Human Services Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.: HB-5253

Title: AN ACT CONCERNING IMPROVEMENTS TO INCOME WITHHOLDING FOR CHILD SUPPORT.

Vote Date: 3/3/2016

Vote Action: Joint Favorable Change of Reference to Judiciary

PH Date: 2/23/2016

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Human Services Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

To allow for timelier processing of child support orders when the obligor is receiving workers' compensation benefits, the bill requires employers to send to its workers' compensation carrier an income withholding order it has on an employee seeking workers' compensation.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

RODERICK BREMBY, Commissioner, Department of Social Services, testified: “This bill requires an employer to send to its workers' compensation carrier an income withholding order it possesses regarding an employee that subsequently makes a claim for workers' compensation benefits.

“Currently, employers are mandated to 'promptly notify' the Judicial Branch's Enforcement Services when the obligor terminates employment and makes a claim for workers' compensation benefits. However, there are no means to enforce this requirement if employees fail to do so. This means that DSS's Child Support Enforcement Services may not discover an employee is receiving workers' compensation benefits until the current income withholding payments through the employer cease to be made. This issue can cause a four-to-six-week delay, or longer, for child support payments.

“Requiring employers to attach the income withholding when sending a referral to a workers' compensation carrier should result in the seamless withholding of the child support obligation from the workers' compensation benefit. This process may also improve the IV-D performance and increase the associated federal incentive funding. The families that deserve the support, therefore, should not experience any delay.

“Income withholding is the most effective means of enforcing court-ordered child support. . . . It has not only proven to be effective and efficient but also allows for expedited payments to families. We ask for your support of this bill.”

The Permanent Commission on the Status of Women submitted testimony: “Child support payments from non-custodial parents are an important and valuable piece of a family's budget. . . .According to the Task Force to Study Methods for Improving the Collection of Past Due Child Support, Connecticut has approximately $1.5 billion in uncollected child support. . . . In comparison to other states, we a last in New England and 38th nationwide. . . . HB 5253 proposes to create an intercept when an obligor makes a claim for workers' compensation benefits. PCSW supports efforts to improve the collection of child support.”

Judicial Branch External Affairs Division submitted testimony focusing on HB 5256 but noted, “We want to lend our support to the other Child Support Enforcement bills put forth by the Department of Social Services.”

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Except for the above, none submitted.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

None submitted.

Reported by: Nancy V. Ahern Date: March 3, 2016