 3: If the State is developing an entirely new automated system to meet PRWORA requirements, an Advance Planning Document, including an analysis of alternatives is required. However, if the States opts to enhance their existing automated system, then the State has the option of a new APD or an update to their Family Support Act Advance Planning Document. The State mustsubmit an APD or APDU if it elects to include a State New Hire Registry or State Disbursement Unit in its State-wide computerized support enforcement system. See OCSE-Action Transmittal 96-10 for additional guidance. If the State elects to develop the State New Hire Registry or State Disbursement Unit outside of the State-wide computerized support enforcement system, the State may receive enhanced funding for the cost of the interface with the computerized support enforcement systems if such costs for the interface are included in an APD or APDU.
STATE LAWS PROVIDING EXPEDITED PROCEDURES
QUESTION 1: Since Idaho is a judicial and not an administrative State, is it still true that, as long as we meet federal case processing timeframes, we can use judicial instead of administrative processes?
ANSWER 1: Under section 466(a)(2) of the Act, as amended by section 325 of PRWORA, a State must have in effect laws requiring the use of expedited administrative and judicial procedures (including the procedures specified in section 466(c) (as added by section 325(a)(2) of PRWORA) for establishing paternity and for establishing, modifying, and enforcing support obligations. Section 466(c) sets forth expedited procedures which include specific administrative actions the State IV-D agency must have authority to take, and recognize and enforce the authority of State agencies of other States to take, without the necessity of obtaining an order from any other judicial or administrative tribunal, as well as substantive and procedural rules applicable to all proceedings to establish paternity or to establish, modify, or enforce support orders.
Regardless of whether a State uses judicial processes, or administrative processes, or a combination, to establish paternity, and establish, modify and enforce support orders within Federal case processing requirements, the State must still enact laws authorizing the IV-D agency to use the administrative actions, without the necessity of obtaining an order from any other judicial or administrative tribunal, and the substantive and procedural rules for all proceedings, required under section 466(c).
The Secretary of HHS may waive the provisions of section 466(a)(2) on the basis of the effectiveness and timeliness of support order issuance and enforcement or paternity establishment within a political subdivision of the State, in accordance with the general rule for exemptions under section 466(d) of the Act. Under section 466(d), if a State demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Secretary, that the enactment of any law or the use of any procedure or procedures required by section 466 will not increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the IV-D program, the Secretary may exempt the State, subject to continuing review and termination should circumstances change, from the requirements to enact the law or use the procedure or procedures involved.
We issued program instruction, AT-97-02, February 10, 1997, for requesting an exemption from the mandatory laws and procedures in section 466 of the Act, which revised AT-88-19, dated December 22, 1988. However, proof that the State's judicial or administrative tribunal processes child support cases within established case processing timeframes in Federal regulationswill be inadequate justification to demonstrate that the mandated, expedited administrative actions by the IV-D agency under section 466(c) will not increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the IV-D program.
QUESTION 2: In Section 466(c)(1), "Administrative Action by State Agency," as amended by section 325(a)(2) of PRWORA, does the phrase "without the necessity of obtaining an order from any other judicial or administrative tribunal..." preclude pre-deprivation notice and an opportunity for a fair hearing provided by the IV-D agency or its umbrella agency? For example, with reference to the seizure of financial assets in subparagraph (c)(1)(G)(ii), may the State provide notice of attachment to the obligor and the financial institution so that the funds may not be withdrawn and then provide a fair hearing prior to seizure without violating the federal requirement?
ANSWER 2: Section 325 of PRWORA does not preclude additional due process procedures which the State may choose to provide, such as a pre-deprivation notice and an opportunity for a fair hearing.
QUESTION 3: Under section 466(c)(1)(G)(iii), what exactly is the meaning of "attaching public and private retirement funds?" Will States be required to attach the entire amount of the retirement fund or will they be required to attach the amount of the monthly child support obligation as the noncustodial parent becomes eligible for retirement? Also, are social security benefits included within the meaning of public retirement funds?
ANSWER 3: States may seize or intercept public or retirement funds in cases in which there is a support arrearage in accordance with section 466(c)(1)(G)(iii). Therefore, this requirement does not pertain to current support order amounts. Public retirement includes social security benefits but attachment of Federal benefits must be in accordance with 5 CFR Part 581.
QUESTION 4: Montana has asked for clarification regarding the intent of section 466(c)(1)(D)(ii)(I) and (II) of the Act as added by section 325 of PRWORA. Was it the intent of these sections to limit "access to information contained in certain records" specifically to those specified in the statute or does it include private entities such as doctors and lawyers being required to provide access to client records?
ANSWER 4: The use of "consisting of..." is language which defines the specific entities from whom Congress intended States to access information, and also specifically identifies what information they must access from customer records when getting information from these entities. Further, the Conference Report language follows the House Bill which specifies which public and private entities and records need to be accessed. This newprogram requirement is "subject to safeguards on privacy and information security." Any authority to access records of the medical and legal professionals must derive ultimately from State law.
QUESTION 5: Has "expedited processes" in 45 CFR 303.101(b) been superseded by 42 U.S.C. 666(a)(2)?
ANSWER 5: Some requirements of 45 CFR 303.101 have been changed by Section 466(a)(2) of the Act amended by section 325 of PRWORA. Namely, the revised 466(a)(2) includes both expedited administrative and expedited judicial procedures, adds "modifying" in the list of services provided under expedited processes, and adds the administrative actions authorized to the State agency in subsection 466(c) of the Act. 45 CFR 303.101 will be amended for consistency with the new statute.
QUESTION 1: States are concerned about unfunded federal mandates. Will the Federal government share in the costs States incur to meet all mandates under the new statute, particularly those which require all support orders in the State to be recorded in the State's case registry and all withholding payments to flow through the State collection/disbursement unit?
ANSWER 1: We believe that under PRWORA, the Federal government will share in the cost of recording and maintaining on the State case registry all orders established or modified in a State on or after October 1, 1998, and of collection and disbursement through the State disbursement unit of support paid through income withholding in cases with orders issued on or after January 1, 1994. Specifics of allowable costs associated with these activities will be set forth in program instructions or regulations.
QUESTION 2: Is FFP available if States choose to include non-IV-D support orders in their case registry and collect and disburse withholding payments in non-IV-D cases through its centralized disbursement unit before October 1, 1998?
ANSWER 2: Yes, FFP would be available at the regular (66%) matching rate for administrative costs associated with recording and maintaining on the State case registry non-IV-D orders and collection and disbursement through the State disbursement unit of support paid through income withholding in non-IV-D cases with orders initially issued on or after January 1, 1994 if a State chooses to do so prior to October 1, 1998. Specifics of allowable costs associated with these activities will be set forth in program instructions or regulations.
QUESTION 1: Title VIII, Section 822 - Cooperation with child support agencies: Paragraphs (l)(3) and (m)(3) of section 6 of the Food Stamp Act added by PRWORA state in part that, we shall not require a fee or other costs for services under part D of title IV. Do these fees and other costs include genetic testing costs?
ANSWER 1: Section 822 of PRWORA amends section 6 of the Food Stamp Act of 1977 (7 U.S.C. õ2015) to give State food stamp agencies the option to require that custodial and noncustodial parents cooperate with the State child support (Title IV-D) agency in establishing paternity and obtaining support as a condition of eligibility for food stamps. If a State food stamp agency elects to impose such a cooperation requirement, the IV-D agency shall not charge fees or other costs of IV-D program services to such affected individuals. These prohibited fees would include those for application for services, Federal income tax refund offset, genetic testing, and other fees. Costs would include any costs the State imposes for program services, as required or permitted by õ454(6) of the Social Security Act.
HEALTH CARE COVERAGE
QUESTION 1: Section 466(a)(19)(Health Care Coverage) - Does the phrase "unless the noncustodial parent contests the notice" imply or permit a right for the noncustodial parent to receive prior notice of the transfer of health insurance to such parent's new employer, and an opportunity for an administrative or judicial hearing before the transfer is made?
ANSWER 1: Section 382 of PRWORA added a new section 466(a)(19) to the Social Security Act. The purpose of this new section is to assure that when health insurance coverage is required as part of a child support order, coverage should continue with minimal interruption when the noncustodial parent changes jobs. Section 466(a)(19) does not require notice to the noncustodial parent when notice is provided to the new employer. States have discretion and flexibility to provide whatever additional notices they deem to be necessary.
QUESTION 1: Under existing law, States that had income withholding in place prior to the 1984 Federal income withholding requirements had waivers allowing them to NOT send advance notice of withholding to noncustodial parents if State due process requirements were met. The new requirements under PRWORA appear to remove all requirements for advance notice and require "post-notice" to noncustodial parents advising them that withholding has commenced.
Does the new law require ALL States to issue "post" withholding notice thereby eliminating need for any waivers for advance notice to the NCP? If so, the law does not provide a time frame within which States must provide the notice to the NCP that withholding has commenced. Will a time frame be established in regulation?
ANSWER 1: PRWORA's section 314, which amends section 466(b) of the Act, removed the requirement that the obligor be provided advance notice in initiated income withholding cases and also removed the provision for an exemption from advance notice for States that had a system of income withholding in effect on August 16, 1984. Amended section 466(b)(4) now requires all States to provide obligors with notice that either immediate or initiated withholding action has commenced. While no timeframes are provided in the law, the law requires that the obligor's notice include the information provided to the employer. The notice to the obligor should be sent concurrently or within a few days of the date the State sends the withholding order to the employer. We do not intend to regulate additional timeframes at this time.
QUESTION 2: Will FFP now be available for existing and expanded income withholding requirements for what we have called, "Non IV-D" income withholding cases?
ANSWER 2: FFP is available for activities required under section 454B for the collection and disbursement of payments in non-IV-D cases in which the support order was initially entered on or after January 1, 1994 and which the income of the obligor is subject to income withholding. IV-D agencies are not responsible for providing other services, or taking enforcement actions in these cases. FFP for all other actions taken on non-IV-D cases is not available, in accordance with OCSE-AT-94-02.
QUESTION 3: Section 314: Current law provides a good cause exception to wage withholding. Is this still the case or is good cause eliminated in all situations?
ANSWER 3: Both the good cause and alternative agreement exceptions at section 466(b)(3)(A) remain in effect for immediate withholding cases.
QUESTION 4: Section 314 requires the employer to pay within 7 days. South Dakota has 5 days in its current statute. Do we have to change even though the State has a shorter time frame?
ANSWER 4: Section 314 of PRWORA amends section 466(b)(6)(A)(i) of the Act to require employers to remit collections to the State Disbursement Unit "within" seven business days. If a State requires its employers to remit payments in less than seven days, it would be in compliance with this requirement.
QUESTION 5: South Dakota's definition of income is much broader than that of the Welfare Reform bill. Do we have to change our definition in view of the federal law and even though ours is broader?
ANSWER 5: PRWORA's section 314 amends section 466(b)(8) of the Act to include a definition of "income". If a State presently has a definition of "income" which includes all of the sources of compensation listed in the section 314 definition, the State need not amend its definition of income.
QUESTION 6: How will penalties be imposed on employers not complying with timeframes regarding income withholding in interstate cases? Who imposes the penalty?
ANSWER 6: Federal regulations at 45 CFR 303.100(h)(7) provide that except for when withholding is implemented, which is controlled by the State where the support order was entered, the law and procedures of the State in which the noncustodial parent is employed shall apply. In the event the employer fails to comply, the IV-D agency in the employer's State would be responsible for initiating the appropriate enforcement action, upon receipt of a request for such action from the IV-D agency which issued the order.
STATE LAW AUTHORIZING SUSPENSION OF LICENSES
QUESTION 1: The language refers to professional, occupational, and recreational licenses. If the State currently has no such provisions for suspending/revoking/withholding such licenses, will that be required, and how will the groups be defined?
ANSWER 1: Section 369 of PRWORA added a new section 466(a)(16) to the Social Security Act (the Act). Section 466(a) of the Act requires, in order to satisfy the State plan requirements in section 454(20)(A), that States have in effect all of the laws requiring the use of certain specified procedures to improve the effectiveness of the State IV-D program. States will need to enact and implement the required State legislation, including procedures to withhold, suspend, or restrict driver's licenses, professional and occupational licenses, and recreational licenses of individuals who owe overdue support, or who fail to comply with subpoenas or warrants relating to paternity or support proceedings. States may define which professional, occupational, and recreational licenses will be subject to the State law.
QUESTION 2: Currently, Nevada State law provides for suspension/revocation of drivers' licenses due to child support arrears through its governing board. Is further legislation required to provide for suspending, revoking, withholding licenses by the IV-D Agency, rather than the governing board (which is a State agency) due to the language which specifically states that "...the State has ... authority ...."
ANSWER 2: The State law requirements in section 466 of the Act do not specify that the IV-D agency must be the responsible State agency for implementing the required State laws. As long as the State agency (e.g., the driver's license governing board) implements the State statutory requirements that comply with the requirements of sections 466 and 454 of the Act, the State IV-D agency need not administer the requirements.
QUESTION 3: What is the definition of "recreational licenses" in Sec. 369 of the PRWORA? It would be very difficult to restrict/suspend/revoke hunting and fishing licenses since they are sold over the counter at many retail outlets (e.g., bait shops and sporting goods stores). There is no real centralized record or system of who has these licenses.
ANSWER 3: States have latitude in how they will define recreational licenses and implement State laws regarding license revocation. States may have procedures to be used "in appropriate cases" where an individual has failed to comply with IV-D subpoenas or warrants. For example, a contemnor's hunting and fishing license, disclosed in the course of a contempt proceeding, might be ordered revoked or suspended pending futurecompliance.
QUESTION 4: Does section 369 absolutely MANDATE that States enact license suspension legislation?
ANSWER 4: Yes, section 369 of PRWORA added a new section 466(a)(16) to the Act which requires that States have authority to withhold or suspend or restrict the use of certain licenses. Section 466(a) requires, in order to satisfy the State plan requirements in section 454(20)(A), that States have in effect laws requiring the use of certain specified procedures to increase the effectiveness of the State IV-D program.
There is, however, limited authority to request an exemption. Section 466(d) provides that if the State demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Secretary, through presentation of appropriate data or estimates, that the enactment of any law or the use of any procedure(s) under section 466 will not increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the State IV-D program, the Secretary may exempt the State, subject to continuing review and to termination of the exemption should circumstances change, from the requirement to enact the law or use the procedure(s) involved. Instructions for requesting an exemption from the mandatory laws and procedures in section 466 of the Act are included in Action Transmittal 97-02, issued February 2, 1997.
QUESTION 5: What are the consequences, if any, if a State's license revocation legislation does not include recreational licenses, and a State does not have an exemption under section 466(d) of the Act?
ANSWER 5: Failure to include recreational licenses in the State license revocation legislation, as required in section 369 of PRWORA, could result in a determination that the State was out of conformity with the title IV-D State plan requirements and disapproval of the State Plan. A State must have an approved plan as a condition of eligibility for funding of its IV-D program funding.
QUESTION 6: Welfare reform requires that we have a State law that gives us the authority to suspend licenses for failure to comply with subpoenas or warrants. Does this contemplate that we could or should suspend licenses of 3rd party individuals who do not comply with subpoenas or just the licenses of parties in support cases?
ANSWER 6: PRWORA, at section 369, adds section 466(a)(16) of the Act to require States to have laws requiring the use of procedures to withhold or suspend licenses of "individuals owing overdue support or failing, after receiving appropriate notice, to comply with subpoenas or warrants relating to paternity or child support proceedings". Although PRWORA only applies toindividuals who owe overdue support, States may wish to extend such procedures to cover third parties who do not comply with a child support related subpoena.
LOCATOR INFORMATION FROM INTERSTATE NETWORKS
QUESTION 1: Does "have access" in section 466(a)(12) of the Act as added by section 315 of PRWORA mean that the Federal government or another State's IV-D agency must have direct on-line access to any system that Oregon uses to locate an individual, or does it simply mean that if the Federal government or another state asks us for information, we (the Oregon IV-D program) will look it up for them and send them the information? If we need to establish on-line access for other States or the Federal government, we'll need State legislation (requiring numerous other State of Oregon agencies to allow direct access, to other States/Federal government, to information that we now access on-line).
ANSWER 1: Section 466(a)(12) of the Act, as added by Section 315 of PRWORA, requires States to enact laws and use procedures to ensure that all Federal and State agencies conducting activities under title IV-D of the Social Security Act have access to any system used by the State to locate an individual for purposes relating to motor vehicles or law enforcement. The intent of this State plan requirement is to help State IV-D agencies get access--for parent locator purposes--to law enforcement and motor vehicle state databases and to interstate networks that State law enforcement agencies and motor vehicle agencies subscribe to or participate in, such as the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (NLETS), the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) network.
This provision will ensure that there are State laws and procedures in place which give Federal and State IV-D agencies the authority and right to access and use these databases. Federal law does not specify how that access by State and Federal IV-D agencies must be accomplished nor is such on-line access required in the same manner that the State may have access to information. If direct, on-line access to these databases and networks is an option, that would be a way States could choose to meet the requirements of this section. State IV-D agencies are encouraged to consult with their State law enforcement and motor vehicle agencies, as well as the interstate networks, regarding implementation of this provision.
QUESTION 2: Does Section 315 of PRWORA which adds section 466(a)(12) of the Act, mean that States will be uploading data from motor vehicle and law enforcement data banks to the FPLS?
ANSWER 2: No. Section 315 of PRWORA requires States to enact laws and use procedures to ensure that all Federal and State agencies conducting activities under title IV-D of the Act have access to any system used by the State to locate an individualfor purposes relating to motor vehicles or law enforcement. In ensuring that State and Federal child support agencies have authorized access to locator systems and interstate networks used by State law enforcement and motor vehicle agencies, States are not required or expected to upload information from such locator systems.
(including Liens, Safeguarding Privacy and Work Requirements)
QUESTION 1: If the Child Support provisions are effective upon enactment (August 22, 1966), will the States be given additional time to implement these provisions?
ANSWER 1: Each of PRWORA's child support provisions has its own effective date (varying from the date of enactment to 5 years following the date of enactment). The Regional Offices have additional information regarding PRWORA's various effective dates. States should have procedures and laws in place, accordingly.
QUESTION 2: Section 368 of PRWORA requires that States have procedures under which liens arise by operation of law for amounts of overdue support owed by noncustodial parents who reside or own property in the State. How will other parties be put on notice of such a lien if no document is filed? Will States be required to maintain a separate database which contains lien information for all child support debts so that creditors can access it to determine if a lien exists? Will States be required to maintain such a database for non-IV-D child support debts/liens?
ANSWER 2: Section 466(a)(4), as amended by section 368 of PRWORA, requires States to have in effect laws requiring the use of certain specified procedures to increase the effectiveness of the State IV-D program, and specifically procedures under which liens arise by operation of State law. States have latitude in how they will implement State laws regarding liens, including what procedures they determine are necessary to maintain records of liens for unpaid child support or to ensure notice of the existence of a lien. We suggest that State IV-D agencies work with their existing or new partners who have experience and expertise in liens. Additional technical assistance sources, including what other States are doing in this area, can be found in the U.S. Commission on Interstate Child Support's Report to Congress, and in the legislative implementation guide prepared by OCSE, and available through the Regional Office.
QUESTION 3: States must have procedures which provide that a release of address of parties is not allowed if a protection order is in place or if there is reason to believe that physical or emotional harm may result. Does this mean that in all other instances we are now required to release address information?
ANSWER 3: PRWORA's section 303 amends section 454 of the Act to require that all States implement safeguards for the handling of confidential information to protect against the unauthorized disclosure of information. This section, 303, also requires the States to prohibit the release of address information to a partyif that party is subject to a protective order. However, confidential information cannot be freely released simply because no protective order exists. In such cases the release of confidential address information will be subject to existing State safeguards.
QUESTION 4: Who administers the work requirement for persons owing past-due child support? Is it the IV-A agency or can it go through another community service program? If there's a choice, who makes the decision?
ANSWER 4: PRWORA's section 365 amends section 466 of the Act to require the States to have laws and procedures under which delinquent obligors, in public assistance cases, pay any arrearages in accordance with a plan. In public assistance cases, the State has the option of requiring the obligor, who is not incapacitated, to participate in work activities. This section does not require that a "work program" be administered by the IV-D agency. A State's work program may be administered by the IV-A agency or another entity.
RIGHTS TO NOTIFICATION OF HEARINGS
QUESTION 1: Under section 454(12)(B) of the Act, would an automated system generated notice of the provisions of the order or determination satisfy the requirement to provide individuals who are applying for or receiving services under the State plan, or who are parties to cases in which services are being provided under the State plan with a copy of any order establishing or modifying a child support obligation, or a notice of determination that there should be no change in the amount of the child support award, within 14 days after issuance of such order or determination?
ANSWER 1: Subsection 454(12)(B) as added by section 304 of PRWORA, requires that an actual copy of the order be sent to the parties within 14 days of issuance of any order establishing or modifying a child support obligation, or a notice of determination that there should be no change in the amount of the child support award. If a State IV-D program cannot receive within 14 days of the entry of an order, a copy of the order entered by a forum within that State, it may, within 14 days of the entry of an order, send an automated system generated notice of the provisions of the order, but must follow-up and provide the parties with an actual copy of the order within 14 days of the date the IV-D program receives a copy of the order.
Sections 331, 332 and 333
QUESTION 1: What is HHS's position re: paternity establishment provisions (for child support enforcement) in cases where a lesbian couple has a child and does not want to list a "father"?
ANSWER 1: Under sections 408(a)(2) and (3) of the Social Security Act, as added by section 103 of PRWORA, an individual seeking Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) under title IV-A of the Act must, as a condition of receipt of assistance, assign to the State any rights to support a family member may have and must cooperate with the State in establishing paternity, and in establishing, modifying, or enforcing a support order, unless the State finds good cause for failing to do so.
Under section 454(29)(A) of the Act, as added by section 333 of PRWORA, the child support agency makes the determination of cooperation. Cooperation includes "providing the State agency with the name of, and such other information as the State agency may require with respect to, the noncustodial parent of the child." The State must, however, consider good cause criteria and "other exceptions" which take into account "the best interests of the child."
If a lesbian couple has adopted a child, and there are no paternal rights or any support obligation on behalf of a father which can be enforced under State law, then it is reasonably clear that paternity establishment would not be required. Similarly, if one partner had been artificially inseminated and the identity of the father was unknown and could not be determined, it would be impossible to establish paternity. In the latter situation there might or might not be legally enforceable rights against the mother's partner. If there was an adoption recognized under State law, both adoptive parents would presumably be liable. In either event, State law would govern in determining what support rights existed and were enforceable.
If the mother could identify the father and paternity could be established, she would be required to cooperate in establishing paternity.
QUESTION 2: Is the 60-day time frame as set forth by Section 331 of PRWORA, which added a new õ466(a)(5)(D)(ii)(I) of the Act, an outside time frame allowed for rescinding a signed voluntary paternity acknowledgment or must a full 60 days be afforded in all cases? Current law in New Jersey mandates conclusive presumption upon voluntarily acknowledging paternity. The Certificate of Parentage (COP), New Jersey's voluntary acknowledgment form, is page 5 of the birth record and linked to the birth certificate. In order to get the unmarried father's information on the birth certificate, a COP must be completed. The hospitals are required to process birth records within 5 days. Imposing a 60-day requirement will complicate and hinder New Jersey's birth record process.
ANSWER 2: Section 331(a) of PRWORA amended section 466(a)(5) of the Act, creating a new subsection 466(a)(5)(D)(ii) which addresses the circumstances under which a signed voluntary acknowledgement of paternity is considered a legal finding of paternity. Section 466(a)(5)(D)(ii) of the Act requires that a signed voluntary acknowledgement of paternity is considered a legal finding of paternity, "subject to the right of any signatory to rescind the acknowledgement" within sixty days or at an earlier administrative or judicial proceeding relating to the child, including a proceeding to establish a child support order, in which the signatory is a party. State laws must include the right of any signatory to rescind the voluntary acknowledgement of paternity under both circumstances.
QUESTION 3: Section 466(a)(5)(M) of the Act, as added by õ331 of PRWORA, sets forth the requirement for procedures in which voluntary acknowledgments and adjudications of paternity are filed with the State registry of birth records for comparison with information in the State case registry. Although New Jersey's process satisfies the requirement for comparing paternity information with the State case registry, the information regarding acknowledgement and adjudication is stored with the IV-D agency. It was determined early in the planning stages of POP (NJ's paternity establishment project) that this method was most conducive to New Jersey's operation. The Bureau of Vital Statistics, which is the State's registry of birth records, does not have the resources to accommodate this duty. Will States be allowed to continue using procedures which prove to be successful and are already in place?
ANSWER 3: If the IV-D agency, rather than the State registry of birth records, maintains the birth records and can perform the necessary information comparison of voluntary and adjudicated paternities with the State case registry, the State may request an exemption from meeting the specified requirements of section 466(a)(5)(M) of the Act. Section 466(d) provides that if the State demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Secretary, through presentation of appropriate data or estimates, that the enactment of any law or the use of any procedure(s) under section 466 will not increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the State IV-D program, the Secretary may exempt the State, subject to continuing review and to termination of the exemption should circumstances change, from the requirement to enact the law or use the procedure(s) involved. Instructions for requesting an exemption from the mandatory laws and procedures in section 466 of the Act are included in Action Transmittal 97-02, issued February 2, 1997.
QUESTION 4: Section 466(a)(5)(D)(ii)(II) of the Act as amended by section 331(a) of PRWORA specifies that the right to rescind the acknowledgment ends within the earlier of 60 days or "the date of an administrative or judicial proceeding relating to the child (including a proceeding to establish a support order) ...". Is the "date of ... proceeding" the date of filing of the action or the date of judgment in the action?
ANSWER 4: The date of administrative or judicial proceeding is the date of disposition or the date of default order. Disposition is the date on which the support obligation is officially established (i.e. ordered by a judge or administrative officer or otherwise issued under State law). If no hearing is held because the alleged father fails to appear, the date of the default order would be an available alternative to date of disposition.
QUESTION 5: For the purposes of meeting the Paternity Establishment Percentage requirements under Section 341 of PRWORA, at what point can a State "count" an affidavit of paternity? At the time the affidavit is signed? 60 days after it is signed?
ANSWER 5: PRWORA's section 341 amends section 452 of the Act to revise the performance standards for paternity establishment. A State may count a filed paternity acknowledgement as an "established" paternity. A State may count the acknowledgement upon filing, but if it is rescinded within 60 days, the rescinded acknowledgement must be removed from the State's "established" paternity count. If paternity is later established by an appropriate process under State law, the case would then be added back to the "established" paternity count.
SIMPLIFIED PROCESS FOR REVIEW & ADJUSTMENT
OF CHILD SUPPORT ORDERS
QUESTION 1: Nevada Revised Statutes are silent regarding a dollar amount or percentage amount which determines when a review and adjustment will occur. State child support policy/rule states that the order must increase or decrease by 20%. Does paragraph B of Section 351 allow Nevada to continue current policy/rule and not have it written in statutes?
ANSWER 1: Section 466(a)(10(B) of the Act as amended by Section 351 of PRWORA applies solely to requests for more frequent reviews than the 3-year cycle (or shorter cycle that the State determines). Nevada may, in such instances, continue to have and apply its current State rule/policy for selecting eligible cases for adjustment that are reviewed for more frequent reviews, if State law defines "substantial change in circumstances" as a change in income which produces a guideline award amount at least 20% higher or lower than the existing award amount. Regardless of what the State determines "substantial change in circumstances" to be to justify an adjustment outside the 3-year or other periodic cycle, the amount of the award must be set in accordance with State guidelines. For State Title IV-D plan purposes, the procedures States must have and use to meet Federal requirements need not be codified in State statute--State administrative rules, court rules, and/or other policy with the force and effect of law will suffice.
QUESTION 2: Is it correct that there are no mandatory 3-year reviews unless requested by the parties or the State?
ANSWER 2: Yes, section 351 of PRWORA specifies that 3-year reviews are required only upon request of either party or the State, if there is an assignment under Part A.
QUESTION 3: For public assistance cases, is the State required
to do a 3-year review?
ANSWER 3: No, States are not required to do 3-year reviews for public assistance cases but they have the option to pursue such reviews [466(a)(10)(A)(i)] of the Act. Although triennial reviews are no longer mandatory, States are encouraged to periodically review orders in which support rights are assigned to the State so as to ensure that the amount of support being paid is consistent with the amount that would be presumably correct under State guidelines for setting child support award amounts.
QUESTION 4: Does the requirement to "adjust the order in accordance with the guidelines...if the amount...differs" preclude a State law providing a threshold deviation of, forexample, 15% before an adjustment is deemed appropriate?
ANSWER 4: No, section 466(a)(10)(A)(i)(I) of the Act, as amended by section 351 of PRWORA, does not preclude a State law from providing a threshold deviation. First of all, according to section 466(a)(10)(A)(i) of the Act, the State must take "into account the best interests of the child involved." A small reduction in support, or even an increase, because of a deviation in the guidelines' amount might not be in the child's best interests. Second, according to the requirement at 45 CFR 303.8(c)(8), "Adjust the order, or determine that there should be no adjustment, as appropriate, in accordance, with the State's guidelines for setting child support awards...", the order should be adjusted in accordance with the guidelines "if appropriate." Given the latitude States have to simply apply Cost Of Living Adjustments (COLA), or to set thresholds if they use automated methods, there is similar latitude that States may determine that small deviations are "inappropriate" for adjustment.
QUESTION 5: Does "the request of the State Agency under the State plan" [section 466(a)(10)(A)(i) of the Act] mean the IV-A agency or the IV-D agency, or can the State choose which of these two agencies is meant?
ANSWER 5: The "State agency" identified under amended subsection 466(a)(10)(A)(i) of the Act refers to the IV-D agency.
QUESTION 6: Does the amended law eliminate the requirement to do reviews every 36 months in all IV-D cases with assignments (45 CFR 303.8(c)(4)) unless the parent or the State agency requests the review?
ANSWER 6: Yes, the new law eliminates mandatory reviews; only reviews upon request are required.
QUESTION 7: Under Section 466(a)(10)(A)(i)(I) of the Act, does "IF APPROPRIATE" mean that if a State reviews a case under the 3-year cycle provision using State guidelines, it can determine not to adjust the order if the inconsistency between the current order and the guideline's amount does not meet the "reasonable quantitative standard established by the State"? [45 CFR 303.8(d)(1)(i); (d)(2)].
ANSWER 7: Yes, under section 466(a)(10)(A)(I) of the Act, as amended by section 351 of PRWORA, the term "if appropriate" is consistent with the provision in 45 CFR 303.8(d)(1)(i) "the inconsistency between the order and the guidelines amount does not meet a reasonable quantitative standard established by the State, in accordance with paragraph (d)(2)." The term "if appropriate" is also consistent with 45 CFR 303.8(d)(2) which reads, "The State may establish a reasonable quantitative standard based upon either a fixed dollar amount or percentage,or both, as a basis for determining whether an inconsistency between the existent child support award amount and the amount of support which results from application of the guidelines is adequate grounds for petitioning for adjustment of the order." Therefore, the reasonable quantitative standard may be used to determine not to adjust the order. OCSE is working on an omnibus regulation to eliminate inconsistencies between regulations and PRWORA.
QUESTION 8: Is it only under section 466(a)(10)(i)(III) that a State can establish a standard for determining when an adjustment is warranted?
ANSWER 8: No, under both subsections 466(a)(10)(A)(i)(I) and (III) of the Act as amended by section 451 of PRWORA, it is appropriate for the State to use its threshold standard established in accordance with 45 CFR 303.8(d)(2) to determine if an adjustment is appropriate.
QUESTION 9: Under section 466(a)(10)(A)(i)(III), does the phrase "eligible for adjustment under any threshold that may be established by the State" refer to the optional "reasonable quantitative standard established by the State" [45 CFR 303.8(d)(1)(i), (d)(2)]?
ANSWER 9: Yes, under section 466(a)(10)(A)(i)(III) as amended by section 451 of PRWORA, "eligible for adjustment..." refers to those orders determined by the automated method that are appropriate for an adjustment taking into account any "reasonable quantitative standard established by the State" at 45 CFR 303.8(d)(1)(i) and (d)(2). Establishment of a threshold by the State is an option that can be used in conjunction with this method. OCSE is working on an omnibus regulation to eliminate inconsistencies between regulations and PRWORA.
QUESTION 10: Under section 466(a)(10)(A)(ii) of the Act, does "IF APPROPRIATE" mean that a State can determine not to (re)adjust the order if the inconsistency between current and guideline support does not merit an adjustment based on the "reasonable quantitative standard established by the State" [45 CFR 303.8(d)(1)(i), (d)(2)]?
ANSWER 10: Yes, "if appropriate" in section 466(a)(10)(A)(ii) as amended by section 451 of PRWORA refers to whether any inconsistency between the current support order and the State guidelines merits an adjustment based on the "reasonable quantitative standard" as referenced in 45 CFR 303.8(d)(1)(i) and (d)(2). OCSE is working on an omnibus regulation to eliminate inconsistencies between regulations and PRWORA.
QUESTION 11: Under paragraphs section 466(a)(10)(B) and (C), does "IF APPROPRIATE" mean that the requesting party must"demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances"? Is this definition of a "substantial change" to be the same as the "reasonable quantitative standard established by the State" [45 CFR 303.8(d)(1)(i), (d)(2)]?
ANSWER 11: The language "if appropriate" in paragraph 466(a)(10)(B) refers to the requirement in that section that the requesting party must "demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances."
SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS
QUESTION 1: Section 317 - Social Security Numbers - Does this section have prospective application only?
ANSWER 1: Under PRWORA's section 317 which adds section 466(a)(17) of the Act, the requirement for the recording of social security numbers, has prospective application only.
QUESTION 2: Social Security Numbers: Are we responsible for getting all these other entities to comply? Or does this legislation place any of the burden on the entities to comply?
ANSWER 2: The burden is upon the States to have necessary laws and procedures so the entities can comply with this requirement. PRWORA's section 317 amends section 466 of the Act to make it a IV-D program requirement that Social Security Numbers be collected as provided (in section 317). Under section 466, as amended, the State must have statutorily prescribed procedures in place to collect this information as a condition of approval of its State IV-D plan.
(Block Grants to States for Social Services)
QUESTION 1: Section 908(b) of PRWORA amended section 2002 of the Act (title XX; Block Grants to States for Social Services) by adding a new paragraph "(f)" indicating that title XX funds may be used to provide vouchers for services to families who have become ineligible for assistance under title IV-A due to a durational limit, or to families denied cash assistance under title IV-A for a child who is born to a member of the family receiving assistance.
If a State chooses to use title XX funds for this purpose, will child support collections be used to reimburse these Federal funds as with title IV-A funds?
ANSWER 1: No. There is no provision for an assignment of support rights under title XX as is required at section 408(a)(3) under title IV-A. There is no such requirement under title XX, and no reference to an assignment of support rights in the conference report.
QUESTION 2: How will distribution be affected?
ANSWER 2: In all IV-D cases (existing IV-A and those who have applied for IV-D services), distribution of collections will be in accordance with section 457 of the Act.
CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT FOR INDIAN TRIBES
QUESTION 1: Under PRWORA, will Tribes be permitted to operate their own Child Support collection programs?
ANSWER 1: PRWORA establishes two avenues which are available for tribes to use to provide IV-D child support enforcement services on tribal lands. First, section 375(a)(3) adds a new subsection (33) to section 454 of the Act to provide that a State may enter into a cooperative agreement with a tribe or tribal organization to provide child support IV-D services. Second, section 375(b) adds new subsection (f) to section 455 of the Act to provide that the Secretary of HHS may make direct payments to a tribe or tribal organization for the provision of IV-D services if the tribe has an approved IV-D plan. Congress apparently intended to add a new subsection (f) to section 455 but inadvertently added an additional subsection (b) although there is an existing subsection (b).
QUESTION 2: If yes, does PRWORA provide administrative funds for the Tribe to establish a Child Support Enforcement office?
ANSWER 2: In the cases listed above, either the State or the tribe will be reimbursed at the applicable matching rate of 66% of allowable IV-D expenditures. The State and/or the tribe will be responsible for the balance of 34% of allowable IV-D expenditures.
QUESTION 3: If yes to either of the above, will collections from noncustodial parents be forwarded to the Tribal Child Support Enforcement program?
ANSWER 3: If the terms of a cooperative agreement between a State and a tribe provide that the tribe will operate as a local disbursement unit defined in section 312 of PRWORA (and the Secretary agrees that such a system will not cost more nor take more time to establish or operate than a centralized system) payments made under support orders which the tribe is enforcing may be collected by the tribal disbursement unit and distributed to the family, State or Federal government in accordance with Federal distribution requirements at section 457 of the Act. If the terms of the cooperative agreement do not provide for a tribal disbursement unit, all support payments must be made through the State's disbursement unit.
If the tribe has an approved IV-D plan and receives direct Federal funding in accordance with section 455(f) of the Act, it must establish and operate a tribal disbursement unit, as required under new section 454(B) of the Act, through which all support payments are made and distributed in accordance with section 457 of the Act.
QUESTION 4: If yes to any of the above, will the IRS honor requests from Tribal Child Support Enforcement programs for the withholding of Federal income tax refunds due to non-custodial absent parents who have failed to meet their child support obligations?
ANSWER 4: If the tribe has an approved IV-D plan, it will be responsible for providing for the collection of past-due support from Federal tax refunds in accordance with section 464 of the Act by certifying appropriate cases to the Secretary of the Treasury.
QUESTION 5: On the other hand, if a Tribe does not choose to
operate their own Child Support collection program, but does choose to operate its own TANF program how are disbursements (i.e. any pass-through payments to families and arrearage payments) to be made since the payment is collected by the State?
ANSWER 5: All distributions of collected support will be governed by section 457 of the Act.
QUESTION 6: Section 375(b) of PRWORA adds section 455(f) to the Social Security Act (the Act), under which the Secretary, in appropriate cases, is authorized to make direct payments under title IV-D of the Act to an Indian tribe or tribal organization which has an approved child support enforcement plan under title IV-D. Will the tribe or tribal organization funded under this authority receive Federal financial participation (FFP) at the established rate of 66% of total program administrative costs?
ANSWER 6: Yes, tribes which have an approved IV-D plan under this section will be eligible to receive FFP at the established rate of 66% of program administrative costs.
UIFSA, ADOPTION OF UNIFORM STATE LAWS
QUESTION 1: Section 321 of the PRWORA requires States by January 1, 1998 to adopt the version of UIFSA approved by the ABA on February 9, 1993 together with any amendments officially adopted before January 1, 1998 by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws.
Section 321 does not use the term "verbatim" but simply says we must have in effect the Act. Are minor changes are acceptable?
ANSWER 1: To comply with section 321 of PRWORA, States must enact, by January 1, 1998, the version of UIFSA approved by ABA on February 9, 1993 together with any amendments officially adopted before January 1, 1998 by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State laws. Minor changes are not acceptable nor may States substitute their own wording or leave out parts of the UIFSA. However, throughout UIFSA there are parentheticals which allow States to have a choice in terminology (e.g., section 102 gives States some flexibility in identifying which entities constitute the "tribunal" authorized to deal with family support).
QUESTION 2: Does section 321 require that each and every section of UIFSA be adopted, for example, must the direct income withholding provisions be adopted?
ANSWER 2: Yes; Section 321 requires that all sections of UIFSA be included in the UIFSA law enacted by each State.
QUESTION 3: What version of UIFSA must States use now for drafting legislation for the 1997 legislative session?
Do the comments have to be approved by NCCUSL and, if so, when will this happen?
ANSWER 3: States should use NCCUSL's final July 18, 1996 amended version for drafting State legislation to enact UIFSA or to revise existing State UIFSA laws to incorporate changes. NCCUSL Style Committee changes were issued as DCL-9662 on November 8, 1996 and the updated comments with the revised UIFSA was issued as DCL-9713 on March 6, 1997. No additional official amendments are expected to be issued by January 1, 1998.
QUESTION 4: Section 321 - UIFSA: Can we anticipate more changes from the ABA and/or the National Conference of Commissioners on State Laws between now and January 1, 1998?
ANSWER 4: On July 18, 1996, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL) adopted several changes to the UIFSA originally approved and recommended by NCCUSL in August 1992 and approved by the A.B.A. in February1993. Additional changes are unlikely before January 1, 1998.
QUESTION 5: Why did all references to mailing by first class mail in UIFSA get taken out? Does this mean we have to personally serve now?
ANSWER 5: The intent of removing the "first class mail" requirement for notice in UIFSA was to encourage maximum flexibility and allow for less restrictive methods of providing notice (e.g., fax, electronic means, Federal Express) allowable under State law rather than to limit States to the methods for providing notice (mail) previously specified in various sections (e.g., 305(e), 307(b)(4), 307(b)(5)).
QUESTION 6: Under section 307 of UIFSA, an attorney/client relationship is neither negated or determined to exist. In South Dakota, we expressly recognize there is no such relationship. Do we have to now change?
ANSWER 6: No. The intent of section 307(c) is to indicate that UIFSA itself does not establish an attorney/client relationship or preclude one from existing as determined by State law. As explained in Part II, B.5. of the Prefatory Note to UIFSA, Section 307(c) "expressly takes no position on whether the IV-D agency assisting a family establishes an attorney-client relationship with the applicant." Section 307(c) does not require a State to change its existing law on whether the IV-D agency has a fiduciary or lawyer/client relationship to parties in a child support case.
QUESTION 7: Section 506 of UIFSA states that an obligor can contest a wage withholding order from another State in the same manner as he or she can contest a wage withholding order issued in this State. This is impossible to comply with. In South Dakota, OCSE enters the Order for Withholding of Income (OWI's), and is responsible for any contests regarding the same. With direct wage withholding from other States allowed, we will not even have a case or know what is happening, so how can we handle the contest? The other State has all the records, not us, so the contest must be with that State.
ANSWER 7: Section 506 of UIFSA specifies how and where an obligor may contest a direct income withholding order and the obligor's responsibilities for giving notice. Although section 506 states that the employer-State's local law process is followed, it does not address that State's responsibilities, does not specify how to obtain the paperwork for handling the contest, and does not designate the employer State tribunal and/or support enforcement agency as a required recipient of notice of the contest.
Due to these gaps, OCSE suggests that a number of alternative approaches are possible. One approach is for the obligor to register the income withholding order in the State of the obligor's principal employment following section 602 of UIFSA. Under this approach, the obligor notifies the parties and proceeds to contest in the employment State by supplying the tribunal in that State with the paperwork.
Another approach is for the State issuing the direct income withholding order, upon receipt of notice from the obligor under õ506(b)(1), to ask the tribunal in the employer State under UIFSA õ602 to register the income withholding order and the contest can take place in the employer State.
Alternatively, the State issuing the direct withholding could withdraw the direct withholding order and initiate a two-State action, either asking the responding tribunal to register the support order or the income withholding order for enforcement under õ602 or sending the documents required for registering the support order or income withholding order to the support enforcement agency of another State for administrative enforcement under new õ507 (formerly õ502) of UIFSA. Under these routes, enforcement of the income withholding order or support order is taken by the registering tribunal or support enforcement agency in the registering State and any contests would be handled in accordance with õõ606 and 607 of UIFSA.
It is important to note that new õ506 of UIFSA officially adopted by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL) on July 18, 1996, is derived from previous õ501(b). In the official comments to the original UIFSA, the NCCUSL explained that õ501(b) [now õ506] incorporates the law specifying the defenses an alleged obligor may raise to an intrastate withholding order into the interstate context. Therefore, a contested hearing on an income withholding order would be limited to narrow, "mistake of fact" issues. As noted in the comments to õ501:
"Generally, States have accepted the IV-D requirement that the only allowable defense is a "mistake of fact." 42 U.S.C. õ666(b)(4)(A). This apparently includes "errors in the amount of current support owed, errors in the amount of accrued arrearage or mistaken identity of the alleged obligor" while excluding "other grounds, such as the inappropriateness of the amount of support ordered to be paid, changed financial circumstances of the obligor, or lack of visitation." H.R. Rep. No. 98-527, 98th Cong., 1st Sess. 33 (1983). The latter claims must be pursued in a separate legal action in the State having continuing, exclusive jurisdiction over the support order, not in a UIFSA proceeding."
ACCESS AND VISITATION CONTACTS
Director, Administrative Office of Courts
300 Dexter Avenue
Montgomery, Alabama 36104
Child Support Enforcement Division
Department of Revenue
550 West Seventh Avenue, Suite 310
Anchorage, Alaska 99501
Division of Child Support Enforcement
3443 N. Central Ave. - 4th Floor
Phoenix, Arizona 85012
Administrative Office of the Courts
625 Marshall Street
Little Rock, Arkansas 72201-1020
Office of Child Support Enforcement
Department of Social Services
State of California
744 P. St., M.S.17-29
Sacramento, California 95814
Responsible Fatherhood Initiative
136 State Capitol
Denver, Colorado 80203-1792
Joyce A. Thomas, Commissioner
Department of Social Services
25 Sigourney St.
Hartford, Connecticut 06106-5033
Social Service Senior Administrator
Division of State Service Center
Herman Holloway Campus
1901 N. DuPont Hwy.
New Castle, Delaware 19720
(302) 577-4961 X15
Bureau of Paternity and Child
800 9th St. S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20024
Fax (202) 645-4102
Secretary of Children and Family Services
1317 Winewood Blvd.
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0700
Child Support Enforcement
Division of Family and Children Services
Department of Human Resources
2 Peachtree Street, Suite 15-107
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
Deputy Attorney General
Child Support Enforcement Unit
Department of Law
238 Archbishop F.C. Flores Street
Suite 701, Pacific News Building
Agana, Guam 96910
Phone (671) 475-3360 or 475-3363
FAX: (671) 477-6118
FIPS code GU66010
Child Support Enforcement Agency
Department of the Attorney General
State of Hawaii
680 Iwilei Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96817
Child Support Services
Department of Health and Welfare
P.O. Box 83720
Boise, Idaho 83720-0036
Mr. Robert Wright
Department of Public Aid
State of Illinois
100 S. Grand Ave., East
Springfield, Illinois 62762
James M. Hmurovich
Division of Family and Children
Family and Social Services Administration
402 West Washington Street, Room W392
Indiana Government Center South
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
Charles M. Palmer
Department of Human Services
Hoover State Office Building
Des Moines, Iowa 50319
Rochelle Chronister, Secretary
Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services
Docking State Office Building
915 SW Harrison, Room 603-N
Topeka, Kansas 66612-1570
Viola Miller, Secretary
Cabinet for Families and Children
CHR Building, Fourth Floor
275 East Main Street
Frankfort, Kentucky 40621
Child Support Enforcement
618 Main Street
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70804
Bureau of Family Independence
Department of Human Service
11 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333-0011]
Child Support Enforcement Administration
Department of Human Resources
Saratoga State Center
311 West Saratoga Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201
Jerry J. Fay
Child Support Enforcement Division
Department of Revenue
1401 Portland Street
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139
Director, Office of Child Support
Family Independence Agency
7109 West Saginaw Highway
P.O. Box 30478
Lansing, Michigan 48909-7978
Child Support Enforcement Division
Department of Human Services
444 Lafayette Road North
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155-3846
Richard Harris, Director
Child Support Enforcement
Department of Human Services
Post Office Box 352
Jackson, Mississippi 39205
Teresa Kaiser, Director
Division of Child Support Enforcement
Department of Social Services
P.O. Box 1527
Jefferson City, Missouri 65102-1527
Hank Hudson, Administrator
Department of Public Health and Human Services
Child and Family Services Division
1400 Broadway, Room C114
Helena, Montana 59620
Daryl D. Wusk
Child Support Administrator
Department of Health and Human Services
301 Centennial Mail South
5th Floor, P.O. Box 95044
Lincoln, Nebraska 68509-5026
Leland Sullivan, Chief
Child Support Enforcement
2527 North Carson Street
Carson City, Nevada 89710
Special Assistant to the Governor
c/o Governor's Office
New Hampshire State House
107 North Maine St.
Concord, New Hampshire 03301
James J. Ciancia
Administrative Office of the Courts
State of New Jersey
Hughes Justice Complex
Trenton, New Jersey 08625
Child Support Enforcement Bureau
Department of Human Resources
State of New Mexico
P.O. Box 25109
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87503
Brian Wing, Acting Commissioner
Department of Social Services
40 North Pearl Street
Albany, New York 12243
Kevin Fitzgerald, Director
Division of Social Services
325 N. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, North Carolina 27603-5905
Henry C. "Bud" Wessman
Department of Human Services
3rd Floor - Judicial Wing
600 East Boulevard
Bismarck, North Dakota 58505-0250
Office of Family Assistance and Child Support
Department of Human Services
30 East Broad Street, 31st Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43266-0423
Division Administrator for Child Support
Department of Human Services
State of Oklahoma
P.O. Box 53552
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73125
Oregon Child Support Enforcement Program
Offices of Services to Children and Families
Department of Human Services
1495 Edgewater NW, Suite 155
Salem, Oregon 97304
FAX (503) 986-6154
Daniel N. Richard
Bureau of Child Support Enforcement
Department of Public Welfare
P.O. Box 8018
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17105-8018
Miguel A. Verdiales, Esq.
Administration for Child Support Enforcement
Department of the Family
P.O. Box 902-3349
San Juan, Puerto Rico 00902-3349
Chief Judge Jeremiah S. Jeremiah, Jr.
Rhode Island Family Court
J. Joseph Garrahy Judicial Complex
1 Dorrance Plaza
Providence, Rhode Island 02903
Jim Clark, Director
Department of Social Services
Post Office Box 1520
Columbia, South Carolina 29202-1520
Jim Ellenbecker, Secretary
Department of Social Services
700 Governor Drive
Pierre, South Dakota 57501-2291
(605) 773-3165 or 3641
Joyce D. McClaren, Director
Child Support Services
Department of Human Services
Citizen's Plaza Building
Nashville, Tennessee 37248-7400
Fax: (615) 741-4165
Attorney General of Texas
214 W. 14th St.
Austin, Texas 78701
Department of Human Services
120 North 200 West #319
Salt Lake City, Utah 84103
Agency of Human Service
103 South Main Street
Waterbury, Vermont 05671-0201
Nathaniel L. Young, Jr.
Assistant Commissioner for Child Support Enforcement
Department of Social Services
730 East Broad Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219-1849
Aurjul Wilson, Esq.
Director, Paternity and Child Support Division
Department of Justice
GERS Complex - Second Floor
48B-50C Kronprindsens Gade
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands 00802
Division of Child Support
Economic Services Division
Department of Social and Health Services
P.O. Box 9162
Olympia, Washington 98507-9162
Jeffrey K. Matherly
Department of Health and Human Resources
Building 3, Room 206
Charleston, West Virginia 25305
Family Preservation and Support Program
Department of Health and Family Services
Shirley Carson, Director
Department of Family Services
Hathaway Building, 3rd Floor
Cheyenne, Wyoming 82002