Collection of Child Support Obligations Through Tax Offset, Administrative Offset, Passport Denial
ISSUED: December 2, 1999
TO: STATE AGENCIES ADMINISTERING CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT PLANS APPROVED UNDER TITLE IV-D OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT AND OTHER INTERESTED INDIVIDUALS.
SUBJECT: Collection of delinquent child support obligations by the U.S. Department of Treasury's Financial Management Service (FMS) through offsetting Federal income tax refunds and other Federal payments through administrative offset. Enforcement of delinquent child support obligations through the denial of U.S. passports by the Secretary of State.
BACKGROUND: In 1981, the Federal income tax refund offset program was enacted into law (see section 2331, P.L. 97-35). Initially, this program was restricted to public assistance cases and enforced delinquent child support obligations by intercepting part or all of the obligor's Federal income tax refund. This program was expanded in 1984 to allow for its use in nonassistance cases.
The Debt Collection Improvement Act (DCIA) of 1996, P.L. 104-134, was enacted into law on April 26, 1996. The primary purpose of the DCIA is to increase the collection of non-tax debt owed to the Federal Government. The DCIA contains important provisions for use in the collection of past-due child support obligations.
The DCIA was further strengthened by Executive Order 13019 - Supporting Families: Collecting Delinquent Child Support Obligations, dated September 26, 1998. This executive order allows the Secretary of Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, to develop and implement procedures necessary to collect child support debts by administrative offsets. These procedures appear at 31 CFR 285.1 and 285.3.
Section 370 of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996 (P.L. 104-193), amended the Social Security Act (the Act) by adding subsection 452(k). This subsection became effective October 1, 1997 and provides for the denial, revocation, and restriction of U.S. passports. However, currently the State Department is only denying passports at the time of application.
This Action Transmittal applies to those cases in which the State has an assignment of support rights under section 408(a)(3) or 471(a)(17) of the Act; is enforcing the child support obligation pursuant to section 454(6) of the Act; or has an assignment of medical support rights under section 1912(a)(1)(A) of the Act.
SUPERSEDED MATERIAL: AT 98-17, July 6, 1998.
INQUIRIES TO: OCSE Special Collections Unit, (202) 401-9389.
David Gray Ross
Office of Child Support Enforcement
Attachment B: Overview (DOC)