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It's the law! The Work Number® affirmed as a tool for child support efforts

The Child Support Assistance Act of 2015 is now in force, clearing the way for child support agencies to make the most effective possible use of The Work Number to help collect payments owed by non-custodial parents.

The act, signed into law by President Barack Obama on Dec. 4, lifts the burden of providing 10 days' notice to non-custodial parents before using The Work Number. Until now, in certain circumstances, child support agencies had to incur the cost of a registered letter to provide 10 days' notice. Worse still, the advance notice allowed non-custodial parents to avoid their obligations by changing jobs or taking other actions to conceal their current financial capacity.

See our infographic to learn more about how you can improve your locate rate on delinquencies for child support enforcement.

Contact us now to learn how your agency can become a user.

As Congressman Bruce Poliquin put it in his press release, the new law will " help our state and local support enforcement agencies aid families in collecting child support payments from delinquent parents this is about our kids and ensuring they get the money they're rightly owed." The new law also expressly allows child support enforcement authorities to use consumer reports to set an appropriate payment and adjust the amount as needed.

The law amends portions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act that relate to permissible purpose for gaining access to consumer reports. Because the FCRA treats a verification of employment and income from The Work Number as a form of consumer report, the changes open a clear path for use of The Work Number. As always, you must have permissible purpose to request the data. For a child support agency, this means, as stated in 604(a) of the FCRA,

  • (4) In response to a request by the head of a State or local child support enforcement agency (or a State or local government official authorized by the head of such an agency), if the person making the request certifies to the consumer reporting agency that
    • (A) the consumer report is needed for the purpose of establishing an individual's capacity to make child support payments, determining the appropriate level of such payments, or enforcing a child support order, award, agreement or judgment;
    • (B) the parentage of the consumer for the child to which the obligation relates has been established or acknowledged by the consumer in accordance with State laws under which the obligation arises (if required by those laws); and
    • (C) the consumer report will be kept confidential, will be used solely for a purpose described in subparagraph (A), and will not be used in connection with any other civil, administrative or criminal proceeding, or for any other purpose.

The bill was included in the highway and transit reauthorization bill and passed on December 4, 2015.

As explained in a recent article, child support agencies need every tool they can get. Unpaid child support has remained stubbornly high for years, averaging $14.7 billion a year since 2000.

The Work Number is a powerful tool you can use to instantly search for employment and income data from over 5,000 employers representing millions of payroll records that are as fresh as each employer's last pay date.

Newsletter: January 2016

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