Connecticut Seal

Senate Bill No. 974

Public Act No. 03-109

AN ACT CONCERNING ADMINISTRATIVE ENFORCEMENT OF CHILD SUPPORT ORDERS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 52-362d of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003):

(a) Whenever an order of the Superior Court or a family support magistrate for support of a minor child or children is issued and such payments have been ordered to be made to the state acting by and through the IV-D agency and the person against whom such support order was issued owes past-due support in the amount of five hundred dollars or more, the state shall have a lien on any property, real or personal, in which such person has an interest to enforce payment of such past-due support after first providing such person with notice of intent to place such lien, and an opportunity for a hearing before a hearing officer to contest the amount of such past-due support. The lien for past-due child support shall be secured by the IV-D agency pursuant to procedures contained in the general statutes applicable to the type of property to be secured. Any such lien on real property may, at any time during which the obligor owes the amount of past-due child support secured by such lien, be foreclosed in an action brought in a court of competent jurisdiction by the Commissioner of Social Services in a title IV-D case or by the person to whom the child support is due. [When past-due support is owing both to a family and to the state, the proceeds of the lien shall be applied to the family's current and past-due support first and, when such support is satisfied, to the state's past-due support. ] A lien for past-due support arising in any other state shall be given full faith and credit by this state provided such other state has complied with its procedural rules relating to recording or serving of liens.

(b) On October 1, 1991, and monthly thereafter, the Department of Social Services shall compile a list of all obligors who owe overdue support in the amount of one thousand dollars or more accruing after the entry of an initial court order establishing a child support obligation. Any overdue support in an amount of one thousand dollars or more shall be subject to the reporting provisions of this section. [unless a court or family support magistrate makes a specific finding that the amount of such overdue support shall not be reported. ] The state shall report to any participating consumer reporting agency, as defined in 15 USC 1681a(f), information regarding the amount of such overdue support owed by an obligor if the amount of such overdue support is one thousand dollars or more, on a computer tape in a format acceptable to the consumer reporting agency. Such information shall be reported by the department only after notice has been sent by the department to such obligor of the proposed action, and such obligor is given an opportunity for a hearing before a hearing officer of the department to contest the amount of the alleged arrearage. Any such notice sent to such obligor shall contain a telephone number and address of the Department of Social Services and shall contain the following language in bold type: "If you are no longer in arrears or have received this notice in error, please contact the department at the following address or telephone number. " On a monthly basis, the Department of Social Services shall provide to each consumer reporting agency informed of the original arrearage of an obligor updated information concerning any such obligor and the status of payments, including a list of obligors who no longer owe overdue support, in such acceptable computer format. The department shall designate one or more persons in the department to receive telephone or other requests from an obligor or a consumer reporting agency regarding verification of information supplied to a consumer reporting agency. The department shall respond to any such request within five working days of its receipt. Upon satisfactory verification that an obligor is no longer in arrears, the department shall send a statement to such obligor, and such statement shall constitute proof to a creditor that such obligor is no longer in arrears as of the date of the statement. A participating consumer reporting agency which receives such updated information from the department that an obligor no longer owes any overdue support shall record such information within thirty days of receipt of such notification unless the information was in a format which was unusable by the agency or contained an error which prevented the agency from matching the updated information to previously supplied data. Any consumer reporting agency which negligently or wilfully fails to use reasonable efforts to comply with any requirement imposed under this subsection with respect to an obligor shall be liable to such obligor in an amount equal to the sum of (1) any actual damages sustained by the obligor as a result of such failure, and (2) a reasonable attorney's fee as determined by the court.

(c) [The Connecticut Lottery Corporation,] When any person redeems a winning lottery ticket worth five thousand dollars or more, at the central office of the Connecticut Lottery Corporation, the Connecticut Lottery Corporation shall check the name and other identifying information of such person against a list of obligors supplied by the Commissioner of Social Services. If such person is included on the list of obligors, the Connecticut Lottery Corporation shall request confirmation from the Commissioner of Social Services that such person is in fact an obligor, and upon notification by the Commissioner of Social Services that money is due from any such person as a result of a claim for support which has been assigned to the state pursuant to section 17b-77, or is to be paid to the state acting by and through the IV-D agency, the Connecticut Lottery Corporation shall withhold from any lottery winnings payable to such person under the provisions of chapter 226 or chapter 229a the amount of such claim for support owed to an individual for any portion of support which has not been assigned to the state and then the amount of such claim for support owed to the state, provided the Connecticut Lottery Corporation shall notify such person that (1) lottery winnings have been withheld as a result of the amount due for such support, and (2) such person has the right to a hearing before a hearing officer designated by the Commissioner of Social Services if such person contests the amount of the alleged claim for support. The Connecticut Lottery Corporation shall pay such persons in accordance with any decisions of the hearing officer or the court upon appeal of the hearing officer's decision.

(d) Whenever an order of the Superior Court or a family support magistrate of this state, or an order of another state that has been registered in this state, for support of a minor child or children is issued and such payments have been ordered through the IV-D agency, and the obligor against whom such support order was issued owes overdue support under such order in the amount of five hundred dollars or more, the IV-D agency, as defined in subdivision (12) of subsection (b) of section 46b-231, or Support Enforcement Services of the Superior Court may notify (1) any state or local agency with authority to distribute benefits to such obligor including, but not limited to, unemployment compensation and workers' compensation, (2) any person having or expecting to have custody or control of or authority to distribute any amounts due such obligor under any judgment or settlement, (3) any financial institution holding assets of such obligor, and (4) any public or private entity administering a public or private retirement fund in which such obligor has an interest that such obligor owes overdue support in a IV-D support case. Upon receipt of such notice, such agency, person, institution or entity shall withhold delivery or distribution of any such benefits, amounts, assets or funds until receipt of further notice from the IV-D agency.

(e) In IV-D cases in which a notice is sent pursuant to subsection (d) of this section, the IV-D agency shall notify the obligor that such benefits, amounts, assets or funds have been withheld as a result of overdue support in a IV-D support case in accordance with an order of the Superior Court or family support magistrate of this state, or an order of another state that has been registered in this state. The IV-D agency shall further notify the agency, person, institution or entity to whom notice was sent pursuant to subsection (d) of this section as follows: (1) Upon expiration of the time for requesting a hearing specified in section 17b-60, to make payment to the state from any such benefits, amounts, assets or funds withheld in accordance with subsection (d) of this section [to satisfy such overdue support and any current support obligation] provided, in the case of retirement funds, such payment shall only be made in accordance with a withholding order issued under section 52-362 when the obligor is entitled to receive retirement benefits from such fund; (2) upon payment of such overdue support by such obligor, to release or distribute, as appropriate, such benefits, amounts, assets or funds to such obligor; or (3) upon issuance of a decision by the hearing officer or the court upon appeal of such officer's decision, to take such other action as may be ordered by such officer or such court, and such agency, person, institution or entity shall forthwith comply with such notice received from the IV-D agency.

(f) [When overdue support is] Support collected pursuant to this section [and overdue support is owing both to a family and to the state, the proceeds collected pursuant to subsection (e) of this section shall be applied to the family's overdue support first and, when the family's overdue support is satisfied, to the state's overdue support] shall be distributed as required by Title IV-D of the Social Security Act.

(g) The Commissioner of Social Services shall adopt regulations, in accordance with chapter 54, setting forth procedures providing for adequate notice of (1) the right to a hearing before a hearing officer, and (2) procedures for a fair hearing for any person alleged by the commissioner to owe past-due or overdue child support to the state, or to an individual when the payments have been ordered payable to the state acting by and through the IV-D agency, if the commissioner has filed a lien on the property of such person or claimed an offset against money payable by the state to enforce a claim for payment of such past-due or overdue support, or intends to seize any benefits, amounts, assets or funds withheld in accordance with subsection (d) of this section or report such overdue support to a consumer credit agency.

Sec. 2. Subsection (c) of section 52-362e of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003):

(c) [When past-due support is] Support collected pursuant to [subsection (b) of] this section [and past-due support is owing both to a family and to the state, the proceeds collected shall be applied to the family's overdue support first and, when the family's overdue support is satisfied, to the state's overdue support] shall be distributed as required by Title IV-D of the Social Security Act.

Approved June 18, 2003