What Employers Should Know When Working with Tribes

Publication Date: November 1, 2020

There are more than 573 federally recognized American Indian/Alaska Native tribes in the United States, and 60 tribes operate tribal child support programs. In 2018, the tribes collected over $55 million in child support payments. View a list of tribal child support agencies and their contact information. 

Download the fact sheet or view the common questions and answer below:

Do tribes have their own child support programs?

Many tribes operate federally funded child support programs, and more are developing programs. Tribal child support agencies are sometimes called “IV‑D”
agencies. “IV‑D” refers to the section of the Social Security Act that authorizes federal funding for the child support program. You’ll find tribal agency contacts and
addresses on the OCSE website.

Do tribes have their own laws?

Yes. Tribes are sovereign nations and have their own governments with the authority to make and enforce laws, adjudicate civil and criminal disputes, and tax and license. A tribal child support agency has similar enforcement authority as a state child support agency and should be responded to accordingly.

Do tribal child support agencies use the OMB-approved Income Withholding for Support (IWO) form?

Yes. Tribal child support agencies are required to use the Income Withholding for Support form (often called an Income Withholding Order or IWO).

Must I honor an IWO from a tribe if I am not a tribal employer or located on tribal land?

Yes. You are required to honor an IWO from a tribal child support agency just as you would honor one from a state child support agency.

Where should I send payments for an IWO that comes from a tribe?

Send payments to the address indicated on the IWO. This may be the tribe’s accounting office, court, or child support agency.

Must I honor a request for verification of employment (VOE) from a tribe if I am not a tribal employer or located on tribal land?

Yes. Please complete all VOEs sent by a state or tribal child support agency.

If a noncustodial parent/employee leaves my employment, where should I send the notification of termination?

Send the notice of termination to the address on the IWO.

Should I expect to receive a National Medical Support Notice (NMSN) from a tribe?

Probably not. Although a tribe can use the NMSN to seek health coverage for a child, tribes are not required to seek health insurance for tribal children.