New HHS rule on Child Support--case closure?

Previous | Next
 rated by 0 users
Latest post Mon, Feb 27 2017 5:29 PM by Dave381. 9 replies.
  • Tue, Feb 21 2017 3:53 PM

    • Dave381
      Consumer
    • Top 150 Contributor
    • Joined on Tue, Jul 29 2008
    • MO
    • Posts 369

    New HHS rule on Child Support--case closure?

    This situation doesn't involve a divorce, but does involve child support.

    I've got a friend who is being charged for back child support even though the kid is in his mid-20s now.  He believes that any arrearages are owed to the State, since the mother mostly lived off of State support.

    The new "Flexibility, Efficiency, and Modernization in Child Support Enforcement Programs Final Rule", issued December 20, 2016, makes a number of changes to federal case closure criteria, codified at 45 CFR 303.11. These changes provide greater state flexibility while protecting families by recognizing more circumstances in which a state is permitted to close a case.

    One of the Fact Sheets for the new rule states:

    "New criteria permit case closure for certain situations, such as:

    • when there is no current support order and all arrearages are owed to the state;"

    It goes on to say:

    States have the discretion to adopt any of the case closure criteria under § 303.11(b). The rule makes it clear that, generally, case closure is not required. Case closure regulations are designed to give a state the option to close cases, if certain conditions are met, and flexibility to manage its caseload. These additional criteria provide states with greater flexibility to better manage limited program resources and provide good customer service.

    How this affects families:

    Many factors affect whether a state closes a case or adopts any of the optional case closure criteria. The rule supports continued enforcement of cases with collection potential. The final rule emphasizes the requirement that states provide the recipient of services:

    • notice of the intent to close the case; and

    • an opportunity to respond with information and request that the case be kept open or, reopen the case,

    after the case is closed.

    Closing a case does not affect the legality of the underlying order. The child support order, including any payment or installment of support such as arrearages due under the order, remains in effect and legally binding.

    https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/programs/css/fem_final_rule_case_closure.pdf

    I've tried to scroll through the text of the new rule to find the specific part that would apply to my friend's situation, but it's confusing to me.

    It looks like they're saying that the Federal HHS is not going to pay out Title IV-D funds, or allow enforcement actions under Title IV-D for child support if the case can be closed.  States will still have the option of leaving the case open, however.  Of course, a petition to close the case would have to be filed first, etc.  It looks like this may be a way for my friend to get the child support people off his back for good.

    The full text of the new rule is here:

    https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-12-20/pdf/2016-29598.pdf

    My friend is in Missouri, the mother and kid (now adult) are in New Mexico where the child support case was filed to begin with.

    Can anyone here give some clarification as to whether or not this new rule would be helpful in my friend's situation?  Thanks in advance for any answers.

  • Tue, Feb 21 2017 6:23 PM In reply to

    Re: New HHS rule on Child Support--case closure?

    45 CFR 303.11 sets the criteria for a case closure and you can review it at this link https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/45/303.11

    That the child is now an adult isn't on the list and where there is IV-D funds involved, the past due amount has to be less than $500.

     

     

  • Tue, Feb 21 2017 8:58 PM In reply to

    • Dave381
      Consumer
    • Top 150 Contributor
    • Joined on Tue, Jul 29 2008
    • MO
    • Posts 369

    Re: New HHS rule on Child Support--case closure?

    That page doesn't include the new amendment.  There's a link to the new amendment at the top of the page, right under where it says, "§ 303.11 Case closure criteria."

  • Tue, Feb 21 2017 9:31 PM In reply to

    Re: New HHS rule on Child Support--case closure?

    The e link is not an amendment, it's the current regulation in full which simply spells out more specific situations where the case might be closed.  Subsection (b) (1)  addresses the initial facts you provided  and it is unchanged.  A case will not be closed simply because the child is now an adult.  The taxpayers supported that child when the father didn't and they want paid back.  You didn't indicate the your friend doesn't have the ability to pay and it's likely that he owes a lot more than just $500. 

  • Tue, Feb 21 2017 10:05 PM In reply to

    Re: New HHS rule on Child Support--case closure?

    JamyeP:
    45 CFR 303.11 sets the criteria for a case closure and you can review it at this link https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/45/303.11

    The Cornell site, while useful, is not updated very quickly. The link you provided is to the former rule which was very recently amended. The text of the current regulation that incorporates those changes may be found on the offical Government Printing Office (GPO) website where they maintain an eCFR system that is continously updated. It is current now through 2/17/2017, just a few days ago. The link to that rule is: 45 CFR § 303.11

    To the OP — The revised rule might help your friend if there is no current support order and ALL arrerages are owed to the state. But understand that this is not a mandatory rule for closure. It is simply a rule that gives the state the flexiblity to close the case should it wish to do so. Your friend may inquire with the Nevada child support office whether it would be eligible to be closed under this rule and whether the agency is willing to close it out. If the state is not willing to do it, this regulation will not force the state to do it. 

  • Wed, Feb 22 2017 4:24 PM In reply to

    • Dave381
      Consumer
    • Top 150 Contributor
    • Joined on Tue, Jul 29 2008
    • MO
    • Posts 369

    Re: New HHS rule on Child Support--case closure?

    Thank you, Taxagent, for understanding my question right off the bat.

    Some questions I still have about the new rule, specifically, cases that can be closed if all arrearages are owed to the State, and the children are over 18:

    Is the HHS saying that before the new rule, they were REQUIRING that states continue child support orders even if all arrearages are owed to the State, and that with the new rule, they are no longer doing so?  I really don't see the reason for the HHS to make this new rule otherwise.

    Is the HHS saying they won't pay Title IV funds to states that keep these specific sorts of cases open anymore?

    The very first sentence is, "The IV-D agency shall establish a system for case closure.".  Does this mean that one must wait until the state has a system is established?  And if so, any idea how long they would have to do so?

  • Sat, Feb 25 2017 4:59 PM In reply to

    • Dave381
      Consumer
    • Top 150 Contributor
    • Joined on Tue, Jul 29 2008
    • MO
    • Posts 369

    Re: New HHS rule on Child Support--case closure?

  • Sun, Feb 26 2017 1:02 PM In reply to

    • Kivi
      Consumer
    • Top 25 Contributor
    • Joined on Sat, Jan 1 2005
    • CA
    • Posts 6,357

    Re: New HHS rule on Child Support--case closure?

    The new rule likely gives the state ssome discretion to close cases where collection of the arrears is "extremely unlikely". Examples of such situations may include ones where the obligor is known to be "deceased" or residing overseas in a country that is not a signatory to the Hague conventions or in situations where the state has determined that the obligor is in a poverty level situation (that is unlikely to change) and, therefore, his or her income source (likely Social Security or SSI) cannot be garnished because it is below a certain threshold and there are no other assets that can be attached to satisfy the obligation.

    States are going to vary somewhat on which accounts they consider uncollectible. Essentially, the rule gives a state the authority to say that certain accounts probably are "uncollectible" andthe state is not going to delude into into thinking otherwise. Therefore, the state will concentrate its efforts on those accounts where the possibility of collection is somewhat greater. In other words, it gives the state a tool to weed out the wheat from the chaff.

    I don't know anything about your friend's situation, etc. But, unless your friend's finalcial situation is rather extreme, he is unlikely to see much relief from this new rule. 

     

  • Sun, Feb 26 2017 1:27 PM In reply to

    Re: New HHS rule on Child Support--case closure?

    Dave381:
    Is the HHS saying that before the new rule, they were REQUIRING that states continue child support orders even if all arrearages are owed to the State, and that with the new rule, they are no longer doing so?  I really don't see the reason for the HHS to make this new rule otherwise.

    HHS is making it clear that the state may close cases under these circumstances without risk that they will lose funds. It was uncertain if that was the case before, not that uncertainty is resolved.

    Dave381:
    s the HHS saying they won't pay Title IV funds to states that keep these specific sorts of cases open anymore?

    No. It is simply giving the state the option to close these sorts of cases without risk of losing any funds.

    Dave381:
    The very first sentence is, "The IV-D agency shall establish a system for case closure.".  Does this mean that one must wait until the state has a system is established?  And if so, any idea how long they would have to do so?

    The regulations have long had that requirement that the state have a system established for case closure, and all states do. Whether the state will decide to adopt any of these optional case closing situations into its system and how long that may take is impossible to say. If the state saw an advantage in adopting these case closing ideas to clear out cases it might be able to act pretty quickly.

  • Mon, Feb 27 2017 5:29 PM In reply to

    • Dave381
      Consumer
    • Top 150 Contributor
    • Joined on Tue, Jul 29 2008
    • MO
    • Posts 369

    Re: New HHS rule on Child Support--case closure?

    First, I found the part about how long it can take for a State to set up a system for case closure under the new rules. It was actually right on the first page:

    "The compliance date, or the date by which the States must follow the rule,will be February 21, 2017 except, as noted below:"

    But then the "noted belows" get confusing.  Some parts say 1 year, others say something as messy and confusing as: "If State law revisions are needed, the compliance date is the first day of the second calendar quarter beginning after the close of the first regular session of the State legislature that begins after the effective date of the regulation. If State law revisions are not needed, the compliance date is 60 days after publication of the final rule."  In any case, it looks like it wouldn't be longer than a year and three months.

    As for States not losing funds for closing cases:

    As it's stood for quite some time, States are paid 66 cents for every dollar they collect in child support, under Title IV-D.  If the State closes the case and isn't collecting the child support anymore, how does the state get any funds for that case?

Page 1 of 1 (10 items) | RSS

My Community

Community Membership New Users: Search Community