Summary: H.R.4325 — 98th Congress (1983-1984)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Conference report filed in House (08/01/1984)

(Conference report filed in House, H. Rept. 98-925)

Child Support Enforcement Amendments of 1984 - Amends part D (Child Support and Establishment of Paternity) of title IV of the Social Security Act to revise the purposes of such part to provide that assistance in obtaining support will be available under part D to all children (whether or not eligible for aid under the Aid to Families With Dependent Children program) for whom such assistance is requested.

Requires a State, under part D, to have enacted laws establishing, embodying, or requiring the use of the following procedures to increase the effectiveness of its part D program: (1) procedures for the withholding from income support amounts; (2) procedures under which expedited processes are in effect for obtaining and enforcing support orders and, at the option of the State, for establishing paternity; (3) procedures to collect support from a State tax refund; (4) procedures under which liens are imposed against real and personal property for amounts of past-due support owed by an absent parent; (5) procedures for establishing a child's paternity; (6) procedures requiring an absent parent to give security or post a bond to secure payment of past-due support, after notice has been sent to the absent parent; (7) procedures by which information regarding the amount of past-due support owed by an absent parent residing in the State will be made available to any consumer reporting agency upon the request of such agency, subject to certain conditions; and (8) procedures under which all child support orders of the State will include wage withholding provisions. Permits a State to not apply the procedures of clauses (3), (4), (6), and (7) of the preceeding sentence if to apply such clauses would be inappropriate in the circumstances.

Provides that under such procedures: (1) wages withheld must comply with the support order; (2) withholding must be initiated without application in the case of a child who is already receiving services under part D, and will be initiated with an application in the case of any other child; (3) an absent parent shall become subject to withholding, and advance notice shall be given as required, on the earliest of either the date on which the missed payments subject to the order are at least equal to the support payable for one month, the date when the absent parent requests the withholding to beginning on an earlier date the State may select; (4) withholding must be carried out in full compliance with all procedural due process requirements; (5) the State must provide advance notice to each individual who will have payments withheld and information as to how to contest the withholding, but exempts a State from this requirement with income withholding procedures meeting due process requirements; (6) withholding must be administered by a public agency designated by the State, and amounts withheld must be expeditiously distributed; (7) State law must give priority to support collection over any other legal process against the same wages; (8) there will be withholding from all forms of income; (9) provisions must be made for terminating withholding; and (10) arrangement will be made with other States providing for reciprocal withholding. Requires, in addition, under such procedures that: (1) an employer withhold ordered payments (which shall include a fee to be paid to the employer) when provided with notice; (2) an employer be held liable to the State for failure to withhold; and (3) a fine be imposed on any employer who refuses to employ or takes disciplinary action against any individual subject to wage withholding because of the existence of the withholding and additional obligations imposed on the employer. Permits a State to be exempted from the application of any procedure or law if the exemption will not increase the effectiveness of the State's child support enforcement program.

Requires a State to impose an application fee for furnishing child support collection or paternity determination services which shall be paid by the individual applying for the services, the absent parent, or the State. Prohibits such fee from exceeding $25.00. Permits such fee to vary among individuals according to their ability to pay.

Permits a State to impose a late payment fee of between three and six percent on all overdue support.

Provides that the Federal matching rate under part D shall be: (1) 70 percent for FY 1984, 1985, 1986, and 1987; (2) 68 percent for FY 1988 and 1989; and (3) 66 percent for FY 1990 and beyond.

Revises provisions relating to incentive payments to States. States that in order to encourage and reward State child support programs which perform in a cost-effective and efficient manner to secure support for all children whether they reside within the State or elsewhere and whether they are AFDC (Aid to Families With Dependent Children, part A of title IV of the Act) children or non-AFDC children, and regardless of the economic circumstances of the parents, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall pay an incentive payment from support collected which would otherwise represent the Federal share of assistance to families of absent parents. Provides that the basic incentive payment shall be equal to six percent of a State's AFDC collections plus six percent of a State's non-AFDC collections. Provides that the cap for incentive payments for non-AFDC collections will vary from 100 percent of the AFDC incentive for FY 1986 and 1987 to 115 percent for FY 1990 and beyond.

Provides that for FY 1986 or 1987 a State shall receive at least 80 percent of what it would have received under part D if this Act were not in effect. Provides that if AFDC or non-AFDC collections for any fiscal year bears a ratio to the total amount expended by a State for that year for operating its plan under part D which is equal to or greater than 1.4, higher incentives will be paid on a sliding scale of up to ten percent. Requires a State, in order to be elibile for incentive payments, to provide that if one or more political subdivisions in the State participate in the costs of carrying out activities under the State plan, each such subdivision shall be entitled to receive an appropriate share of the State's incentive payments.

Authorizes a State to use the funds available under part D for automated management systems to facilitate the development and improvement of income withholding procedures.

Requires a State, whenever a family for whom support payments have been collected and distributed under part D ceases to receive assistance under part A (Aid to Families With Dependent Children) of title IV, to: (1) continue collecting support for up to three months; and (2) continue collection and payment to the family (without requiring reapplication) at the end of the three-month period on the same basis as in the case of individuals not receiving assistance under part A.

Authorizes the Secretary to make grants, in order to encourage and promote the development and use of more effective methods of enforcing support obligations under part D in cases where either the children on whose behalf the support is sought or their absent parents do not reside in the State where such cases are filed, to States proposing to undertake new or innovative methods of support collection in such cases. Authorizes appropriations for such grants.

Requires: (1) review of a State's part D program at least once every three years; and (2) the operation by a State of a child support program (under part A) which is in substantial compliance with the State's part D plan.

Provides for reductions in the Federal matching amount under part A of between one to two percent (for an initial penalty) and three to five percent (for the third and subsequent penalties), if a State's plan under part D does not meet plan requirements. Permits suspension of the reductions if a State submits a corrective action plan which the Secretary approves.

Amends part A (General Provisions) of title XI of the Social Security Act to require any demonstration project undertaken which assists in promoting the objectives of part D of title IV to: (1) be designed to improve the financial well-being of children; (2) prohibit modifications in the child support program which would have the effect of disadvantaging children in need of support; and (3) not result in increased costs to the Federal Government under part A of title IV.

Provides under part D, that amounts collected by a State as child support on behalf of a child for whom a public agency is making foster care maintenance payments under part D (Foster Care and Adoption Assistance) of title IV: (1) shall be retained by the State to the extent necessary to reimburse it for foster care maintenance payments made; (2) shall be paid to the public agency responsible for supervising the placement of a child to the extent that amounts collected exceed foster care maintenance payments made with respect to the child but not amounts required by a court order to be paid on behalf of the child; and (3) shall be retained by the State if any portion of the amounts collected remains after making the payments required above, to the extent that such portion is necessary to reimburse the State for any foster care maintenance payments made for a child. Requires any balance to be paid to the State agency responsible for supervising child care placement. Requires a State, under part E, where appropriate, to take all steps to secure an assignment to the State of any rights to support on behalf of each child receiving foster care maintenance payments.

Requires a State to collect spousal support in cases where child support is being collected.

Requires the Secretary's annual report under part D to include the following data, with the data required under each clause being separately stated for cases where the child is receiving AFDC (or foster care maintenance payments), cases where the child was formerly receiving such aid or payments and the State is continuing to collect support assigned to it, and all other cases: (1) the total number of cases in which a support obligation has been established in the past fiscal year and the total amount of such obligations for these cases; (2) the total number of cases in which a support obligation has been established, and the total amount of such obligation; (3) the number of cases described in clause one in which support was collected, and the amount collected; (4) the number of cases described in clause two in which support was collected, and the amount collected; and (5) the number of child support cases filed in each State, and the amount of the collections made in each State, on behalf of children residing in another State or against parents residing in another State. Requires, in addition, the report to include the amount of administrative costs expended in each functional category of expenditures, including establishment of paternity.

Requires a State, under part D, to regularly publicize the availability of child support enforcement services, including information as to any application fees and a telephone number or address where further information can be obtained.

Requires a State, as a condition of eligibility for Federal payments under part A or D of title IV, to establish a State Commission on Child Support to examine, investigate, and study the operation of the State's child support system so as to determine the extent to which the system has been successful in securing support and parental involvement for both AFDC an non-AFDC children. Requires a report from the Commission. Permits waivers of the requirement for a Commission in a State if the State already has its own commission, which is making satisfactory progress towards effective child support enforcement, or has in effect objective standards for child support obligations.

Directs the Secretary to issue regulations requiring States to petition for the inclusion of medical support as part of any child support order whenever health care coverage is available to the absent parent at a reasonable cost.

Repeals the requirement that a State may not request the assistance of the Federal Parent Locator Service until the State has determined that the absent parent cannot be located through its own agencies.

Requires each State, as a condition of having its plan approved under part D, to establish guidelines for child support award amounts within the State. Requires the guidelines to be made available to all judges and other officials who have the power to determine child support awards. Provides that the guidelines not be binding on such judges or other officials.

Provides for the disclosure of an absent parent's social security number to child support agencies by the Secretary (through the Parent Locator Service) and the Secretary of the Treasury.

Provides for the continuation of Medicaid (title XIX of the Social Security Act) eligibility for four months if a family loses AFDC eligibility because of the collection or increased collection of support under part D of title IV.

Provides that the present system of withholding past-due support from Federal tax refunds for AFDC families shall be available for non-AFDC families as well. Requires that notice of the withholding be sent to the absent parent, along with instructions as to how to contest the withholding. Provides that, in the case of such non-AFDC withholding, the withhholding shall apply only in the case where past-due support is at least $500. Limits the fee charged by the Secretary of the Treasury for such withholding to $25. Amends the Internal Revenue Code to direct the Secretary of the Treasury to disclose, upon receiving a written request, to a State child support agency requesting a tax refund reduction, whether or not a reduction in an absent parent's tax refund has been made.

Directs the Secretary to approve a request from the State of Wisconsin to waive the requirements of parts A and D of title IV, or to waive the requirements of part D and only those requirements of part A as relate to the provision of aid to dependent children in single-parent families, in order to permit such State to make an adequate test of its Child Support State Initiative, provided certain conditions are met.

Expresses the sense of Congress that: (1) State and local governments must focus on the vital issues of child support, child custody, visitation rights, and other related domestic issues; (2) all individuals involved in the domestic relations process should recognize the seriousness of these matters to the health and welfare of the Nation's children; and (3) a mutual recognition of the needs of all parties involved in divorce actions will greatly enhance the health and welfare of America's children and families.