TN 5 (09-07)

PR 04015.012 Georgia

A. PR 07-196 Collection of Administrative Fee to Process Child Support Garnishment Orders in Georgia -- REPLY

DATE: August 13, 2007

1. SYLLABUS

For any garnishment order issued after April 1, 1999, the Agency can withhold the administrative fee based on the existing order. If the Agency is still effectuating any garnishment orders issued before April 1, 1999, a new order is necessary.

2. OPINION

Question

Can the Social Security Administration withhold an administrative fee of $1.50, charged by the Georgia Family Support Registry, from benefits currently being garnished for child support without the issuance of a new garnishment order?

Answer

For any garnishment order issued after April 1, 1999, the Agency can withhold the administrative fee based on the existing order. If the Agency is still effectuating any garnishment orders issued before April 1, 1999, a new order is necessary.

Discussion

Effective April 1, 1999, the Georgia General Assembly established a Family Support Registry, as required by Part IV-D of the Social Security Act. In creating the Registry, the statute provides that "[t]he department [of Human Resources] shall be authorized to establish and collect from the income deduction order obligor or other obligor paying support through the family support registry an administrative fee. The fee shall not exceed $2.00 per payment or 5 percent of the amount of each payment or the actual cost of processing and distributing the child support from the source to the obligee, whichever is the lesser." GA. CODE ANN. § 19-6-33.1(j) (West 2007). Although the administrative fee was authorized by the 1999 statute, the state of Georgia did not begin routine collection until July 1, 2007. The state now seeks to collect $1.50 for each garnishment processed.

According to the Georgia Department of Human Resources, all income withholding orders in Georgia issued after April 1999 have included a citation to the statute which authorized the fee. Under the Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) regulations which govern agency processing of garnishment orders for child support, the term "child support" "may include other related costs and fees …." 5 C.F.R.§ 581.102(d) (2007).

CONCLUSION

Because the fee was authorized by statute, and because the authorizing statute is cited in each of the existing orders issued after April 1, 1999, the fee may be withheld without any additional order being issued.

Mary Ann S~
Regional Chief Counsel, Region VIII
By _______________________
Michael S. F~
Assistant Regional Counsel


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/1504015012
PR 04015.012 - Georgia - 09/19/2007
Batch run: 01/27/2009
Rev:09/19/2007