This Guide is intended for use by States, Tribes, and Territories as a tool to foster discussions of policies and practices, along with implementation criteria, that may be employed to increase the collection of current support and prevent and reduce arrears. The questions under each topic are intended to assist readers in looking for methods to optimize their processes.
Topics 1-4 were disseminated under Dear Colleague Letter 07-34. Future topics will be distributed as separate documents and numbered accordingly.
The Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) hopes you will find this material useful in thinking about new approaches you might take in your jurisdiction to improve your program results.. If you would like more information about PAID, please contact your Regional Program Specialist or email PAID@acf.hhs.govto join the PAID Workplace to learn more and share your ideas.
PAID In Full is a compilation of early intervention, order establishment, locate, enforcement, and arrears management practices that support PAID along with implementation criteria that facilitate successful outcomes. The questions under each practice are intended to assist States in looking for methods to optimize their processes.
Between1993-2000, Maine has sent out 23,500 notice of intent to revoke licenses. Over $116 million has been collected from once non-compliant obligors. this procedure has contributed to Maine’s overall child support performance including a doubling of collection sine 1993 and a payment rate on current support for intrastate cases of 60%. Of the 1,070 individuals whose driver’s or professional licenses were suspended more than 600 subsequently came into compliance.
Texas – between August 24, 1995 when the first warning letters went out and October 13, $2.4 million was collected from more than 9,000 NCP’s who received the warning letters. In the week before the law went into effect, more than $97,000 was collected.
Illinois – Child Support matched records of delinquent parents with 2006 applicants for hunting and fishing licenses and found nearly 6,000 matches with outstanding arrears of more than $60 million.
For a more detailed automation discussion guide, please see Automated Systems for Child Support Enforcement: A Guide for Automating Case Closure. Additional resources include an OIG report and PowerPoint presentation at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cse/stsys/dsts_auto_closure.html (not available online).
PAID In Full is a compilation of early intervention, order establishment, locate, enforcement, and arrears management practices, along with implementation criteria, that facilitate successful outcomes. The questions under each practice are intended to assist readers in looking for methods to optimize their processes. The questions are organized into two categories for consideration: Process and Automation.
In 2002, the external locate process with the Social Security Administration (SSA) was enhanced to begin allowing States to request data from SSA’s State Verification and Exchange System (SVES). The data available from SVES includes the following:
Use of SVES data may expedite the State’s ability to identify obligors who are receiving SSA benefits, which should in turn increase collections, order establishments, paternity establishments and locates. SVES data also identifies the child’s benefit amount which may be used in the guideline computation.
When your State learns that the NCP is entitled to SSA Title II benefits, does your State refer the CP to SSA to apply for children’s benefits? This will help ensure that the children are receiving regular benefits available to them.
Does your State submit an Income Withholding Order (IWO) to a local SSA office even after receiving notice that a claim has been denied? SSA reports that nearly 60% of people who apply for SSA benefits are denied, but more than half of those are eventually awarded benefits.
Does your State system begin the review and adjustment process when notified that a case participant is receiving Title II or Title XVI benefits, or is in prison?
Does your State use the prisoner data to pursue possible garnishment of wages earned in prison?
Does your State take Title XVI income into consideration when setting or modifying child support orders? Although Title XVI income is not garnishable, Title XVI data provides unearned income amounts and indicators for earned income that reduced SSI benefits.
Has your State submitted a Data Election Form to receive SVES data (Title II, Title XVI and Prisoner) proactively upon submitting an Add or Change transaction to the FCR? When States notify OCSE that they want to receive proactive SVES matches, they will receive SVES data whenever a person is added or changed on the FCR. This includes NCPs, CPs and children. This data will assist with the establishment of appropriate orders.
Does your system allow for caseworkers to submit an on-demand external locate request to SVES?
Does your State system have the capability to submit a Title II SVES request on the child (ren) when you find out that the NCP or CP is receiving Title II benefits? Some States reported that if they find a child is receiving SSA benefits on behalf of the NCP or CP, they will consider that benefit when calculating child support orders.
Does your State system automatically send an IWO to SSA, without worker intervention, when you receive information that the NCP is receiving Title II benefits?
Once benefit or address verifications are completed, do you store SVES information in the case record on your State system so that the information may be used for future case actions (e.g. future enforcement or establishment actions)?
Are caseworkers notified of the address received from SVES data? Does your State system take the following actions?
States have reported that the address information provided for SSA beneficiaries by the SVES locate response is generally current information.
When prisoner data is received in the SVES response file, is your State system programmed to automatically generate an inquiry to a prison, without worker intervention, to verify the inmate’s expected date of release, work status and/or parole information? If not automatically, does it generate a caseworker alert?
When verified date of death information is received from SSA thru SVES:
Arizona wanted to take full advantage of the SVES Title II data. Since SSA does not have a centralized office in Arizona to receive the IWO notices, the State Systems and Automation Administration decided to associate each county’s child support office(s) to the county’s SSA district office. Arizona automated the issuance of the IWO to each district office on January 17, 2007. In the initial interface, Arizona successfully matched the Title II data to 2,837 cases across all functions. Of the matches, 85 percent were in the enforcement function. Even though the NCP was not receiving current benefits in all cases, there was still value in securing locate information for those individuals. Between January and June 2007, 1,337 IWOs sent to SSA intercepted Title II benefits, resulting in 2,113 payments totaling $553,745.
Colorado uses the SVES prisoner information to increase monthly child support collections. Colorado child support entered into an agreement with the Colorado Department of Corrections to accept an administrative lien against an inmate’s account for any funds the inmate earns or receives while incarcerated. The Colorado child support agency has matched over 5,000 inmates and is successfully collecting over $25,000 a month from inmate accounts. For 2006, Colorado child support collected nearly $306,000 from garnishment of prisoner accounts. The State staff has also begun working with other States and has been successful in sending administrative liens to prisons in Utah and Florida. Colorado child support case workers say the county jails that report to SVES are a great location source for inmates, even though the prisoner may already have been released. Knowing the State where a person was incarcerated often leads the caseworker to that person’s location.
Iowa worked with SSA to create a single SSA field office in Iowa that will accept all income withholding notices for payers whose Title II benefits are processed by an Iowa SSA office. SVES data is considered verified and is used for calculating child support obligations and modifying orders. SVES data has also been helpful for identifying disabled payers who may qualify for a reduced amount for arrears through income withholding, referred to as “hardship.” This process is specific to Iowa. Payers who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) may request that their arrears be collected at a reduced amount.
Massachusetts used SVES data for a special arrears management project to identify the “collectible” arrears from the statewide system and the SVES, the State was able to identify cases accruing arrears correctly. Massachusetts staff also used SVES to identify incarcerated and deceased NCPs, and persons receiving SSI or SSDI. They first identified all 147,000 of their arrears cases and then requested a SVES locate for the NCPs. Once the SVES information was returned, it was bundled and sent to their regional offices so the cases could be worked. One region alone was able to remove $3.5 million of arrears on cases identified with deceased NCPs. Not only was the State able to reduce arrears, it was able to close a number of cases.
Minnesota automates income withholding orders to SSA for Title II. All SSA office locations are loaded on an employer table that stores addresses and other information about each employer. Once the SSA (employer) is chosen, the income withholding notice process becomes automated. Receipt of Title XVI information is used as an indicator to consider the case for modification, ensuring that the support order is appropriate and any arrears are correctly calculated.
Child Support Report, September 2007
SVES Conference Call Notes, April 10 and April 12, 2007
FCR Technical Assistance Guide