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Assigned Child Support Payments Received by AFDC Applicants/Recipients; Correction to AT-81-07


Published: August 5, 1981
Information About:
State/Local Child Support Agencies
Case Management, Collections/Distribution/State Disbursement Unit (SDU), Federal Reporting, State Plan
Policy, Action Transmittals (AT)

Correction/Treatment of Assigned Child Support Payments




SSA-AT-81-21 (OFA)


August 5, 1981


SUBJECT: Treatment of Assigned Child Support Payments Received Directly and Retained by AFDC Applicants or Recipients -- Correction to Action Transmittal SSA-AT-81-7 (OFA) and OCSE-AT-81-07, dated March 27, 1981.

ATTACHMENT: Corrected page 7 to Action Transmittal cited above.

BACKGROUND: SSA-AT-81-7 (OFA) and OCSE-AT-81-07 was issued on March 27, 1981. Many of the copies that were issued contained an error on page 7, under heading number (2), "Notice to the recipient." The first sentence in this paragraph should read "The recipient must be afforded prior written notice . . ." The second sentence should read "The recipient must be provided the following . . .," instead of should be provided . . ."

INSTRUCTION: Replace page 7 of SSA-AT-81-7 (OFA) and OCSE-AT-81-07 with the new page 7, a copy of which is attached hereto.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon issuance

INQUIRIES TO: SSA Assistant Regional Commissioners for Family Assistance and OCSE Regional Representative

Linda McMahon
Associate Commissioner for Family Assistance
Marshall S. Mandell
Acting Deputy Director
Office of Child Support Enforcement


The instructions of this section apply only to States in which IV-D agencies are responsible for recovery of retained direct payments from recipients. Only those direct payments which have not been treated by the IV-A agency as income are subject to IV-D recovery.

A. IV-D Agency Responsibilities in IV-D Recovery States.

(1) Discovery and documentation of facts.

When the IV-D agency contacts an absent parent for an apparent failure to pay child support, it may learn that the absent parent has been sending payments directly to the recipient. The first step for the IV-D agency is to document carefully the fact that support payments have been received and retained by the recipient. This must include a careful review of IV-D records to be certain the recipient did not submit the support payments, as well as obtaining documentation from the absent parent - preferably copies of the cancelled support payment checks themselves - to verify that the absent parent has made support payments directly to the family, and to ascertain the total amount retained by the recipient.

(2) Notice to the recipient.

The recipient must be afforded prior written notice that the IV-D agency intends to recover direct payments retained by the recipient. The recipient must be provided the following:

(a) an explanation of the recipient's responsibility to turn over direct payments as a condition of cooperation in obtaining support, as well as the procedure for determining non-cooperation and the sanction for non-cooperation;

(b) a detailed list of the direct payments which the IV-D agency believes have been retained by the recipient, including the dates and amounts of these payments as well as a description of any documentary evidence (such as photocopies of the checks) which the IV-D agency possesses;

(c) an explanation that repaying retained direct payments to the IV-D agency according to a signed repayment plan is a condition of cooperation;

(d) a proposal for a repayment plan between the recipient and the IV-D agency;

(3) IV-D interview with the recipient.

The recipient must be provided the opporttmity for an informal meeting with the IV-D agency for the following purposes:

(a) the IV-D agency can explain in detail to the recipient the exact nature and amount of the debt the recipient has incurred with the State by retaining direct payments;

(b) the recipient may review the State's documentary evidence and submit any documentation or other interpretations to challenge any portion of the State's claim against him or her; and

(c) the recipient and the IV-D agency can resolve any inconsistencies and enter into an agreement to repay the amounts retained by the recipient.

(4) The repayment agreement.

The written agreement entered into between the recipient and the IV-D agency should acknowledge the recipient's debt, establish a repayment schedule according to IV-D agency guidelines and be legally enforceable. The repayment schedule must be reasonably related to the recipient's income and resources, including the AFDC grant, and to the size of the debt. The IV-D agency repayment guidelines must be flexible enough to avoid undue hardship when a recipient has very limited income or resources with which to repay the retained child support and also to avoid unreasonably long repayment times in relation to the amount of retained support.

(5) Referral for determination regarding non-cooperation.

If the recipient fails to sign the agreement to repay, the IV-D agency must report all the facts of the case to the IV-A agency for a determination regarding noncooperation. If the recipient enters into a repayment agreement and then defaults, i.e., fails to make a payment under the terms of the agreement, the IV-D agency must report the matter to the IV-A agency for a determination regarding noncooperation. This requirement should not be read to mandate referral of the case to the IV-A agency unless the IV-D agency believes that referral is the best way to secure the recipient's compliance with the repayment agreement.

(6) IV-D actions during period when sanction for non-cooperation is in effect.

If a recipient is found by the IV-A agency to be non-cooperative, and the sanction for non-cooperation is consequently applied, the IV-D agency continues to have a responsibility to get current direct payments either formally redirected from the absent parent to the IV-D agency, or sent to the IV-D agency by the recipient.However, if the recipient receives and retains direct payments during the period in which the sanction for non-cooperation is in effect, the IV-A agency is instructed below to count these direct payments as income.