Summary: H.R.1720 — 100th Congress (1987-1988)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Conference report filed in House (09/28/1988)

(Conference report filed in House, H. Rept. 100-998)

Family Support Act of 1988 - Title I: Child Support and Establishment of Paternity - Subtitle A: Child Support - Amends part D (Child Support and Establishment of Paternity) of title IV of the Social Security Act to require the withholding of child support payments from the non-custodial parent's wages upon the issuance or modification of a child support order for families receiving part D services. Waives such withholding requirement when both parents agree to an alternative arrangement or the State finds good cause to rely on an alternative arrangement. Requires immediate wage withholding for all new child support orders issued on or after January 1, 1994. Requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to study the feasibility of requiring immediate income withholding with respect to all child support awards.

Amends part A (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) (AFDC) of the Act to exclude the first $50 of child support payments which were due for a prior month from the determination of a family's need for AFDC payments in the month during which such payments were received.

Makes child support award guidelines binding. Creates a rebuttable presumption in any judicial or administrative proceeding that the child support award which results from the application of such guidelines is correct. Directs States to review the appropriateness of guidelines for child support award amounts at least once every four years. Requires that child support awards for AFDC families be reviewed and adjusted in accordance with such guidelines at least once every three years unless such review would not be in the child's best interest and neither parent requests such review. Requires such review of any other child support award being enforced under part D if either parent requests such review. Gives parents at least 30 days notice of pending review and adjustment of a child support award. Directs the Secretary to complete a study, within two years of this Act's enactment, on the impact on child support awards and the courts of requiring a State to periodically review all child support orders in effect in such State. Requires the Secretary to enter into an agreement with each of four States by April 1, 1989, to conduct a two-year demonstration project testing and evaluating model procedures for reviewing child support award amounts. Requires States to inform AFDC families on a monthly basis, rather than annually, of the amount of child support collected on their behalf.

Subtitle B: Establishment of Paternity - Establishes State performance standards for the establishment of paternity which require the State's paternity establishment percentage for a fiscal year to be: (1) at least 50 percent; (2) the State's percentage for FY 1988 increased by three percentage points for each fiscal year after FY 1989; or (3) equal to or greater than the average percentage for all States. Authorizes the Secretary to modify such requirements to take into account variables which may affect a State's ability to meet such requirements. Directs the Secretary to report annually to the Congress regarding the data upon which State paternity establishment percentages are based and the performance of States in establishing paternity.

Requires the parties in a contested paternity case to submit to genetic tests upon the request of a party in such case. Authorizes States to charge parties who are not AFDC recipients for the costs of such tests. Encourages States to establish and implement simple civil processes for voluntarily acknowledging paternity and a civil procedure for establishing paternity in contested cases. Makes the provision requiring State procedures that permit the establishment of paternity in an individual who is under age 18 applicable, as of August 16, 1984, to any child for whom paternity has not been established or a paternity action has been brought but dismissed due to a statute of limitations of less than 18 years.

Raises the Federal matching rate to 90 percent (from 68 percent in FY 1988) for laboratory costs incurred in determining paternity.

Subtitle C: Improved Procedures for Child Support Enforcement and Establishment of Paternity - Requires the Secretary to establish time limits within which a State must accept and respond to requests for assistance in establishing and enforcing child support orders and distribute amounts collected as child support. Directs the Secretary to establish an advisory committee, composed of State officials involved in the Child Support Enforcement program, with which the Secretary must consult before issuing regulations regarding time limits on accepting and responding to child support establishment and enforcement requests. Requires the issuance of final regulations by the first day of the tenth month after this Act's enactment.

Requires States which do not have an automated data processing and information retrieval system in effect to submit an automated data processing planning document to the Secretary by October 1, 1991, and have an operational system in effect by October 1, 1995. Authorizes the Secretary to waive the Act's requirements for such documents and systems if the State has an alternative system which is in substantial compliance with the Act's requirements and meets certain other child support requirements or provides assurances that steps will be taken to improve the States child support enforcement program. Repeals the 90 percent Federal matching rate for automated data systems.

Directs the Secretary of Labor to give the Secretary prompt access to wage and unemployment compensation claims information and data maintained by the Department of Labor and State employment security agencies. Amends title III (Unemployment Compensation) of the Act to require States to cooperate in making such information available.

Amends title II (Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance) of the Act to require States to collect the social security numbers of both parents when their child is born for use by State agencies administering Child Support Enforcement programs unless the State finds good cause for not requiring such numbers.

Establishes the Commission on Interstate Child Support which, during FY 1990, must hold one or more national conferences on reform of interstate child support procedures. Directs the Commission to submit a report to the Congress by May 1, 1991, containing recommendations for improving the interstate establishment and enforcement of child support and for revising the Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act. Terminates the Commission on July 1, 1991. Authorizes appropriations for such Commission.

Excludes the cost of certain interstate child support enforcement projects from the computation of the incentive payment to a State for its child support collection efforts.

Directs the Secretary to conduct a study of the pattern of expenditures on children in two-parent families, in single-parent families following divorce, and in single-parent families in which the parents were never married, giving particular attention to the relative standards-of-living in households in which both parents and all of the children do not live together. Directs the Secretary to report to the Congress on such study within two years of this Act's enactment. Authorizes appropriations for such study.

Directs the Secretary to collect and maintain up-to-date child support enforcement data.

Title II: Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training Program - Amends the AFDC program to require States to establish a job opportunities and basic skills training program (Program) which helps needy families with children obtain the education, training, and employment that will help them avoid long-term welfare dependence.

Requires non-exempt AFDC recipients to participate in such Program if State resources permit such level of participation and necessary child care is available to participants. Allows exempt AFDC recipients to participate on a voluntary basis. Directs the Secretary to permit up to five States to provide Program services, on a voluntary or mandatory basis, to non-custodial parents who are unemployed and unable to meet their child support obligations. Requires such States to evaluate and report to the Secretary on the effectiveness of providing such services to non-custodial parents.

Exempts from Program participation an individual who: (1) is ill, incapacitated, or of advanced age; (2) is needed in the home because of the illness or incapacity of another member of the household; (3) is a parent or relative of a child under age three or, at the State's option, less than age three but not less than age one (such exception applies to only one parent in a two-parent family and may be made inapplicable to both parents if the State provides the family with child care); (4) works more than 30 hours or more per week; (5) is a child under age 16 or attending elementary, secondary, or vocational school full time; (6) is a woman in at least her third month of pregnancy; or (7) resides in an area of the State where the Program is not available. Prohibits States from requiring the participation of a parent or relative of a child under age six unless child care is guaranteed and participation is on a part-time basis. Requires non-exempt custodial parents who have not attained age 20 or successfully completed a high-school education to participate in an educational activity. Provides that if the parent, caretaker relative, or dependent child is attending a school or course of vocational or technical training when he or she would otherwise commence participation in the Program, such attendance may constitute satisfactory participation in the Program so long as it is consistent with his or her employment goals, though the costs of such schooling or training shall not be covered under the AFDC program.

Provides that when a mandatory Program participant fails without good cause to comply with any requirement imposed on his or her participation in such Program: (1) such participant's needs shall not be taken into account in determining the family's need for AFDC Benefits; and (2) if such participant's spouse is not participating in the Program, the spouse's need shall not be taken into account in determining the family's need for AFDC benefits. Continues sanctions for a minimum of three months upon the participant's second failure to comply and for six months in any case of subsequent noncompliance. Directs States, after three months of a participant's noncompliance, to remind the participant in writing of his or her option to end the sanction. Prohibits a State from requiring an individual to accept a Program position which would result in a loss of income to such individual or his or her family.

Requires States to make an initial assessment of the educational, child care, and other supportive service needs as well as the skills, prior work experience, and employability of each Program participant and on that basis develop an employability plan for the participant which, to the maximum extent possible, reflects the participant's preferences. Authorizes the State to then require each participant to enter into an agreement with the State which specifies the participant's obligations under the Program, the duration of his or her participation, and the activities the State will conduct and services it will provide in the course of such participation. Permits the State to assign a case manager to each participant and his or her family to assist the family in obtaining services which may assure the family's effective participation. Requires the State to furnish Program information to AFDC applicants and recipients.

Requires State Programs to provide a broad range of services and activities.

Authorizes any State to institute a work supplementation program under which such State reserves sums which would otherwise be payable to Program participants as AFDC benefits and uses such sums instead to subsidize jobs for such participants.

Authorizes any State to establish a community work experience program to provide experience and training for individuals not otherwise able to obtain employment. Limits such programs to projects which serve a useful public purpose, utilizing, if possible, the participant's prior training, experience, and skills. Prohibits States from requiring AFDC recipients to work off their benefits in community work activities at less than the Federal or State minimum wage rate and, after nine months at the same job, at less than the wage rate for regular employees doing the same job. Requires that a participant's employability plan be reassessed after each six months of an individual's participation in a community work experience program and at the conclusion of each assignment under such program. Requires that community work activities be coordinated with job search activities so that job placement has priority over participation in the community work experience program.

Authorizes States to require individuals to participate in job search activities for up to eight weeks after applying for AFDC benefits and for up to eight weeks in any 12-month period thereafter. Prohibits the requirement that individuals engage in job search activities for more than three weeks before the State makes its initial assessment of their needs and skills.

Requires States to establish conciliation procedures for the resolution of disputes involving an individual's participation in the Program and have a hearing process to resolve disputes not resolved during the conciliation process. Prohibits the termination or reduction of AFDC benefits as a result of such dispute until the individual has an opportunity for a hearing.

Allows Indian tribes and Alaska Native organizations to apply directly to the Secretary within six months of this Act's enactment to establish and administer their own Program.

Requires that Program activities be coordinated with Job Training Partnership Act programs and any other relevant employment, training, and education programs available in the State. Requires that the proposed State plan be made available to the public and the State job training coordinating council for review and comments before being submitted to the Secretary of Labor.

Requires that each Program assignment take into account the physical capacity, skills, experience, health, family responsibilities, and place of residence of each participant. Prohibits participants from being required to travel an unreasonable distance from home or remain away from home overnight. Requires that workers' compensation and tort claims protection be provided to participants on the same basis as they are provided to others in similar employment. Prohibits work assignments which displace a currently employed worker or position, fill the job of a worker who has been laid off or fired, or infringe on the promotional opportunities of a currently employed worker. Requires each State to establish and maintain a grievance procedure for participant complaints concerning work assignments.

Authorizes each State, within one year of this Act's enactment, to: (1) evaluate the demographic characteristics of potential Program participants, giving particular attention to the demands of the State labor market, the training needed to meet those demands, and necessary changes in current service delivery systems; and submit such evaluation to the Secretary.

Caps Federal funding for Program costs. Prohibits the use of such funds for construction. Sets the Federal matching rate for Program costs at 90 percent of a State's costs which do not exceed its FY 1987 costs under part C (Work Incentive Program) of title IV of the Act and the greater of 60 percent or the Medicaid (title XIX of the Act) matching rate for additional non-administrative costs. Sets such rate for administrative and work-related supportive service costs at 50 percent. Reduces the rate of Federal reimbursement for all non-administrative Program expenditures to 50 percent if: (1) less than 55 percent of such expenditures are targeted at individuals who have received AFDC benefits for 36 of the preceding 60 months, are custodial parents under age 24 who have not completed and are not enrolled in high school or had little or no work experience in the preceding year, or are members of families in which the youngest child is within two years of being ineligible for AFDC benefits because of age; or (2) State Program participation rates do not equal or exceed specified percentages.

Requires the Secretary to: (1) publish final Program regulations within one year of this Act's enactment; (2) submit recommended Program performance standards to the Congress within three years of this Act's enactment; (3) transmit a proposal to the Congress for measuring State progress, providing technical assistance to enable States to meet performance standards, and modifying the Federal matching rate to reflect the relative effectiveness of the various States in carrying out the program; (4) study State implementation of the Program; (5) select five States to participate in three-year demonstration projects to study the relative effectiveness of different approaches for assisting long-term and potentially long-term AFDC recipients under the Program; (6) convene an advisory panel, within three months of this Act's enactment, to design, implement, and monitor a series of Program implementation and evaluation studies; and (7) study the application of the Program to Indians. Authorizes appropriations for the State implementation study for FY 1989 through 1991 and for the effectiveness study for FY 1990 and 1991.

Title III: Supportive Services for Families - Directs States to guarantee child care services to AFDC families to the extent that such services are necessary for a family member's employment or participation in an education and training activity of which the State approves. Limits child care payments to applicable local market rates. Requires States to cover the transportation and other work-related expenses necessary for an individual's participation in the Program. Directs States to: (1) establish procedures to ensure that center-based child care will be subject to State and local health and safety requirements; (2) develop guidelines for family day care; and (3) provide the Secretary with such requirements and guidelines. Requires the Secretary to report to the Congress by October 1, 1992, on State and local health and safety standards.

Authorizes appropriations for FY 1990 and 1991 for a program under which the Secretary makes grants to States to improve their child care licensing and registration requirements and procedures and to monitor the provision of child care to AFDC children. Requires States to provide matching funds equal to at least ten percent of the grant. Requires the coordination of this Act's child care activities with existing early childhood education programs.

Provides a family which loses AFDC eligibility due to an increase of earned income or employment hours, or a loss of earning exclusions with one year of transitional child care if the State determines such care to be necessary for continuing employment and the family has received AFDC benefits for three of the preceding six months. Terminates transitional child care if the family ceases to include a dependent child or the caretaker relative engages in certain conduct prohibited under the AFDC program. Requires families to contribute to the costs of such care on the basis of their ability to pay for such care. Directs the Secretary to: (1) study whether individuals who have been AFDC recipients are again adopting such status in order to requalify for transitional AFDC benefits and, if such is the case, issue regulations, by October 1, 1991, to restrict such requalification; and (2) study and report by September 30, 1997, on the effectiveness of transitional child care in reducing welfare dependence.

Amends title XIX (Medicaid) of the Act to require a State to continue a family's Medicaid eligibility for six months after the family loses AFDC eligibility because of increased earnings or employment hours, or a loss of earning exclusions if the family has received AFDC benefits for three of the preceding six months, and for an optional six additional months if the family has received the entire six months of extended Medicaid coverage. Terminates extended Medicaid coverage if the family ceases to include a dependent child or the caretaker relative engaged in certain conduct prohibited under the AFDC program. Authorizes States to provide the extended Medicaid coverage by paying a family's expenses for health insurance offered by the caretaker relative's employer or by the absent parent's employer during the optional six-month extension period, for enrollment in a group health plan offered to the caretaker relative, a group health plan offered by the State to its employees, or a health maintenance organization. Denies a family the optional six-month extension period if its earnings exceed 185 percent of the Federal poverty level. Requires States to impose a premium on families receiving the optional six months of extended coverage, but only if the family's monthly earnings exceed the Federal poverty level and the premium does not exceed three percent of such earnings. Terminates such extended Medicaid coverage after FY 1998. Requires the Secretary to conduct a study and issue a report by January 1, 1993, on the impact of such Medicaid extension provisions. Extends, from October 1, 1988 to October 1, 1989, the requirement that four months of extended Medicaid benefits be provided to families who become ineligible for AFDC benefits due to the collection of child support.

Title IV: Related AFDC Amendments - Requires all States to provide AFDC benefits to every family which meets AFDC need standards and whose children are deprived of parental support due to the unemployment of its principal earner. Authorizes a State to limit the number of months for which a family may receive benefits under the unemployed parents program, but only if the State has a program to assist such parents in preparing for and obtaining employment. Prohibits States from denying benefits to such families unless they received benefits for six of the preceding 12 months on the basis of the principal earner's unemployment. Requires States which had an unemployed parents program as of September 26, 1988, to continue to operate such program without a time limitation. Authorizes States to: (1) require unemployed parents to engage in Program activities for up to 40 hours per week; and (2) make payments, at intervals no greater than one month, after the performance of Program activities. Authorizes States to count participation in specified training and education activities, including those established pursuant to this Act, towards up to four of the six quarters of work required in a 13-quarter period for eligibility on the basis of unemployment under the existing title IV program. Treats families who would be receiving AFDC payments if not for the State's decision to set durational limits on such payments as continuing to receive such payments so that eligibility with respect to the quarters of work requirement need not be reestablished. Amends the Medicaid program to require States to provide Medicaid coverage to families which would be receiving AFDC benefits on the basis of the unemployment of the principal earner had the State not set durational limits on such benefits. Directs the Secretary to conduct an evaluation of, and submit reports to the Congress on conventional and time-limited unemployed parents programs. Terminates unemployed parents program requirements on September 30, 1998.

Excludes, in determining a family's need and eligibility for AFDC payments: (1) up to $175 per month ($200 per month for a child under age two) per child for child care costs after other disregard provisions have been applied; (2) the first $90 of earned income per month; and (3) earned income credits payable to the family under the Internal Revenue Code.

Authorizes States to condition an unmarried minor parent's receipt of AFDC payments on his or her residence with a parent, legal guardian or other adult relative, or in an adult-supervised supportive living arrangement. Makes such requirement inapplicable if: (1) such individual has no living parent or legal guardian or is not allowed to live with such parent or legal guardian; (2) the health and safety of the child or minor parent would be jeopardized if such individual lived with the parent or legal guardian; (3) such individual has not lived at home for at least one year prior to the child's birth or making a claim for AFDC payments; or (4) the State otherwise finds good cause for waiving the requirement. Requires that (where possible) AFDC payments be made to the parent, legal guardian, or adult relative on behalf of the minor parent and child.

Requires each State to make scheduled reevaluations of its need and payment standards for AFDC benefits at least once every three years and report to the Secretary and the public on the results of such reevaluations. Requires the Secretary to report promptly to the Congress regarding such results.

Directs the Congressional Budget Office to report, within one year of this Act's enactment, on its study into the implementation of a minimum national payment standard under the AFDC program.

Requires the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a study of a new national System of welfare benefits for low-income families with children, giving particular attention to what an appropriate national minimum benefit might be and how it should be calculated. Directs the Academy to report its recommendations to the Secretary (for prompt transmittal to the Congress) within two years of this Act's enactment.

Title V: Demonstration Projects - Authorizes appropriations for FY 1990 through 1992 for grants to States to conduct demonstration projects testing: (1) the effect of in-home early childhood development programs and pre-school center-based development programs on families receiving AFDC benefits and participating in the Program; (2) financial incentives and interdisciplinary approaches to reducing school dropouts, encouraging skill development, and avoiding welfare dependence; and (3) more effective methods of providing coordination and services to ensure long-term family self-sufficiency through community-based comprehensive family support services involving a partnership between the State and community-based organizations.

Requires the Secretary to make grants to up to five States for demonstration projects testing whether the employment of parents of dependent children receiving AFDC benefits as day care providers will facilitate the conduct of the Program and afford a significant number of families a realistic opportunity to avoid welfare dependence. Authorizes appropriations for such grant program for FY 1990 through 1992.

Directs the Secretary to enter into agreements with up to eight States for the conduct of demonstration projects testing, with respect to individuals who received AFDC benefits by reason of the principal earner's unemployment, the use of a number greater than 100 for, or the complete elimination of limits on, the number of hours per month that such individuals may work and still be considered unemployed for AFDC purposes. Sets forth reporting requirements.

Authorizes the Secretary to make grants to States for demonstration projects designed to increase compliance with child access provisions of court orders. Authorizes appropriations for FY 1990 and 1991. Directs the Secretary to report to the Congress on the effectiveness of such projects by July 1, 1992.

Directs the Secretary to enter into agreements with from five to ten nonprofit organizations for the conduct of three-year demonstration projects providing technical and financial assistance to private employers to assist them in creating employment and business opportunities for AFDC beneficiaries and other individuals whose income is below the Federal poverty level. Requires the Secretary to submit evaluations of such projects to the Congress by January 1, 1993. Authorizes appropriations for such projects for FY 1990 through 1992.

Directs the Secretary to enter into agreements with four States for the conduct of demonstration projects under which each such State establishes a Teen Care Plan providing a range of non-academic services and self-image counseling to high-risk teenagers in order to reduce the rates of teenage pregnancy, suicide, substance abuse, and school drop-out. Requires the Secretary to report to the Congress by October 1, 1992, on State evaluations of the effectiveness of such projects. Authorizes appropriations for such projects for FY 1990 through 1992.

Directs the Secretary to extend until June 30, 1990, a waiver granted to Minnesota to conduct a prepaid Medicaid demonstration project.

Title VI: Miscellaneous Provisions - Amends part A (General Provisions) of title XI of the Act to include American Samoa in the AFDC program. Limits Federal funding for American Samoa's program to $1,000,000 for any fiscal year. Increases the total amount of Federal payments which may be made to Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands in any fiscal year under titles I (Grants to States for Old-Age Assistance for the Aged), X (Grants to States for Aid to the Blind), XIV (Grants to States for Aid to the Permanently and Totally Disabled), XVI (Grants to States for Aid to the Aged, Blind, or Disabled), and parts A (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) and E (Foster Care and Adoption Assistance) of title IV of the Act.

Requires that the Program and the programs under parts A and D of title IV of the Act be administered by an Assistant Secretary for Family Support within the Department of Health and Human Services, who shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.

Makes States responsible for: (1) assuring that Program benefits and benefits under part A and D of title IV of the Act are provided in an integrated manner; and (2) ensuring that AFDC applicants and recipients are encouraged, assisted, and required to cooperate in establishing paternity and enforcing child support obligations, and are notified of the paternity establishment and child support services for which they may be eligible.

Directs the Secretary to issue final regulations, within six months of this Act's enactment, requiring States to implement procedures to detect fraudulent applications for AFDC benefits prior to the establishment of eligibility for such benefits.

Directs the Secretary to establish uniform reporting requirements requiring each State to periodically furnish the Secretary with information regarding the child care and transitional Medicaid coverage provided pursuant to this Act.

Amends title XX (Block Grants to States for Social Services) to require each State to submit an annual report to the Secretary containing specified information regarding the use of such funds.

Makes miscellaneous technical corrections to the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988.

Extends until July 1, 1989, the moratorium on reducing AFDC payments to States which have high erroneous payment rates.

Title VII: Funding Provisions - Amends the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984 to extend until January 10, 1994, the authority of the Internal Revenue Service to offset against any refund of Federal taxes the amount of certain non-tax debts owned to Federal agencies. Amends the Internal Revenue Code to require the disclosure of certain tax information to agencies requesting a Federal tax refund offset.

Permits business expenses to be deducted above-the-line as reimbursed expenses only if incurred pursuant to a reimbursement or other expense allowance arrangement that requires the employee to substantiate the expenses covered by the arrangement to the person providing the reimbursement, and prohibits such employee from retaining amounts in excess of substantiated expenses.

Limits the application of the dependent care credit or assistance exclusion for nonhandicapped children to children under age 13. (Currently such children must be under age 15.) Reduces the amount of a taxpayer's expenses which are eligible for the dependent care credit by the amount excludable from such taxpayer's income under the exclusion for employer-provided dependent care assistance benefits. Prohibits the dependent care credit and exclusion from being claimed unless the taxpayer reports on his or her tax return the correct name, address, and taxpayer identification number of the dependent care provider.

Extends from age five to age two the age at which a dependent who is claimed as an exemption on a return must have his or her taxpayer identification number included on such return.