October 1, 1990
TO:STATE AGENCIES ADMINISTERING CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT PLANS APPROVED UNDER TITLE IV-D OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT, AND OTHER INTERESTED INDIVIDUALS
SUBJECT:Guidance on Advance Planning Document Requirements to Meet the Automated Child Support Enforcement System Provision of the Family Support Act of 1988.
BACKGROUND:The Family Support Act of 1988 (Public Law 100-485) established a new State plan provision at section 454(24) of the Social Security Act (the Act) which requires each State, by October 1, 1995, to have in effect an operational automated data processing and information retrieval system. Such a system must meet all title IV-D program requirements and must be approved by the Secretary. Under this provision, the States that did not have in effect on October 13, 1988 such a system must submit by October 1, 1991 an Advance Planning Document (APD) to implement a data processing system. Under section 452(d)(3) of the Act, States may apply for a waiver of any procedural requirement of section 452(d)(1) or any condition specified as a functional requirement under section 454(16).
PURPOSE:The purpose of this Action Transmittal (AT) is to provide interim guidance on the APD requirements for State Child Support Enforcement (IV-D) Agencies to enable them to meet the State plan requirements of section 454(24) to establish computerized support enforcement systems. The AT also addresses procedures for requesting a waiver for an alternative system. This AT will be superseded upon publication of applicable final Federal regulations.
INQUIRIES TO:OCSE Central Office
Jo Anne B. Barnhart
This AT places all States on notice of the State plan requirement to submit an APD by October 1, 1991 and to have an operational system in effect by October 1, 1995.
To improve the nationwide child support program, Congress initially provided enhanced Federal Financial Participation (FFP) for States which elected to develop and implement approved statewide, comprehensive automated data processing systems. The Family Support Act of 1988 amended section 454 of the Social Security Act to require under a new section 454(24) that States have by October 1, 1995, an operational, statewide automated data processing system meeting all of the functional requirements of section 454(16) of the Act. The plan also requires that States without such systems are to submit by October 1, 1991 an Advance Planning Document (APD) to implement the statewide comprehensive system.
As part of the Family Support Act provisions, section 452(d)(3) of the Act provides that the Secretary may waive any requirement of section 454(16) or any condition of 452(d)(1). The Act further provides that such a waiver may be granted in instances where a State demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Secretary that it has an alternative system or systems that enable the State for purposes of section 403(h), to be in substantial compliance with other requirements of title IV-D, and that either the system meets the criteria of section 1115(c) of the Act, or the State provides assurance that steps will be taken to otherwise improve the State's Child Support Enforcement Program.
II.ELIMINATION OF ENHANCED FEDERAL FUNDING
State expenditures attributable either to the planning, design, development, implementation or enhancement of a child support enforcement comprehensive automated data processing system or the associated operational hardware components that are made on or after October 1, 1995, will no longer be eligible for Federal funding at the enhanced Federal financial participation (FFP) rate.
A State may, however, file a claim under section 1132 of the Act and implementing regulations at 45 CFR Part 95, Subpart A for a period of 2 years from the end of the quarter in which expenditures were made. Therefore, expenditures made but not claimed prior to October 1, 1995, may continue to qualify for FFP at the enhanced rate after that date if claimed in accordance with section 1132 and implementing regulations.
For the purpose of determining the proper FFP rate for any expenditure, regulations at 45 CFR 304.25(a), provide that "expenditures are considered to be made on the date on which the cash disbursements occur or the date to whichallocated...."
III. APD SUBMISSION REQUIREMENT
The Family Support Act provided that any State as of October 13, 1988 that did not have in effect an automated data processing system, which meets the requirements of section 454(16), will submit an APD by October 1, 1991 for review and approval by OCSE within 9 months, and will have in effect by October 1, 1995 an operational system meeting all section 454(16) requirements and approved by the Secretary. Section 454(16) requires that the State will establish a statewide automated system designed effectively and efficiently to control, account for, and monitor all the factors in the support enforcement collection and paternity determination process including income withholding and other procedures required under section 466(a). OCSE will not approve a system as operational and meeting section 454(16) requirements unless such system includes automation of the new requirements of the Family Support Act for immediate wage withholding and review and modification of orders. Therefore, it is necessary that a State, including those that have been certified, determine that the statewide system includes the automation of all new title IV-D requirements, and, if necessary, submit a plan update for approval.
A State which fails to meet the conditions for APD approval, or does not have an approved waiver, will be subject to IV-D State plan disapproval proceedings for failure to have a plan which conforms with title IV-D of the Act. This could result in the loss of all title IV-D funding, as well as possible reductions in title IV-A funding.
IV.STATE STATUS CATEGORIES
(A)A State Without an Approved APD for a Statewide Comprehensive System
Submit an APD to install or modify an existing system which will meet the requirements of section 454(16), or submit an APD in accordance with the waiver provisions described in this AT. APDs for planning must be submitted in sufficient time to allow for the submission of an implementation APD, as defined in 45 CFR Part 95, Subpart F, by October 1, 1991. The APD must describe a system that will be completed and operational not later than October 1, 1995.
(B) A State with an Approved Planning APD
Submit an implementation APD not later than October 1, 1991. The APD must describe a system that will be completed and operational not later than October 1, 1995.
(C) A State with an Approved Implementation APD
Submit an APD update, not later than October 1, 1991, to automate the provisions of the Family Support Act of 1988 that will enable the program to meet all title IV-D requirements. The APD must include a schedule showing that the system will be completed and in operation by October 1, 1995.
(D)A State with a Certified System that does not Include the new Requirements of the Family Support Act
Submit an APD, not later than October 1, 1991, which outlines the State's plan to upgrade automated capability needed to enable the program to meet all Title IV-D requirements, including immediate wage withholding and review and modification of orders.
A State may not submit a planning APD to perform a feasibility study to determine if an alternative system meets waiver requirements. Likewise, a State may not utilize a planning APD to meet the deadline for implementation of the APD submittal provision of the Family Support Act of 1988. This must be accomplished through an APD or APD update for implementation.
In those instances where a State is requesting a waiver from any procedural requirement or from any functional requirement, the nature and circumstances of the waiver and any functions to be performed by the alternative system(s) shall be documented as outlined in this AT.
V. APD SUBMISSION PROCESS AND MATERIAL FOR SUBMISSION
A State must submit an APD, an APD Update, or APD containing a waiver request, in accordance with the procedures outlined at 45 CFR Part 95, Subpart F.
If additional materials to substantiate an APD are needed before a recommendation for approval can be made, this Office will request such material from the State in writing. The State must provide the additional material promptly to enable the review of the APD to be completed within 9 months. If the State's submission remains incomplete or insufficient to the point that review cannot proceed, this Office will recommend disapproval of the State's APD.
Material for Submission of APDs Requesting Waiver
(A) APD Cover letter
When a State's APD includes a waiver request, the cover letter to the APD must specify: (a) the procedural requirement(s) of section 452(d)(1) for which the Stateis requesting a waiver; and/or (b) the functional requirement(s) of section 454(16) from which the State is requesting a waiver.
(B) Supporting Documentation
The State's APD must document the request for waiver and define the methodology(ies) used to reach conclusions. The methodology(ies) must be conceptually sound and supported by reliable and representative data.
VI. WAIVER CATEGORIES AND REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION
The State APD must meet different criteria depending upon the type of request as described in sections A and B below.
(A) Alternative Approach to an APD Requirement
A State may request approval of an alternative approach to an APD requirement by requesting a waiver from any of the procedural requirements of the APD described at 45 CFR 307.15(b).
A State may be granted a waiver of a condition required for APD approval. For example, a State with an operational system which meets some, but not all, of title IV-D requirements may elect to enhance that system to meet requirements, and therefore would document why a detailed description containing information flow, data requirements, etc., would not be needed.
(B) Alternative System Configuration
A State may submit an APD proposing an alternative system configuration by requesting a waiver of any of the functional requirement(s) described at 45 CFR 307.10. The APD must demonstrate that the State has in place an alternative system configuration which meets all program requirements sufficient, for purposes of section 403(h), to enable the State to be in substantial compliance.
The State must submit in its APD, the following information for each functional requirement for which a waiver is being requested to enable this office to evaluate the alternative system proposal:
(1)A description of how the proposed alternative system configuration will enable the State to meet the relevant title IV-D program requirements in order to be in substantial compliance for program audit purposes.
(2)A description of the interfaces, and the manner in which the State system and the alternative system(s)will allow the State to control, account for and monitor all the factors in the support enforcement collection and paternity determination process under the State plan.
(3) The State must address either "a" or "b":
a.A description of how the waiver meets the three requirements of section 1115(c) of the Social Security Act, enumerated below:
1.must be designed to improve the financial well-being of children or otherwise improve the operation of the child support program;
2.may not permit modifications in the child support program which would have the effect of disadvantaging children in need of support; and
3.must not result in increased cost to the Federal Government under the program of Aid to Families with Dependent Children.
b.Assurances that steps will be taken to otherwise improve the State's Child Support Enforcement Program.
VII. Failure TO COMPLY WITH APPROVED WAIVER
All systems, including those operating under a waiver of any of the functional requirements of 45 CFR 307.10 are subject to review under the provisions of 45 CFR 95.621 and 45 CFR 307.25. Therefore, even though a waiver, once granted, does not have to be renewed, the State's waiver is part of an approved APD and the APD is subject to suspension as specified at 45 CFR 307.40. This would occur if a system does not perform as described in the APD. APD disapproval is not subject to administrative appeal.