State Child Support Agencies With Debt Compromise Policies
As of September 2018, 45 states and D.C. have policies to compromise child support debt owed to the state
Note: When source is marked DHHS/IG 2007, see Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, 2007, “State Use of Debt Compromise to Reduce Child Support Arrearages.” OEI-06-06-00070
An interest rebate law allows for forgiveness of interest owed to the state and custodial parent (if the custodial parent agrees), in cases where current support is paid consistently for at least 12 months. Source: Code of Alabama §30-3-6.1.
The state offers debt forgiveness for noncustodial parents who have accrued at least $1,500 in state-owed child support arrears and meets other eligibility criteria. If the parent complies with the arrears forgiveness agreement, state-owed debt will be forgiven in stages over a 6-year period. Source: AS 25.27.020(f) and 15 AAC 125.650 to 125.695.
The DCSS Settlement Program assists noncustodial parents who may have a large arrears balance on their child support case. It provides an opportunity to pay off past-due arrears balances.
If you are limited in your ability to pay, you may offer to settle your arrears balance by paying either a lump sum or by making monthly installments that can be accepted for up to 3 months.
To participate in the program:
- Think in advance about how much you would like to offer to settle the past due amount.
- Stop by a local DCSS office or contact the DCSS Customer Service Center at 602-252-4045 or 1-800-882-4151, or email the DCSS Settlement Team at firstname.lastname@example.org to submit your settlement offer
Note: The state’s role is not to advocate the amount of the settlement, but to facilitate whatever offer is appropriate for the state and the parties involved in the case. The DCSS cannot require a custodial parent to accept a settlement offer.
The California Department of Child Support Services’ Compromise of Arrears Program (COAP) aims to increase support collected for families and the state general fund, and to reduce arrears owed to the state. COAP allows the acceptance of an offer to compromise a portion of a noncustodial parent’s permanently assigned arrears in exchange for partial payment of a delinquent child support debt.
County CSE offices have the ability to offer arrears compromise for assigned child support arrears. It is up to the counties to determine if they want to implement an arrears compromise program and, if so, what criteria they wish to use. Source: DHHS/IG 2007; Colorado Title 14 Article 14 -104 Visit disclaimer page
Connecticut has implemented two arrears programs. The first one, the Arrears Adjustment Program, is designed to reduce state-owed debt as well as encourage the positive involvement of noncustodial parents in the lives of their children and to pay current support. The second program, the Arrears Liquidation Program, is designed to liquidate state-owed arrears by allowing obligors to pay off arrears in a lump-sum payment at a discounted rate. Source: Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies §17b-179b-1 to §17b-179b-4.
Debt forgiveness is rare. Source: DHHS/IG 2007.
District of Columbia
The Fresh Start program allows for a portion of TANF arrears to be forgiven in return for successfully making consecutive timely payments on the current support obligation or making a lump sum payment towards arrears. Noncustodial parents must be invited by the Child Support Services Division to participate in the program. Qualifications are at least $1,000 owed in TANF arrears, no voluntary payment in at least 12 months, previous unsuccessful enforcement efforts, valid addresses for both parties, and failure to ay support must not be due to bad faith. Responding interstate cases are not eligible for the program.
Does not have a program.
A state statute gives the child support program the authority to waive, reduce, or negotiate the payment of state-owed arrears for administrative child support orders if it is determined that there is good cause for nonpayment or that enforcement would result in substantial and unreasonable hardship to the parent or parents responsible for the support. Courts have discretion in applying or waiving past due interest owed on arrears. Source: O.C.G.A. 19-11-5 O.C.G.A 7-4-12.1
Debt forgiveness is rare. Source: DHHS/IG 2007
Project Clean Slate provides opportunities for low-income NCPs to apply for forgiveness of assigned arrears in exchange for payment of current support. NCPs must have been demonstrably unable to pay the assigned support at the time it was due, and must meet low-income standards. Source: Illinois Public Aid Code §5/10-17.2
The IN Child Support Bureau does not have statutory authority to compromise state-owed arrears; only the Governor and the Attorney General have that authority. As part of a federal grant from OCSE to provide employment and other supportive services to ex-offenders, the Governor’s office/Attorney General agreed to compromise state-owed arrears for a limited number of ex-offenders who successfully participated in the federally funded program and met other conditions. That federal grant ended in 2010, but the program continues to serve ex-offenders. Source: State (inactive program)
The IA Child Support Recovery Unit has legal authority, as part of a pilot program, to forgive a percentage of child support debt owed to the state, provided that the noncustodial parent makes regular support payments in compliance with a court order. As of September 2011, the CSRU did not have an active pilot program in this area. Source: IAC 441-100.2 (4)
Kansas has multiple debt compromise initiatives. An NCP can receive a reduction of Kansas state-owed arrears for continuing their education, and participating in parenting, financial, and workforce programs. In addition, Kansas offers the Child Support Savings Initiative Visit disclaimer page . Noncustodial parents, if they qualify, can open a higher education 529 account for their child(ren) and have the Kansas state owed arrears reduced by $2, for every $1 they deposit into the account. For more information, please contact Kansas Child Support Services at 888-757-2445. Source: State
The goal of the Arrearage Compromise Program is to assist noncustodial parents who have large state-owed arrearages by reducing the amount owed in return for consistent payments for a specified period of time. The pilot is operating in Jefferson County. To be eligible, noncustodial parents must owe a minimum of $10,000 in arrears. Source: DHHS/IG 2007
Does not have a program.
Debt forgiveness is rare. Source: DHHS/IG 2007
Eligibility for this statewide program, the Payment Initiative Program, is limited to noncustodial parents with incomes below 225% of the federal poverty level. In authorizing participation in the program, the child support program must consider whether the noncustodial parent has the current ability to pay; if the reduction of arrearages will enhance the noncustodial parent’s economic stability; and if the agreement serves the best interests of the children. If any of these factors are met, child support must agree to reduce the arrears owed to the state by 50% after 12 months of consecutive payment of the court-ordered amount. After 24 months of regular payments, the arrearages must be reduced to zero.
Source: Annotated Code of Maryland §10-112.1
MA child support regulations allow for the settlement of interest, penalties and arrears, as well as equitable adjustments of arrears. The Child Support Commissioner may waive all or a portion of the interest and penalties owed to the Commonwealth if the Commissioner determines such waiver is in the best interest of the Commonwealth and will maximize collection of current and past-due child support. The Commissioner may also accept an offer in settlement that is less than the full amount of state-owed arrears, where there is serious doubt as to liability or collectability of such arrearages. The Commissioner may also equitably adjust the amount of child support arrearages owed to the Commonwealth when the obligor has no present or future ability to pay the full arrearages. Source: 830 CMR 199A.6.2
Several laws allow for adjustment of arrears and interest. In some cases, the Department of Human Services or its designee may use discretion to settle and compromise state-owed arrears (MCL 205.13). Other laws allow noncustodial parents who do not have the ability to pay the arrearage in full, presently or in the foreseeable future, to request a payment plan (for a minimum of 24 months). At the completion of the payment plan, the court may waive any remaining arrears owed to the state (MCL 552.605e). Additionally, noncustodial parents may request a payment plan as a means to have the surcharge (interest) waived or reduced if regular payments are made (MCL 552.603d). Source: MCL 205.13, MCL 552.605e, MCL 552.603d
A 2007 state statute gives the parties (including the public authority with assigned arrears) the authority to compromise unpaid support debts or arrearages owed by one party to another, whether or not docketed as a judgment. The statute is part of a project called “Strategies to Help Low Income Families” (SHLIF) that includes written policy identifying a set of preventative and early intervention actions when setting and modifying support orders, collecting current support and collecting arrears, including developing community partner collaborations. The policy gives counties the discretion to reduce permanently assigned public assistance arrears on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the statute and requires counties to develop their own internal guidelines for implementing SHLIP policies. Source: Minn. Stat. §518A.62
Source: DHHS/IG 2007
NE will only consider arrears-only cases where there are no dollars owed to the custodial parent and will only forgive the interest portion of the state-owed debt. The NCP must make a lump-sum payment towards the remainder. Source: DHHS/IG 2007
Source: DHHS/IG 2007
The NH Division of Child Support Services does not have a formal debt compromise policy. Child support workers do have some discretion to negotiate agreements to secure current support that may include forgiveness of assistance debt owed to the state that accrued prior to the establishment of a child support order and which was based on imputed income. Any such agreement must be approved by the child support worker’s supervisor. Source: DHHS/IG 2007
Source: DHHS/IG 2007
The goal of Fresh Start is to eliminate uncollectable state-owed debt. It is limited to arrears-only cases with a minimum of $1,000 in arrears. As of August 31, 2011, there have been 1,424 participants. Of those, 1,069 cases had all debt eliminated and cases were closed; the remainder had state-owed debt reduced. Collected $2,168,554; reduced NM arrears balances by $17,748,726. Source: State
The New York City Office of Child Support Enforcement is operating a pilot program, the Arrears Credit Program, that will reduce arrears owed to the state if a noncustodial parent is participating in an employment-oriented program, agrees to pay all of his/her active child support orders for 3 years, and meets other requirements. As of September 2011, 20 noncustodial parents had signed up for the program. Source: State
To be eligible for a state-owed debt compromise, the obligor must owe a minimum of $15,000 in state-owed arrears, agree to make 24 consecutive monthly payments for current support and an amount toward arrears, and comply with the agreement. Source: NC General Statute, Chapter 110, Section 135 (§ 110-135)
ND has 3 goals for its debt compromise program: motivate obligors to comply with long-term payment plan, eliminate uncollectible debt, and facilitate case closure where appropriate. Compromise of assigned arrears is permitted if an offer is received for at least 95% of the outstanding arrears balance (after subtracting all negotiable interest) or 90% with IV-D Director approval. Interest may be compromised when an obligor enters into a payment plan to avoid license suspension or other enforcement remedies or when an obligor has been making payments on a regular basis. In both cases, interest is not charged while regular payments are made and after one year of regular payments, any unpaid interest that had accrued before that date can be compromised. Interest can also be considered uncollectible under certain circumstances. Some situations are pre-approved, such as an obligor is receiving Supplemental Security Income. In these cases, a worker may prevent interest from accruing on the case and can request an adjustment to the payment record for any unpaid interest that has already accrued. In situations that are not pre-approved, the worker cannot suspend interest or have it waived as uncollectible without IV-D Director approval. In 2008, $1.4 million in principal and $3.9 million in interest was removed. Source: Regional profiles
Legislation was enacted in 2009 that allowed ODJFS to promulgate rules on the waiver and compromise of permanently assigned arrears. The Department developed rules that provide flexibility to local agencies in making these determinations. Source: Regional profiles
The state permits a waiver of some or all child support arrears with the approval of the court, provided the parents mutually agree (or the state agrees when the debt is owed to the state). Settlements of past support may include an agreement that the noncustodial parent make a lump-sum partial payment or a series of payments toward the total amount of past support. Settlements also may include an agreement for the noncustodial parent to pay a specified number of current child support payments or in-kind payments in the future. In addition, the state has established an amnesty program for accrued interest owed to the state. The state attorney in the local district must approve all settlements of state-owed interest. Source: 43 O.S. §112 Oklahoma Administrative Code 340:25-5-140 56 O.S. §234
Through the Satisfaction of Arrears for Less than Full Payment program, the Division of Child Support may settle state-owed arrears for less than full payment if: 1) the arrears are a substantial hardship to the paying parent; or 2) a compromise will result in greater collections on the case; or 3) the obligor enters into an agreement with DCS to enhance the obligor’s ability to pay support or enhance the obligor’s relationship with the children for whom the obligor owes arrears. Source: DHHS/IG 2007
Per PA Supreme Court Rule, any compromise of state-owed debt must be approved by the court. Source:State
RI may compromise interest on an ad hoc basis. Source: DHHS/IG 2007
Debt forgiveness is rare. Source: DHHS/IG 2007
Inactive program. Source: DHHS/IG 2007
In Tennessee, per statute, the Child Support Division is able to compromise state debt on an individual case basis. Each case must be evaluated individually and must have the approval by the Child Support Commissioner, Comptroller and Governor’s office. Source: State
In 2011, the Texas Legislature repealed section 157.262 and added section 231.124 authorizing the Title IV-D agency to establish a program, the Texas Payment Incentive Pilot Program, to promote payment of arrears assigned to the state. Under this section, obligors who voluntarily enroll in the program will receive a matching credit (in an amount determined by the agency) for every dollar they pay towards arrears during each month they are eligible to participate. These credits will be conditioned on the obligor fully and timely meeting any current support obligations. This new program will allow for obligors to see immediate matching credits on their pay records for qualifying payments made each month and does not require court involvement for obligors to participate. Source: Tex. Fam. Code Section 231.124
The Prisoner Forgiveness Program targets recently released prisoners and forgives state-owed arrears for those who are approved for the program and pay 12 consecutive months of current support plus a nominal amount toward arrears. Source: UT Admin. Code Rule R527-258
The purpose of the Project AIM (Account Intervention and Management) program is to motivate noncustodial parents to settle arrearages by offering a lump sum payment and/or to make regular payments over specified repayment periods. Less than the full amount of state-owed arrears is accepted if the noncustodial parent satisfies their repayment plan. The primary eligibility criteria is nonpayment for 12 months. Source: Vt. Stat. Ann, Title 33 §3903
The Virginia TANF Debt Compromise program allows the discharge of a portion of TANF debt owed to the Commonwealth of Virginia and is based on the noncustodial parent’s ability to pay. Once enrolled, the noncustodial parent receives reductions for making consistent payments and meeting other program specifications. Virginia requires the noncustodial parent to enroll annually
The state established an administrative dispute resolution process through its Conference Boards to hear parents’ requests to reduce the amount of arrears owed to the state and make determinations based on the individual circumstances. Source: Rev. Code of Washington 74.20A.220, Washington Admin. Code 388-14A-6400 through 388-14A-6415
This program allows forgiveness of interest for obligors who pay off all arrears owed over a certain period. This is a voluntary program and requires all parties to voluntarily agree to forgive the interest. Source: West Virginia Code §48-1-302 (c)
Local child support agencies may forgive all or part of the state-owed arrears under a variety of circumstances, including when the obligor is unable to pay the arrearage based on income, earning capacity, and assets, or the obligor has a long-term disability. Source: Child Support Bulletin # CSB 11-09
Source: DHHS/ IG 2007