Child Support Enforcement: Most States Collect Drivers' SSNs and Use Them to Enforce Child Support

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A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Congress established a national child support enforcement (CSE) program in 1965 to ensure that noncustodial parents financially support their children. In fiscal year 2000, the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) estimated that $84 billion in past-due child support was owed, but never collected. The Social Security Act contains provisions to help child support agencies collect support when noncustodial parents or their income and assets are hard to find. The Act mandates that states enact laws requiring social security numbers (SSNs) on applications for a driver's ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. February 15, 2002.

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Description

A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Congress established a national child support enforcement (CSE) program in 1965 to ensure that noncustodial parents financially support their children. In fiscal year 2000, the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) estimated that $84 billion in past-due child support was owed, but never collected. The Social Security Act contains provisions to help child support agencies collect support when noncustodial parents or their income and assets are hard to find. The Act mandates that states enact laws requiring social security numbers (SSNs) on applications for a driver's license. State CSE programs rely on SSNs to locate the addresses, income, and assets of noncustodial parents. Motor vehicle agencies can be a valuable source of SSNs that CSE programs have difficulty obtaining elsewhere. The Act also requires that states suspend, withhold, or restrict the driver's licenses of noncustodial parents delinquent in child support payments. Most motor vehicle agencies that GAO surveyed collect SSNs from all applicants for driver's licenses, but OCSE has taken few steps to promote such collection in states not currently doing so. Although state officials and privacy experts expressed few concerns about motor vehicle agencies collecting SSNs for child support enforcement, possible weaknesses in the policies and procedures in use to safeguard SSNs indicate the potential for compromising privacy. Child support enforcement officials in 35 states told GAO that their agencies use driver's license suspension extensively, which has led to the collection of some payments."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • February 15, 2002

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  • June 11, 2014, 5:03 a.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. Child Support Enforcement: Most States Collect Drivers' SSNs and Use Them to Enforce Child Support, report, February 15, 2002; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc291156/: accessed November 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.