APA Participates in Child Support Directors’ Employer Symposium
At the National Council of Child Support Directors (NCCSD) Employer Symposium in September, APA members and staff shared their thoughts with state child support agencies on how to increase compliance with new hire reporting, address verification of employment requirements, better manage lump-sum reporting, and establish withholding processes for independent contractors.
New Hire Reporting
In addressing an ongoing issue, states said that new hire reporting rates are low. Attendees discussed whether to pursue national legislation to allow employers to report new hires to the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) through the agency’s child support portal. In absence of OCSE’s portal, if states agreed to standard reporting data elements, employer understanding of the requirements might increase, which, in turn, should increase compliance.
Verification of Employment
States are struggling with cost issues where third-party vendors are charging for providing electronic employer responses. Some states have informed employers that they, not vendors, are responsible for compliance. To increase employer responses to information requests, a few states are sending letters to employers reminding them to respond.
Model legislation for managing lump-sum payments for child support arrearages was prepared by the Lump-Sum Collaborative Workgroup, whose participants included OCSE, NCCSD members, and APA members and staff. Provisions address employer reporting, state response, threshold amounts, and definitions. An open issue involves severance pay. This may be a lump-sum payment, but it could also be based on wages that are subject to the original income withholding order.
States are beginning to pass laws to collect child support from independent contractors through employers. This creates problems for employers because contractors are paid through accounts payable, a department that may not be prepared to manage child support. In addition, child support procedures through payroll cannot be easily used for contractors.
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Alice P. Jacobsohn, Esq., is Senior Manager of Government Relations for the APA.