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What is Title IV-D of the Social Security Act?

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Question: What is Title IV-D of the Social Security Act?
Answer:

Social Services Amendments of 1974 created title IV-D of the Social Security Act, which was signed into law on January 4, 1975. Below is an outline of how the act works and how each state is responsible for enforcing the act.

  • The Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, now the Secretary of Health and Human Services, is required to establish a separate organizational unit to oversee the operation of the Child Support Enforcement (CSE) program. Responsibilities include:
    1. Establishing a parent locator service;
    2. Establishing standards for State program organization, staffing, and operation to ensure an effective program;
    3. Reviewing and approving State plans for the program;
    4. Evaluating State program operations by conducting audits of each State's program;
    5. Certifying cases for referral to the Federal courts to enforce support obligations;
    6. Certifying cases for referral to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for support collections;
    7. Providing technical assistance to States and assisting them with reporting procedures;
    8. Maintaining records of program operations, expenditures, and collections;
    9. Submitting an annual report to Congress.
  • Primary responsibility for operating the CSE program is placed on the States. Each State must have an approved State plan indicating that:
    1. The State has designated a single and separate organizational unit to administer the program;
    2. The State will establish paternity and secure support for individuals receiving AFDC and for others who apply directly for CSE services;
    3. Child support payments will be made to the State for distribution;
    4. The State will enter into cooperative agreements with appropriate courts and law enforcement officials;
    5. The State will establish a State Parent Locator Service (SPLS) that uses State and local parent location resources as well as the Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS);
    6. The State will cooperate with any other State in locating an absent parent, establishing paternity, and securing support;
    7. The State will maintain a full record of collections and disbursements made under the plan.
  • Specific procedures are required for distributing child support collections made on behalf of families receiving AFDC.
  • States are to be paid incentives for collections made in AFDC cases.
  • Monies due and payable to Federal employees are subject to garnishment for the collection of child support.
  • To be eligible for AFDC, each applicant for, or recipient of, AFDC must make an assignment of support rights to the State; must cooperate with the State in establishing paternity and securing support; and must furnish his or her Social Security Number (SSN) to the State.

The effective date of these provisions was July 1, 1975, except for the garnishment provision, which was effective on enactment. Because several problems were identified before the effective date, Congress extended the effective date to August 1, 1975.

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