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Employer Reporting Program tracks parents who owe child support

Q: What is New Hire Reporting? Is it useful in collecting child support from hard-to-find deadbeat parents?

A: New Hire Reporting is a program mandated by federal law that requires employers to report new employees within 20 days of their hire date. This program went into effect October 1, 1998. The reporting time frame applies to employers who report their new hires manually. Employers who report electronically need to report any new hires at least twice a month – 12 to 16 days apart. Information received from employers is entered into a statewide registry and then transmitted to the National Directory of New Hires.

Entries on the state and national registries are compared to databases of federally approved state agencies, including this office’s Child Support Division. The information contained in the directories is used by the Child Support Division to locate parents who have not paid their child support obligation. When a match is made, a wage withholding order is sent directly to the non-custodial parent’s employer so that child support payments can be withheld from the parent’s income automatically. Every night, approximately 1,000 wage-withholding orders are sent to employers throughout Texas and across the country.

I want to thank all employers who are currently complying with federal and state new hire reporting requirements. Your efforts make it possible to collect more money for Texas children. In State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2000, 270,303 automated orders were sent to employers, which resulted in $156 million in child support collections-15 percent of the total child support collections in SFY 2000.

In September, the Office of the Attorney General started an outreach effort to increase employer compliance with the New Hire Reporting program. Employers will be contacted by mail about the program and options for reporting that may save them time and money. New methods for reporting electronically include:

•Internet, including online submission and file upload http://www.newhire.org/tx/

•Shareware program that generates an output file for submission http://www.newhire.org/tx/

•File Transfer Protocol http://www.newhire.org.
Call 1-888-839-4473 to set up an FTP account before using this reporting method.

Q: Who can apply for the child support services offered through the Office of the Attorney General and what is the fee?

A: The Office of the Attorney General accepts applications from mothers and fathers. There is no fee to apply for child support services provided by the Office of the Attorney General. Our attorneys represent the State of Texas in providing child support services and do not represent either parent in the case.

Applicants do not have the right to select what enforcement actions are taken in their case. The Office of the Attorney General is required to provide all appropriate services for the benefit of the children. As the designated Title IV-D agency, the Office of the Attorney General is responsible for:

•locating absent parents

•establishing paternity

•establishing, enforcing and modifying child and medical support order

•collecting and distributing child support monies
Temporary Assistance to Needy Family (TANF) recipients and Medicaid Only recipients automatically receive child support services, but persons who do not receive TANF must apply for Title IV-D child support services.

For information on services offered by the Child Support Division, call 1-800-252-8014, or visit the Office of the Attorney General Web site at www.oag.state.tx.us.

In the case of unsolicited faxes, you can also file a complaint with the Federal Communications Com-mission. You can get more information through their Website at www.ftc.gov.