Payment Procedures to Recover Delinquent Child Support from Noncustodial Parents


Publication Date: July 10, 1998

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Administration for Children & Families
Office of Child Support Enforcement

Action Transmittal OCSE-AT-98-19

DATE: July 10, 1998


SUBJECT: Revised payment procedures for use by the States to reimburse the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) for services provided to assist in the recovery of delinquent child support from noncustodial parents.

AUTHORITY: Public Law 102-394, Department of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 1993 at Section 214 specifies that, "for any program funded in this Act or subsequent Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriation Acts, the Secretary of Health and Human Services is authorized, when providing services or conducting activities for which the Secretary is entitled to reimbursement by the State, to obtain such reimbursement as an offset against Federal payments to which the State would otherwise be entitled under such program from funds appropriated for the same or any subsequent fiscal year. Such offsets shall be credited to the appropriation account which bore the expense of providing the service or conducting the activity, and shall remain available until expended."

EFFECTIVE DATE: Beginning with the report for the quarter ending September 30, 1998, to be submitted no later than October 30, 1998.

PURPOSE: This Action Transmittal informs States of the revised procedures to be followed for reimbursing the OCSE for services rendered to the State to assist them in the recovery of child support from noncustodial parents.

BACKGROUND: Currently, States have payment options for invoices issued by OCSE for the printing and processing of OCSE issued pre-offset notices for the Federal Tax Refund Offset Program (Pre-offset) and for State usage of the Child Support Enforcement Network (CSENet). These two programs allow the State an option to pay by check; report the amount invoiced on form ACF-396; or agree that negative awards be issued in the amount of the invoice.

These options have resulted in duplicate recoveries from some States and indicate the need for more uniform procedures for all reimbursable programs. The State is eligible to receive Federal funding at the regular matching rate for the amount of these services. Accordingly, the State should also be reporting these expenditures on Line 10 on form ACF-396.

NEW PROCEDURES: Commencing with the Child Support Enforcement Program report, ACF-396, for the period ending September 30, 1998, States are to record these reimbursable services on the report. Checks will no longer be accepted.

Invoices for these services, as well as charges for the use of the FPLS, will be issued to the States by the 15th day of the first month of the next quarter. For example, for the quarter ending September 30, 1998, the States will be issued an invoice by the 15th of October 1998. If States do not receive the invoice within five working days after the 15th, than the State would report N/A on the appropriate line on the ACF-396 report. By listing N/A the adjusted grant will be processed for the particular quarter. The systems will be programmed to verify that the invoices for the services are automatically cross checked to data reported by the States on form ACF-396. If the State reports a zero or reports an amount that does not agree with the amount in the system (amount invoiced), for any of the lines (lines 12 through 14), the Regional office will receive a message that an error has occurred in the system and ACF will not issue an adjusted grant award until the error is resolved.

Charges for Pre-offset, FPLS and CSENet are eligible for Federal funding at the regular FFP rate. The reporting of these reimbursements on ACF-396 has not changed. They will continue to be reported as follows:

  • Line 12. Fees for use of FPLS
  • Line 13. Fees for use of CSENet
  • Line 14. Fees for printing/processing Pre-offset notices
  • Line 15. Fees for other child support services

INQUIRIES: Inquiries should be made to the appropriate ACF Regional Administrator.


David Gray Ross
Office of Child Support Enforcement
Elizabeth M. James
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration