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Bill would affirm The Work Number® as a key tool in child support enforcement efforts

A bill now before the U.S. House of Representatives would assist child support agencies by providing access to a full complement of tools to locate a delinquent parent and enforce an appropriate level for child support payment.

The Child Support Assistance Act of 2015, H.R. 2091, would clarify how agencies can use automated employment and income verifications. As the National Child Support Enforcement Association (NCSEA) explained it: "The measure would strike a provision of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) which has enabled some parents who owe child support to make quick changes to their financial status in order to avoid paying the level of support they owe."

NCSEA made the remark in an open letter to the bill's sponsor, Representative Bruce Poliquin (R-ME), in support of the bill.

(Source: U.S. Census Bureau)

The issue arises because, in certain circumstances, the FCRA requires agencies to give consumers 10 days' notice before they request a report from a consumer reporting agency. The result, as NCSEA said in its letter, is that non-custodial parents are given the opportunity, " to dump or hide savings and other assets, run up credit card debt and take other financial or employment actions to avoid or reduce support payments to their children."

H.R. 2091 would amend the FCRA to permit enforcement agencies to obtain consumer reports on delinquent parents without giving the parent an opportunity to avoid child support payments.

Why is this important? The most recent available figures from the U.S. Census Bureau show that unpaid child support reached $14.3 billion in 2011. In fact, the unpaid amounts have averaged $14.7 billion per year since 2000. That's demonstrated by the Bureau's data on average aggregate child support received and not received in their latest report on child support, issued in Oct. 2013. (see chart)

In order to pursue this shortfall in unpaid support, child support enforcement agencies need every available tool. We believe The Work Number has an important role to play, by giving agencies a way of instantly searching employment and income data from 4,300 employers that is as current as an employer's most recent pay date.

If you'd like to lend your support to this bill, we urge you to contact Representative Poliquin directly from his home page.

Newsletter: July 2015

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