COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions for Child Support Programs

OCSE is providing FAQs about the operational, administrative, programmatic, and other challenges facing child support programs affected by the public health emergency due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. OCSE recognizes that many of the operational impacts and costs are unknowable at this point, as they will depend on the spread of the coronavirus and response dictated by public health needs. Its top priority is the public health and safety of everyone.

OCSE has sorted questions by topic and will continue adding new FAQs as necessary. Note the review date at the bottom for updates.

In addition to the program-specific FAQs below, ACF issued guidance, IM-ACF-OA-2020-01, providing flexibility for certain grant administration requirements of 45 CFR Part 75 during the pandemic. These flexibilities are time-limited and applicable to ACF applicants and grantees/recipients where the entity is conducting human service activities related to or affected by COVID-19.

 

FAQs

  • Drawing Down Funds

    1. Question: Can additional people be trained and approved to draw down federal funds?

      Answer: Yes, the state or tribe is responsible for determining which members of their staff require access. You can request access for the Payment Management System (PMS) on the PMS access request form. For more information, see the PMS user guide.

    2. Question: Do you anticipate any delay in payments being issued to states and tribes?

      Answer: No. The Program Support Center (PSC) has a robust continuity of operations plan. See updated information on the PSC homepage.

    3. Question: Is there a contact person that states can reach for any draw-down issues?

      Answer: Yes. Contact the Program Support Center’s help desk by phone, email or the self-help portal.

    4. Question: May a tribal child support program draw down funds monthly or quarterly?

      Answer: The drawdown of Title IV-D funds is allowed on a monthly frequency under a reimbursement methodology. For drawdowns in advance of actual disbursements, tribes are expected to follow the fiscal guidance in 45 CFR Part 75.305 and ensure that drawdowns are limited to actual cash requirements needed for carrying out the purposes of the grant. The timing and amount of drawdowns must be as close as is administratively feasible to actual disbursements.

  • Enforcement Remedies

    1. Question: What enforcement actions can programs suspend during the pandemic?

      Answer: Under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act (the Act), certain enforcement remedies are mandatory in every child support case and cannot be suspended, absent a change in federal law. These are immediate withholding under section 466(a)(8)(B) of the Act, unless there is a good cause not to require immediate withholding or the parties have reached a written agreement for an alternative arrangement for payment of support; and income withholding against unemployment compensation, unless the state reaches an agreement with the obligor to have specified amounts withheld from compensation otherwise payable to the obligor. For cases with arrears meeting the eligibility criteria, Federal Tax Refund Offset under section 464 of the Act is also a required enforcement measure.

      The Act also requires states to have in effect laws requiring the use of the other enforcement procedures in section 466, such as driver’s license suspension, credit monitoring, and state tax refund offset, but provides that certain of these enforcement actions “need not be used or applied in cases where the State determines (using guidelines which are generally available within the State and which take into account the payment record of the noncustodial parent, the availability of other remedies, and other relevant considerations) that such use or application would not carry out the purposes of [title IV-D of the Act] or would be otherwise inappropriate in the circumstances.” States may review their guidelines for use of procedures under paragraphs (3), (4), (6), (7), (15), (16), (17) and (18) of section 466(a) of the Act to determine whether such enforcement action is appropriate during the current public health crisis. State law governs the process for implementing suspension of these enforcement actions during the pandemic.

      States have discretion in using other federal enforcement remedies such as federal administrative offset, U.S. passport denial, Multistate Financial Institution Data Match (MSFIDM), and federal insurance match.

    2. Question: Is the federal government considering a temporary suspension of the Federal Tax Refund Offset program given the current environment with COVID-19?

      Answer: OCSE does not have the authority to suspend the Federal Tax Refund Offset Program, absent change in federal law.

    3. Question: During a public health emergency, can a state choose to suppress or suspend all enforcement actions on cases where only state funds are owed?

      Answer: Under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act, requirements for enforcement remedies do not distinguish between enforcement against arrears that are due a custodial parent and arrears that are assigned to the state. For orders with only state-assigned arrears, states may explore flexibilities under their state arrears management programs.

    4. Question: When collecting arrears that are due to the state, can the state “suppress,” that is suspend, initiating a wage withholding for unemployment benefits when the noncustodial parent is receiving that income because of a public health crisis?

      Answer: OCSE does not have authority to grant a waiver for the statutory requirement to withhold child support from unemployment compensation. Note, however, that section 454(19) of the Act allows the state to reach an agreement with the obligor to have specified amounts withheld from the unemployment compensation otherwise payable to such individual and to submit a copy of the agreement to the state agency administering the unemployment compensation law. It is only in the absence of an agreement that the law requires the initiation of legal process to withhold support from the unemployment compensation. See answer to 1 above under the Enforcement Remedies section.

    5. Question: If a tribe has an agreement with a state to perform federal tax refund offset, will the tribe be required to send custodial parents the intercepted economic impact payments of noncustodial parents who owe past-due child support?

      Answer: Yes. As indicated in DCL-20-02, the economic impact payments made to eligible noncustodial parents who owe past-due child support and who are subject to intercept under the Federal Income Tax Refund Offset Program will be offset by the amount of past-due child support. Because these economic impact payments are treated as a tax refund offset, a tribe must distribute these payments in accordance with 45 CFR 309.115(e).

    6. Question: How should states determine a child’s emancipation date given schools are closed and graduation dates are unknown?

      Answer: State law governs when the child support obligation terminates. Most states terminate child support obligations when a child reaches the age of majority, as determined under state law, or graduates from high school. OCSE recognizes that many states have closed school for the remainder of the school year. While physical buildings may be closed, many are delivering education through virtual or online platforms. Graduation requirements are established by states. State and local law and policy determines when a child has met the graduation requirements, including for children who expect to graduate high school during the current school year.

    7. Question: May states waive the fee for withholding from unemployment compensation?

      Answer: 45 CFR 302.65 requires states to enter into an agreement with the State Workforce Agency (SWA). This agreement must be cost effective and reimburse the SWA for actual, incremental costs of providing services to the IV-D agency in accordance with 45 CFR part 75. There are no federally imposed fees for withholding from unemployment compensation. Any fees for this withholding are likely a result of the agreement between the SWA and the state IV-D agency. State law and policy govern whether any such fee may be waived.

    8. Question: Can states suspend current child support and child support arrears for veterans during this crisis?

      Answer: Federal law does not authorize suspension of child support obligations during a public health emergency. Only a state or tribal tribunal with proper jurisdiction can modify a child support order. In the absence of a modification, child support arrears will continue to accrue pursuant to section 466(a)(9) of the Social Security Act (the Act), known as the Bradley Amendment. Section 466(a)(9) of the Act establishes that any unpaid child support, on and after the date it is due, becomes “a judgment by operation of law, with the full force, effect, and attributes of a judgment of the State, including the ability to be enforced.” The judgment is entitled to full faith and credit in the state and any other state and is not subject to retroactive modification. This federal law applies to child support arrears owed by veterans or any other individuals.

      States may explore flexibilities for debt management for veterans under their state arrears management programs. With the exception of required enforcement remedies such as immediate income withholding and federal income tax refund offset, states also have flexibility regarding specific child support enforcement actions. (See FAQ 1, under Enforcement Remedies.) For information about non-child support debt relief for veterans, see resources on the Veterans Affairs blog.

  • Federal Medical Assistance Percentage Rate

    1. Question: Does the temporary increase of the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) rate contained in section 6008 of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act [42 USCA § 1396d NOTE] apply to retained child support collections?

      Answer: Yes. The 6.2% FMAP increase applies to retained IV-A and IV-E child support collections by the child support program in states, District of Columbia and the territories.* (See sections 457(c)(3)(B), 457(e)(1), 474(a)(1) and 1905(b) of the Social Security Act.)

      *The 6.2% FMAP increase does not apply to IV-E collections retained by the District of Columbia, see the Children’s Bureau guidance at ACYF-CB-IM-20-05. The 6.2% FMAP increase also does not apply to IV-A child support collections retained by Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam as the FMAP rate for those programs is set by section 457(c)(3)(A) at 75%.

  • IRS

    1. Question: How often does OCSE submit certified debts to the IRS?

      Answer: The certification process is continual. Cases remain active at Treasury’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service until the state deletes them or the balance is reduced to zero.

  • Operations

    1. Question: What core operating functions must continue during the pandemic if our office must close or enact maximum telework, for example?

      Answer: If your government closes offices, your government’s emergency preparedness plan or continuity of operations plan should designate the receipt and disbursement of child support payments as an essential function. Payment processing should continue. Please follow the latest CDC and state-specific recommendations regarding staffing and direct contact with the public.

    2. Question: Will there be any flexibility in terms of timeframes and requirements for disbursement of payments?

      Answer: OCSE is aware that programs affected by the pandemic may have operational difficulty complying with the disbursement timeframe for child support payments. Title IV-D of the Social Security Act (the Act) and regulations do not provide authority for waiver of timeframes for disbursement. OCSE is reviewing emergency authority under the Stafford Act and other federal government-wide emergency waiver provisions that may allow temporary flexibility to modify disbursement timeframes during the pandemic.

    3. Question: May states delay initiating outgoing intergovernmental referrals if reduced workforce, teleworking, or absences compromise the responding jurisdiction’s operating status?

      Answer: OCSE recognizes that states affected by the pandemic may experience diminished operational capacity and may need to make management decisions that impact case processing, including intergovernmental referrals. Federal regulations direct states to make the appropriate case management decision for each case. States should consider using one-state remedies whenever possible [45 CFR 303.7(c)(3)].

    4. Question: Can OCSE keep a list of each program’s operation status for reference.

      Answer: OCSE is posting a spreadsheet in the Child Support Portal updated every Tuesday with the operating status for states and tribes. OCSE is also providing the spreadsheet to NATCSD for posting on their internal website for tribal directors. States and tribes may send operating status updates to OCSEDRO@acf.hhs.gov for publication to the spreadsheet.

    5. Question: As events and travel are canceled, jurisdictions may only receive a partial credit for the expenses. Can states and tribes be reimbursed for these costs?

      Answer: In accordance with IM-ACF-OA-2020-01, (providing grant flexibilities in conducting human services activities related to or affected by COVID-19), OCSE is allowing state and tribal programs that incur costs related to canceled events or travel due to the public health emergency to charge these costs to their award. We remind state and tribal programs to maintain appropriate records and cost documentation as required by 45 CFR 75.302 (Financial Management and Standards for Financial Management Systems) and 45 CFR 75.361 (Retention Requirements for Records), to substantiate charging any cancellation or other fees related to interruption of operations or services.

    6. Question: Can programs use IV-D funds for payment of administrative leave if offices must close or implement reduced staffing, or use IV-D funds to pay salaries if staff are redirected to emergency response services?

      Answer: If the payment of administrative leave is an approved benefit under your jurisdiction’s current policy and procedures, then payment of administrative leave is an allowable IV-D expense. State and tribes may only use Title IV-D funds on activities described in 45 CFR Parts 301 through 310.

    7. Question: We understand documents in the Electronic Document Exchange application (EDE) disappear after 60 days. Can that be extended?

      Answer: Currently, EDE has two batch jobs that delete documents after 60 days (unsolicited documents) and 30 days (requested documents). In light of case processing complexities related to COVID-19, OCSE is extending those timeframes so that the unsolicited documents will remain on the system for 90 days and solicited documents will remain for 60 days. OCSE estimates this temporary change to take effect on April 17, and will reevaluate circumstances in June.

    8. Question: May States elect not to submit an offset file for Federal Tax Refund Offset to OCSE or elect the exclusion indicator on the offset record specifications to prevent offset of the CARES Act economic stimulus payment for overdue child support debt?

      Answer: No. Under Title IV-D of the Act, certain enforcement remedies are mandatory in every child support case and cannot be suspended, absent a change in federal law. These are immediate withholding and income withholding against unemployment compensation. For cases with arrears meeting the eligibility criteria, this includes Federal Tax Refund Offset under section 464 of the Act. Title IV-D requires states to have procedures to collect past due support from tax refunds as set forth in section 454(18) of the Act and to “take all steps necessary to implement and utilize such procedures.” Corresponding regulations at 45 CFR 303.72(b) “[a] State IV-D agency shall submit a notification (or notifications) of liability for past-due support to the Office according to the timeframes and in the manner specified by the Office in instructions.” Thus, Title IV-D and regulations do not provide states the option to suspend Federal Tax Refund Offset in cases meeting the eligibility criteria under section 464 of the Act and 45 CFR 303.72. In addition, Congress has made clear that the economic stimulus payment is intended to be offset for overdue child support debt.

    9. Question: Is there any guidance about IRS requirements for working from home?

      Answer: Yes. The IRS allows teleworking for individuals who have access to Federal Tax Information (FTI). According to IRS Publication 1075, section 4.7:

      If the confidentiality of FTI can be adequately protected, telework sites, such as employees’ homes or other non-traditional work sites can be used. FTI remains subject to the same safeguard requirements and the highest level of attainable security. All of the requirements of Section 4.5, Physical Security of Computers, Electronic, and Removable Media (of IRS Publication 1075) apply to telework locations.

      The agency must conduct periodic inspections of alternative work sites during the year to ensure that safeguards are adequate. The results of each inspection shall be fully documented. The IRS reserves the right to visit alternative work sites while conducting safeguard reviews. Changes in safeguard procedures must be described in detail by the agency in its Safeguard Security Report.

      Please remember that staff must also use government-furnished equipment. Also, see IRS Security and Privacy Alert (March 19, 2020) - Technical Assistance with FTI and Updates to Safeguards Multifactor Authentication (MFA) Requirements.

    10. Question: What effect does the current reduced operating capacity of the courts have on prohibited retroactive reduction of child support obligations (Bradley Amendment)?

      Answer: The Bradley Amendment codified in Section 466(a)(9) of the Act establishes the earliest date of retroactivity for modification of an existing support order. Section 466(a)(9) of the Act permits modification of orders retroactive to “any period during which there is pending a petition for modification, but only from the date that notice of such petition has been given, either directly or through the appropriate agent, to the obligee or (where the obligee is the petitioner) to the obligor.” Section 466(c)(2)(A)(ii) further provides that “in any subsequent child support enforcement action between the parties, upon sufficient showing that diligent effort has been made to ascertain the location of such a party, the court or administrative agency of competent jurisdiction shall deem State due process requirements for notice and service of process to be met with respect to the party, upon delivery of written notice to the most recent residential or employer address filed with the State case registry pursuant to clause (i).” Clause (i) of Section 466(c)(2)(A) of the Act requires parties to the child support case to provide and update their residential and mailing addresses, and employer name and address. These provisions create a presumption of notice to the non-moving party upon delivery of written notice to the party’s home or employer address listed in the state’s case registry.

      At this time, many state courts are open with limited services. IV-D agencies that require court involvement to modify an order meeting the state’s criteria for modification established pursuant to 45 CFR 303.8(c) may be able to file modification petitions and effectuate service to establish the date of retroactivity, even if the date of the hearing on the petition is delayed because of reduced court operations due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

      In addition, states may review their notification processes to determine if delivery of notice and service requirements may be met through alternative means, consistent with state law and Constitutional principles of procedural due process. For example, courts may be able to accept filings by electronic means or facsimile. In addition, courts may decide to authorize service of process through electronic service or institute alternative methods to effectuate notice and service of process during the COVID-19 public health emergency, if normal service of process procedures are unavailable. Parties may also agree to accept notice and waive service of process. OCSE recognizes the challenges posed by the COVID-19 public health emergency, and encourages states to continue to work with their courts to develop processes that allow child support agencies to maintain program operations at the highest possible level during this challenging time, including modification of support orders where appropriate.

    11. Question: Can states allow staff to access state systems and FPLS information via personal computers?

      Answer: OCSE understands that states may be instituting telework policies and operations for the first time and may require state staff to work from home using personal equipment due to state-owned resource limitations. OCSE advises states to ensure appropriate security controls are in place to control secure access to FPLS information while using personal devices. Please refer to the security agreement between OCSE and State Child Support Agency, should you have questions about the security controls required to allow secure access to FPLS information. Also, please refer to FAQ 9 in this section regarding IRS requirements in section 4.7 of IRS Publication 1075 for safeguarding of federal tax information applicable to IV-D staff working remotely.

    12. Question: Do states need federal approval to change procedures to allow for electronic signatures on IV-D applications?

      Answer: As indicated in OCSE PIQ-09-02, there is no federal prohibition on using electronic signatures on IV-D applications. Please consult the aforementioned PIQ for existing guidance on electronic signatures on IV-D applications for services. The exact procedure for using an electronic signature, including the wording on the application, should be determined by the appropriate agencies in the state.

    13. Question: Is a verbal "signature" allowed for IV-D applications for individuals who do not have access to technology to apply?

      Answer: Under 45 CFR 303.2, an application is described as “a record that is provided or used by the State which indicates that the individual is applying for child support enforcement services under the State’s title IV-D program and is signed, electronically or otherwise, by the individual applying for IV-D services.” The definition of “record” in 45 CFR 303.1 does not include verbal information. However, during the pandemic, when child support offices may be closed, for those applicants who do not have access to technology, a state may temporarily determine that such an applicant may provide approval for a caseworker verbally (over the phone, for example) to sign the application and document the agreement on the application and case file. The state must then follow up to get the applicant’s signature by mail or electronically as soon as possible.

  • Reinvesting Incentive Payments

    1. Question: If a state has an approved exemption to reinvest incentive payments in an activity that is scheduled for this summer, can the state change the date for the activity or use the approved funds on a different activity?

      Answer: If the state would like to perform the same activity at a later date, the state can submit a request that the date of the activity be changed. OCSE will review the request and update the approval letter with the new date. If the circumstances have changed and the state would like to reinvest the incentive payments in an activity other than the activity that was approved, the state must notify OCSE of the change in circumstances and submit a request to reinvest incentive payments in the new activity in accordance with OCSE-AT-20-01. The approval for the previous request will be rescinded.

  • Reports

    1. Question: Will OCSE provide states with an extension to submit the OCSE-34 and OCSE-396 forms due on May 15 for the second quarter of fiscal year 2020?

      Answer: Yes. In accordance with IM-ACF-OA-2020-01, OCSE will provide a state or territory an extension for submission of the OCSE-34 and OCSE-396 reporting forms for the quarter ending March 31, 2020.

      The extended due date for the OCSE-34 and OCSE-396 quarter ending March 31, 2020 reports is August 15, 2020. Please note that the estimates submitted on the OCSE-396 form document the drawdown of advance payments of federal funding for Title IV-D operations. We encourage submittal of reports for the quarter ending March 31, 2020 as soon as possible, however states will be allowed to draw down funding pending submission of the reports. For expenditures that may require more time for claiming, you may employ the option of prior quarter claiming on a subsequent quarter’s report, subject to the 2 year limit for claims of prior expenditures as provided in 45 CFR Part 95.7.

      Please ensure that reports for the quarter ending March 31, 2020, are entered into the Online Data Collection system (OLDC) prior to subsequent quarterly reports to ensure continuity of data. This is important for reporting OCSE IV-A and IV-E collections on the OCSE-34 report as well. The reporting of the federal share of these collections to their respective OCSE-396 and Children’s Bureau CB 496 Expenditure reports should occur within the same quarterly reporting timeframe.

      At this time, the due date of OCSE-34 and OCSE-396 reports for the quarter ending June 30, 2020 has not been extended and remain due on or before August 15, 2020.

    2. Question: Will OCSE provide tribes with an extension to submit the SF-425 and OCSE-34 for the second quarter of fiscal year 2020?

      Answer: Yes. In accordance with IM-ACF-OA-2020-01, OCSE will provide tribes with an extension on the SF-425 and OCSE-34 reporting for the fiscal quarter ending March 31, 2020, for up to 90 days, as follows:

      • SF-425 due no later than August 1, 2020
      • OCSE-34 due no later than August 15, 2020

      At this time, OCSE has not extended the due date for the fiscal quarter ending June 30, 2020. The SF-425 and OCSE-34 reports due for the quarter ending June 30, 2020, are still due on August 1, 2020, and August 15, 2020, respectively. Please ensure that reports for the fiscal quarter ending March 31, 2020, are entered into their respective reporting systems (Payment Management System & Online Data Collection system) prior to subsequent quarterly reports to ensure continuity of data.

    3. Question: Will OCSE provide an extension to reports that are not due within the next 90 days?

      Answer: No. IM-ACF-OA-2020-01 only authorizes extension of reports due within 90 days from the March 19, 2020, date of the Office of Management and Budget M-20-17 memo. At this time, the following reports are due at their regular times:

      • OCSE-75 due by December 29, 2020
      • OCSE-157 initial reports due by October 30, 2020, and revised reports due no later than December 31, 2020
      • SF-424M due by October 31, 2020, for fiscal year 2021
      • Quarterly reports (OCSE-34, OCSE-396, and SF-425) for the 3rd and 4th quarter of fiscal year 2020 follow their regularly scheduled submission deadlines
    4. Question: Will there be an extension to the October 1, 2020 implementation date for the revised OCSE-157 Child Support Enforcement Annual Data Report form? (See AT-19-03.)

      Answer: Yes. The date for implementing the revised OCSE-157 form is delayed one year until Oct. 1, 2021.

  • Safeguarding

    1. Question: Do states have authority to share information between Child Support and the state’s public health agency during this COVID-19 crisis?

      Answer: While OCSE recognizes that this information sharing would be useful to respond to the public health emergency, it does not have the authority beyond 45 CFR 303.21 to permit disclosure of child support program confidential information with state public health agencies. Under 45 CFR 303.21(a)(1), confidential information is defined as any information relating to a specified individual or an individual who can be identified by reference to one or more factors specific to him or her, including but not limited to the individual's Social Security number, residential and mailing addresses, employment information, and financial information. The safeguarding and disclosure regulation is specific regarding the authorized person/program, purpose, and information that can be shared. Along with a few other purposes (e.g. reporting suspected child abuse and neglect, enforcing custody/visitation and parental kidnapping), the regulation limits information sharing to IV-A, IV-B, IV-E, Titles XIX and XXI, SNAP, and other state programs under a plan approved under Title I, X, XIV, and XVI. OCSE is reviewing authority under federal government-wide public health emergency laws that may authorize expanded information sharing with public health agencies to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

  • Small Business Administration

    1. Question: The Small Business Administration (SBA) requires loan applicants to certify that they are not more than 60 days delinquent on their child support obligation. (See SBA disaster loan assistance information.) Does the criteria used by the SBA for this certification refer to 60 days of nonpayment of support or more than 60 days of arrears?

      Answer: The Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. § 633) requires each recipient of financial assistance under the Small Business Act, holding 50% or more ownership interest in the small business, to certify that they are not more than 60 days late in paying their child support obligation, whether the obligation is established by court or administrative child support order or by repayment agreement between the recipient and custodial parent or state child support enforcement agency. This certification does not pertain to the amount of arrears. See OCSE DCL 96-23 and DCL 94-64 and the Small Business Administration implementing regulations at 13 CFR 120.171.

  • Social Security Administration

    1. Question: Will SSA continue to honor Income Withholding Orders (IWOs), including both existing IWOs and new ones in the coming weeks and months?

      Answer: OCSE has confirmed with SSA that they will continue to honor existing IWOs and implement new ones. Child support agencies should continue to follow their existing process for sending IWOs to SSA.

  • Tribal

    1. Question: May a tribe submit a request for waiver of the non-federal share of child support program expenditures because of COVID-19?

      Answer: Yes. The COVID-19 outbreak is a unique public health emergency. Tribes may be disproportionally impacted and face difficulty responding to the outbreak and meeting part or all of the non-federal share contribution.

      In accordance with 45 CFR 309.130(e)(1)(ii), a tribe may request a waiver of the non-federal share of program expenditures for an emergency situation that occurs after the start of the fiscal year. For a COVID-19 waiver request, tribes must submit the following:

      • Amount that needs to be waived.
      • Statement of the circumstances and justification.
      • Portions of the tribal budget for the funding period sufficient to demonstrate that any funding shortfall is not limited to the tribal child support program and that any uncommitted tribal reserve funds are insufficient to meet the non-federal share contribution. Note: The tribe may redact confidential information and include a letter indicating that it has no uncommitted tribal reserve funds.
      • Attempts made to secure the necessary funds and in-kind contributions from other sources and the results. However, given the nature and scope of this emergency, OCSE understands if tribes are unable meet this criterion.

      All statements in support of a waiver request must be supported by evidence including, but not limited to, a description of how the tribe’s circumstances relate to its capacity to provide child support enforcement services. Note: OCSE will contact the tribe if it needs additional information.

      An approved waiver will expire at the end of the fiscal year. Unless the tribe receives an approval, the funding requirements stated in 45 CFR 309.130(d) apply. A tribe may not appeal a waiver decision, pursuant to 45 CFR 309.130(e)(5)(iii).

      Tribes should address their request to Scott M. Lekan, Acting Commissioner, and submit the required information to OCSE.tribal@acf.hhs.gov. Please contact your OCSE Regional Program Manager if you need technical assistance.

    2. Question: May a tribe submit a request for waiver of the non-federal share of child support program expenditures to be incurred in fiscal year 2021 before the start of that fiscal year?

      Answer: Yes. Under 45 CFR 309.130(e)(1)(i), when a tribe or tribal organization anticipates that it will be temporarily unable to contribute part or all of the required non-federal share of program funding, it must submit an anticipated temporary waiver request. The federal funding period begins on October 1. The tribe must send the request to OCSE, along with the SF 424A, no later than 60 days prior to the start of the funding period for which the waiver is being requested, which is August 1. The request for a waiver must be submitted in accordance with the procedures specified in 45 CFR 309.130(e)(2), (3) and (4). An untimely or incomplete request will not be considered. Additionally, we will not issue a letter of inquiry. Therefore, OCSE strongly encourages tribes to work with their OCSE Regional Program Specialist to develop a request that complies with the tribal regulations. Tribes should address their request to Scott M. Lekan, Acting Commissioner, and submit required information to OCSE.tribal@acf.hhs.gov.

    3. Question: The August 1 budget submission deadline may be difficult for tribes to meet. Will OCSE extend the deadline for tribal annual budget submissions beyond August 1?

      Answer: OCSE cannot provide a blanket extension to the annual budget submission due August 1 for fiscal year 2021, pursuant to 45 CFR 309.15(c) and 309.130(b)(2). However, OCSE will work with tribes to ensure that it has all of the required information to process budget submissions and to issue notice of grant awards by October 1. Please contact your OCSE Regional Program Specialist if you encounter any delays or issues in completing your budget. OCSE will address them on a case-by-case basis.

      Additionally, if you need a copy of the approved budget estimate from FY 2020, please contact your OCSE Regional Program Specialist.

      Note: Tribes must submit an anticipated waiver request under 45 CFR 309.130(e)(1)(i) for the non-federal share of child support program expenditures for FY 2021 by August 1. An untimely or incomplete request will not be considered, in accordance with 45 CFR 309.130(e)(1)(i). OCSE will not issue a letter of inquiry for incomplete waiver requests. If you have any questions about the completeness of your waiver request, please reach out to your OCSE Regional Specialist prior to official submission.

COVID-19 Guidance from OCSE

  • DCL-20-04 - Flexibilities that may be available under the Stafford Act due to COVID-19
  • DCL-20-02 - Eligibility of CARES Act economic impact payments for federal tax refund offset

Other COVID-19 Resources

  • ACF Program Flexibilities on IT and PPE - Information on ACF funding flexibilities for supporting a virtual workforce and providing emergency personal protective equipment for staff working directly with clients.
  • ACF Information Memorandum: IM-ACF-OA-2020-01: ACF grant flexibilities in conducting human service activities related to or affected by COVID-19.
  • Coronavirus.gov -  Portal for public information that is curated by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force at the White House, working in conjunction with CDC, HHS and other agency stakeholders. Coronavirus.gov will link to the appropriate Federal agency website as the authoritative source for that information as necessary.
  • CDC.gov/coronavirus - The latest public health and safety information from CDC and for the overarching medical and health provider community on COVID-19. The site contains consumer and medical information on how the virus spreads, symptoms, prevention and treatment, stigma, cases and what to do if you are sick, along with frequently asked questions.
  • USA.gov/coronavirus - Catalogs all U.S. government activities related to Coronavirus (COVID-19). USA.gov can support both English and Spanish content.
Last Reviewed: June 17, 2020

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