< Back to Search

Request for Comments on Proposed Approach for Improving the Income Withholding Process


Published: September 3, 2010
Information About:
State/Local Child Support Agencies, Tribal Child Support Agencies
Case Management, Enforcement, Employer Responsibilities, Income/Wage Withholding
Policy, Dear Colleague Letters (DCL)



DATE: September 03, 2010

ATTACHMENT: Improving the Income Withholding Order (IWO) Process


RE: Request for Comments on Proposed Approach for Improving the Income Withholding Process

Dear Colleague:

For several years, the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) has been working with state child support enforcement agencies, employers and the judiciary to improve the income withholding process. In 2002, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report entitled “Child Support Enforcement: Clear Guidance Would Help Ensure Proper Access to Information and Use of Wage Withholding by Private Firms” which contained recommendations that were implemented in the 2007 iteration of the Income Withholding for Support form (IWO) and resulted in improvements in the process. However, it is clear that further guidance is needed to fully address the concerns that were identified in the GAO report and are continuing to cause delays in processing IWOs.

Earlier this year, OCSE convened a group of employers, members of the judiciary, and state and federal child support enforcement representatives to discuss items that could be addressed to improve the income withholding process and to develop an approach for implementing the improvements. The group identified the two most common areas for improvement in the income withholding process:

  1. income withholding orders not directed to the State Disbursement Unit (SDU) as required by federal law (section 454B of the Social Security Act (the Act)); and,
  2. income withholding orders not issued on the OMB-approved Income Withholding for Support form as required by federal law (section 466(a)(8) and 466(b)(6)(A)(ii) of the Act).

This is an ideal time to address improvements because the IWO form is currently in the renewal process. The group decided to approach the areas for improvement by separating the income withholding orders into two categories:

  1. new income withholding orders (issued after 11/01/10); and,
  2. existing income withholding orders (issued between 01/01/94 to 10/31/10).

The group agreed that each category would require a different approach for ensuring all IWOs are directed to the SDU and issued on the OMB-approved form. The attached document lists each of the two categories [new vs. existing IWOs] along with the proposed approach for addressing the two most common issues [not directed to SDU and not on OMB-approved form].

We are interested in obtaining your feedback on the proposed approach for improving this process. Please submit your comments to Linda Keely at linda.keely@acf.hhs.gov. Consideration will be given to comments and suggestions submitted by September 30, 2010.


Vicki Turetsky
Office of Child Support Enforcement