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?
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.
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).
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
Michael S. F~
Assistant Regional Counsel