Colorado’s Financial Institution Data Match Program

The State of Colorado has successfully implemented a fully automated Financial Institution Data Match (FIDM) program. Colorado’s Automated Child Support Enforcement System (ACSES) selects obligors based on established front-end selection criteria for both the Multi-State Financial Institution Data Match (MSFIDM) and In-State Financial Institution Data Match (FIDM) programs. All obligors who meet the front-end selection criteria are matched against financial institution databases through either the MSFIDM or In-State FIDM process.

The front-end selection criteria program analyzes the obligor, the case, the order and the financial ledger. At the obligor level, for example, the obligor must have an open enforcing case with an open ledger on ACSES; must have an SSN on ACSES; and must have a combined total IV-D arrears of $5,000 across all obligations that meet the FIDM front-end selection criteria. At the case level, the case must be open and have an order; the current county’s case must not be pending good cause or good cause must not be granted. Orders must be verified and non-voluntary. There must not be an open administrative review; any administrative review must have been closedbeen closed for at least 45 days; and the FIDM indefinite suppression must not exist. Finally, at the ledger level, the ledger must be included with the order listed on the Tax Offset Notice received by the obligor within the past year and the ledger must be open. (For example, a criterion for selection at the financial ledger level is especially critical for cases with multiple obligees and therefore multiple ledgers.)

Once a "hit" is received on a financial institution account, ACSES runs the obligor’s orders through the back-end selection criteria to ensure the obligor still meets the established criteria for the FIDM remedy. Part of the back-end selection criteria is paying status, which ACSES uses to determine if a lien and levy should be issued on an obligor’s checking account. If the obligor is paying, then the checking account(s) is not attached - but all other accounts are seized. During the back-end selection process, ACSES assigns a unique action number for each financial institution account match. This action number allows ACSES to track the status of the "hit" throughout the FIDM process. In addition, if the financial institution matches only on SSN, the back-end selection criteria verifies that the name returned by the financial institution matches the name submitted by Colorado for the data match.

1 FIDM Back-End Selection Criteria are also at all four levels. At the obligor level, the SSN must match and still belong to the obligor and the first four characters of the last name on ACSES must match the name provided by the financial institution. The obligor must have an open enforcing case with an open ledger; the obligor must have an address on ACSES; and the obligor must have combined total IV-D arrears of $100 across all obligations that meet the FIDM selection criteria. At the case level, the case must be open and there must be an order and the current county's case must not be pending good cause or good cause must not be granted. Sixty-day closure must not be entered except for the following codes: B = Obligor is dead, D = Obligor is disabled, F = Obligor has not been located within three years, or U = Obligor lives in a foreign country. (ACSES will interrupt these case closure codes if there is a FIDM match.) At the order level, the ledger must be open and must be included with the order listed on the Tax Offset Notice received by the obligor within the past year; the ledger must not be manual and the ledger must have a current IV-D balance greater than zero.

Counties choose whether or not to proceed

After ASCES completes the back-end selection criteria, a message is automatically sent to the enforcing county technician advising the technician of the "hit" and whether the order was accepted or rejected for the FIDM process. The message for both rejected and accepted orders includes locate information for the enforcing county technician. This locate information includes the name and address the financial institution has provided for the obligor/account holder.

If the "hit" is accepted for FIDM, the enforcing county technician has seven calendar days to review the order and to stop, if appropriate, the automated system from generating a lien and levy to the financial institution. The enforcing county technician can either temporarily suppress or indefinitely suppress a FIDM action. A temporary suppression stops the automated system from generating a lien and levy on that specific "hit" with that specific financial institution. An indefinite suppression causes the automated system to remove the obligor from the FIDM process. A technician has the ability to lift an indefinite suppression anytime in the future if the circumstances change. Again, if suppression is lifted, ACSES automatically knows to include the order and obligor in the FIDM process.

After the seven-day pending period, ACSES automatically generates a Notice of Lien and Levy to the financial institution on all FIDM "hits" that have not been suppressed by the county technician. The FIDM liens and levies are printed at the state office and are mailed by the State Enforcement Unit. The liens and levies generated by ACSES list the obligor’s name, Social Security number (SSN) and child support order(s) for the obligor and the specific accounts the Division of Child Support Enforcement (CSE) wants frozen and seized. Included with the Notice of Lien and Levy is a Notice of Remittance to be used by the financial institution to remit payment to CSE. If payment is not forthcoming, the Notice of Remittance includes an area for the financial institution to notify the state as to the disposition of the lien and levy, i.e. account closed, no funds, etc.

Seven days after the Notice is mailed to the financial institution, ACSES generates a copy of the Notice of Lien and Levy to the obligor. The obligor’s copy is printed at the state office and mailed by the State Enforcement Unit. The mailing to the obligor also includes an explanation of the state’s Exception/Exemption Policy. If an exception or exemption is granted, ACSES will not select that SSN for that financial institution again.

A Release of Lien and Levy can be automatically issued by ACSES if the enforcing county technician or the state deems it necessary to release the freeze and seize action placed on the financial account. The unique FIDM action number assigned by the system allows ACSES to issue the appropriate document to the appropriate entity and update the status of the action in ACSES.

2 An exception is granted on accounts that can be levied but are not because of an extenuating circumstance. The two instances in which exception are considered are: (1) the obligor or his/her child has a terminal illness or (2) the seized account is a sole proprietorship account. An exempt account is any account prohibited from lien and levy by law such as, partnership accounts, custodial accounts, etc.

FIDM payments can be tracked

The State of Colorado has established a unique post-office box at the State Disbursement Unit for FIDM payments. Payments are tied to the specific action number assigned by ACSES for a FIDM "hit" which is printed on the Notice of Remittance and returned from the financial institution for each lien and levy issued by CSE. When FIDM payments are posted, ACSES automatically closes the appropriate FIDM action and attributes the money to either MSFIDM or In-State FIDM. If no funds are remitted, the State Enforcement Unit enters the appropriate reason code, i.e. no funds, account closed, etc., provided by the financial institution into the ACSES screens. ACSES closes the FIDM action based on these codes as well. In either case, ACSES generates an action completion message to the enforcing county technician for each order in the FIDM process. The action completion messages document the final status of all FIDM actions in ACSES. If a lien and levy does not satisfy all arrearages, the obligor might still meet the selection criteria the following quarter and again be subject to the FIDM match.

In order to track any liens and levies for which CSE has not received a Notice of Remittance, ACSES generates the Financial Institution Pending Lien and Levy Report. This monthly report lists all FIDM actions that have been open for more than 45 days without action completion. The State Enforcement Unit contacts the financial institutions listed on the report and follows-up on the pending lien and levy actions.

Results are impressive

In the fall of 2000, when the State of Colorado first started matching through the MSFIDM program, the FIDM eligibility flag was set for only 1,000 obligors to allow Colorado to test its FIDM process. The 1,000 obligors were selected based on the amount of child support arrears owed on all of their child support orders. In the spring of 2001, the state added an additional 5,000 obligors to the MSFIDM process. The following fall, an additional 39,000 obligors meeting the selection criteria were included in the MSFIDM program, for a total of 45,000 eligible obligors.

All obligors who meet the state’s FIDM selection criteria are also submitted to the in-state FIDM process. To date, Colorado has signed agreements with 62 in-state financial institutions, and has received matched data from 11 in-state financial institutions.

Colorado has only recently started to realize the benefit of having all eligible obligors selectedfor the FIDM remedy. From January 2002 through March 2002, Colorado has collected $171,191.01 from the multi-state and in-state FIDM programs. With this trend, the state looks forward to significant collections in the future. A brief statistical history is listed below:

Freeze actions taken since the beginning of the program:

MSFIDM

1372

In-state

176

Combined

1548

Seize actions taken since the beginning of the program:

MSFIDM

891

In-state

105

Combined

996

Dollars collected since the beginning of the program:

MSFIDM

$242,976

In-state

3,201

Combined

$246,177

For further information on the automated FIDM process, please contact LeAnn Anderson at (720) 947-5018 or e-mail LeAnn.Anderson@state.co.us.