Revised Federal Order/Notice to Withhold Income for Child Support
DATE: July 15, 2004
TO: STATE AND TRIBAL AGENCIES ADMINISTERING CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT PLANS UNDER TITLE IV-D OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT AND OTHER INTERESTED INDIVIDUALS
SUBJECT: Revised Federal Order/Notice to Withhold Income for Child Support and Notice of an Order to Withhold Income for Child Support.
BACKGROUND: The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-193) mandated that state IV-D agencies adopt the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). It also required that states transmit orders and notices for income withholding to employers (and other debt holders) using uniform formats prescribed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services no later than October 1, 1998. The UIFSA enables states to use direct income withholding as an immediate remedy in interstate child support cases. All state IV-D agencies have adopted UIFSA. While the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) compels a state employer to honor a withholding order sent directly from another state or Indian tribe, tribes are not subject to UIFSA. However, the Full Faith and Credit for Child Support Orders Act (FFCCSOA) required tribes to enforce valid child support orders.
In March, 2002, the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) completed a review of the income withholding form and published recommendations to change the Order/Notice guidance and form. Their recommendations were: to require all parties, except state agencies, to send a copy of the income withholding order or other documents authorizing income withholding when sending a notice to employers; to allow employers to request the document(s) authorizing income withholding when Orders/Notices are not sent by state agencies; and to specify who should sign the form to clearly distinguish when the form is being sent by a state agency from when it is being sent as a notice by private firms or others.
The Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) established a task group to incorporate GAO’s recommendations and conduct meetings with stakeholders in the child support enforcement community. The task group held meetings with the National Council of Child Support Directors, all of the tribes operating IV-D programs, and the Child Support Council. The Child Support Council represents the private collection agencies. Written comments were submitted by representatives from the American Payroll Association and the Department of Defense. All of the comments were considered and a draft of the revised Order/Notice was published for comments in October, 2003 and in March, 2004.
To ensure consistency, the revised Order/Notice should be used by public and private entities immediately. With the publication of the Final Rule for Tribal Child Support Enforcement Programs on March 30, 2004 (69 FR 16638), tribes that operate IV-D programs are required to use the Federal Order/Notice. The revisions to the Order/Notice reflect the mandate for use of the form by tribes and provide instructions on processing the orders/notices and the Consumer Credit Protection Act withholding limits.
The revisions to the instructions clarify how to complete the Order/Notice and what documentation is required when submitting the Order/Notice for collection. Another significant clarification in the instructions is that non-government entities or individuals must submit a Notice to Withhold Income for Child Support and a copy of the withholding order. Throughout the Order/Notice and instructions, modifications are made to include tribal child support enforcement requirements. Please note that our tribal child support enforcement communities have income-withholding laws that may different from state laws.
ATTACHMENT: Attached is a copy of the revised Federal standardized income withholding form, as required by Section 324 of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-193). The attachment includes the standardized forms titled, “Order/Notice to Withhold Income for Child Support “ and “Notice of an Order to Withhold Income for Child Support” (Order/Notice); the instructions for completing the forms, and a sample numbered copy of the Order/Notice to use as a guide with the instructions.
STATUTORY REFERENCE: 42 U.S.C. 652(a)(11) and 42 U.S.C. 654(9)(E)
EXPLANATION OF CHANGES: State and local IV-D agencies, tribunals/courts, individuals, and private agencies are able to submit the Order/Notice to employers for wage withholding. The revised Order/Notice was reorganized to provide space for tribunal/court information (i.e., stamps) in addition to the tribunal/court case number. The Remittance Information was reworded to provide clear guidance for an employer to remit payments as prescribed in the underlying order of the tribunal/court.
The instructions for “case number” (1g, 3c, 22) state that, for IV-D cases, this must be a IV-D case number. To facilitate the tracking of information related to a case, the IV-D case number/identifier should be identical to the one submitted on the Federal Case Registry, which is a 15-character alphanumeric field, allowing all characters except asterisk and backslash, and with all characters in uppercase.
Children’s names have been moved to the back of the form near the bottom of the page, on the line entitled, “Children’s Names and Additional Information.”
Although we received comments suggesting the removal of children’s names, several users of the form rely on children’s names to ensure they have not received a duplicate order for the obligor. The instructions to complete the form provide detailed descriptions of the information needed for an employer to process the Order/Notice.
The signature lines have been revised. The individual signing the Order/Notice must indicate what type of entity (government or non-government) he or she represents. Please note that, in some instances, copies of the withholding order and state law must be provided so that the employer can process the Order/Notice.
Please complete the form carefully when processing. If you have any questions, please contact your ACF regional office.
EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately
Sherri Z. Heller, Ed. D.
Office of Child Support Enforcement