NCGS 110-139.2 requires the Child Enforcement Services program and financial institutions that do business in the state to enter into agreements to secure information leading to the enforcement of child support orders. A data match system has been developed the requires financial institutions to provide quarterly the name, Social Security number, address, telephone number, account numbers, and other identifying data for any person who maintains an account at the financial institution and who owes past-due support.
A "financial institution" is defined as a Federal, state, commercial, or savings bank; savings and loan association and cooperative bank; Federal or state chartered credit unions benefit association; insurance company; safe deposit company; money market mutual fund; or investment company doing business in this state or incorporated under the laws of this state.
For use in this process, an "account" is defined as any demand deposit account, checking or negotiable withdrawal order account, savings account, time deposit account, or money market mutual fund account.
Financial institutions are not liable for disclosure of information to the state CSS agency or for any other action taken by the financial institution in good faith to comply with the requirements for the data match.
NC CSS submits a file with the name and Social Security number of each noncustodial parent (NCP) who meets the FIDM levy criteria for quarterly matching with the account holder files of financial institutions that do business in North Carolina. See “Financial Institution Data Match Criteria”.
If a match is received, The NC CSS FIDM Unit receives the matching participant’s data. See “Financial Institution Data Match Process”.
NCGS 110-139.2 allows use of the FIDM levy process by other states. If a matched account is located in NC, other states' CSS agencies can issue a levy directly to the financial institution. NC CSS is not involved in the process. However, many financial institutions do not honor levy requests from a state other than the state where a financial account is located.
The IDEC AEI (Automated Enforcement of Interstate Cases) database stores account information received from participating financial institutions in states that are members of the IDEC FIDM program. It allows FIDM workers to access an NCP's financial institution account information through a web-based application and submit an electronic levy request to the state where the financial institution account exists.
The responding state can then seize the NCP's funds and remit them to NC Member states currently participating in IDEC AEI are Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and South Dakota.
Public Law 105-200, Child Support Performance and Incentive Act of 1998, modified Title IV-D of the Social Security Act and the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996 to facilitate the data match for financial institutions operating businesses in more than one state. It allows the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) to assist states in conducting matches with multistate financial institutions.
Financial institutions that operate in more than one state can choose to simplify the data match process by conducting one match with OCSE instead of matching with several states. OCSE utilizes the Federal tax refund intercept (offset) files from each state to extract data for submittal to multistate financial institutions that are in agreement with OCSE to conduct the matches. Multistate financial institutions conduct the match and return matched data to OCSE for disbursement to the states. Information that is returned from OCSE is transmitted to the states through the Federal Case Registry within forty-eight (48) hours.
The Multistate Financial Institution Data Match (MSFIDM) process is similar to the data match process for financial institutions that only operate in North Carolina in the following areas:
The MSFIDM process differs from the intrastate financial data match process in that:
The policy and procedures for securing assets from multistate financial institutions are the same as the intrastate process.
Cases with an amount of unpaid support owed that is at least $1000 or an amount equal to six (6) months' current support, whichever is less, are eligible to be submitted for the FIDM levy process.
However, cases ARE NOT submitted if they also meet one of the following exclusions:
Certain trust fund or escrow accounts are matched during the FIDM process, but they are exempt from levy. Once placed in these accounts, the funds no longer belong to the NCP and cannot be removed by the NCP. The exempt accounts types are:
In accordance with NCGS 110-139.2(b1), CSS can secure assets from accounts of NCPs when a financial institution data match occurs. See “Financial Institution Data Match Policy”.
When the FIDM process identifies eligible cases and financial accounts, the FIDM Unit at the CSS Central Office initiates action to secure funds from the account(s) by sending a Notice of Intent To Levy document to the financial institution and the NCP. The Notice of Intent to Levy identifies all of the NCP's eligible cases and all of the matched accounts at a specific financial institution. Notice to the financial institution is served in accordance with Rule 5 of the NC Rules of Civil Procedure. Notice to the NCP must be served under Rule 4.
The Notice Of Intent To Levy To Financial Institution (DSS-7075) document certifies the total amount of unpaid support that is owed for all of the NCP's eligible cases. It instructs the financial institution to:
The financial institution returns this information on Part B of the DSS-7075 document.
If the account balance is below $10.00 or the account is otherwise not attachable, the FIDM Unit sends a Notice To Financial Institution To Lift Levy (DSS-7078) to the financial institution to end the action. If the account is attached, the funds in the account remain frozen until further notice from the FIDM Unit.
NOTE: A financial institution can voluntarily report an account balance in the match file. If a balance less than $500.00 is reported in the match, the account is eliminated from the levy process. If a balance is not reported in the match file, the case is eligible for selection. It is eliminated if the response to the DSS-7075 document indicates a balance below $10.00.
The Notice Of Intent To Levy On Financial Institution Account (DSS-7076) document is sent to the NCP and advises him/her of:
An action in response to the Notice Of Intent must be made within ten (10) calendar days of the date of service of process. Any response that is received more than ten (10) days after the date of service should be considered the same as if no action was taken.
To contest a levy, the NCP must:
The ruling of the court determines how the levy will proceed. The court could allow, amend, or deny the CSS levy action. The court could also assess court costs to the losing party. An Order On Hearing To Contest Levy (AOC-CV-644) is completed after the hearing. Local CSS notifies the FIDM Unit of the outcome of the hearing.
If the NCP's contest is successful, the FIDM Unit sends a Notice To Financial Institution To Lift Levy (DSS-7078) to end the action. If the contest is not successful, the FIDM Unit sends a Notice To Financial Institution To Remit Funds (DSS-7077), which advises the institution of the amount to be paid to NCCSCC and includes a payment transmittal form. Using the DSS-7077 document identifies the FIDM payment so that it only prorates to eligible cases.
If an NCP alleges that the amount of unpaid support owed is incorrect as stated on the Notice Of Intent To Levy, the responsible caseworker must review the case account to verify the correct amount for the NCP and correct the account if an error exists.
If the NCP is the primary account owner of the account, a match is appropriate, regardless of whether other persons also are named on the account.
Case law exists that assumes the account belongs to the NCP, regardless of whether the NCP is primary or secondary payee on the account. Also, Jimenez v. Brown (509 S.E.2nd NCApp. 1998) supports CSS's right to pursue the account for the NCP's portion of the funds in the account.
If the NCP or another person alleges that, although the name of the NCP appears on the account, some or all of the funds in the account actually belong to someone else, the objection might be resolved without a formal contest in the following circumstances:
Agreements to modify or end a levy in any other situations are not to be considered.
EX. 1: The amount owed is $5000.00 and the account balance is $2000.00. The maximum amount that can be obtained from the levy is $2000.00. The payment to avoid a levy must be at least $2000.00.
EX. 2: The amount owed is $3000.00 and the account balance is $8000.00. The maximum amount that could be taken from the account is $3000.00. The payment to avoid a levy must be no less than $3000.00.
EX. 3: The amount owed is $7500.00 and the account balance is $5000.00. This account is jointly owned by the NCP and spouse, who both contibute to the account. The payment to avoid levy must be at least $2500.00, which is one half (1/2) of the available amount that could be obtained from the account.
To take this action, the NCP must send a certified check or money order in the required amount accompanied by a Child Support Payment Transmittal (DSS-7079) to NCCSCC. When the payment is posted, the FIDM Unit sends a Notice To Financial Institution To Lift Levy (DSS-7078) to end the action.
Financial institution levy actions can be completed by:
Until the action on a match is concluded, no new matches with the same account are made. However, a match on other accounts with the same or a different institution can occur. FIDM Unit workers determine if it is appropriate to initiate action on a subsequent match.
Federal and state laws require the use of a a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) to access funds in ERISA (401K) and IRA/KEOGH (Individual Retirement Account) plan accounts.
A QDRO is a court order that requires financial institutions to release funds to pay support for dependent children, child support arrearages, and alimony. This type of order requires the inclusion of case specific information; therefore, the assistance of the CSS attorney could be required. This remedy can be used without requiring an order to reduce arrearages to a judgment or to establish a lien.
Certain barriers can exist that make the use of a FIDM levy inappropriate for a case. Local CSS caseworkers can exclude a case from the FIDM levy process for the following reasons:
When one of these barriers is documented in ACTS, the NCP's cases are not selected for FIDM levy, even if the eligibility criteria are otherwise met. ACTS searches for these barriers before sending a match file and after match data is returned. A barrier that is entered after this is not considered in the levy process unless a local caseworker notifies the FIDM Unit worker to end the levy action.
When the barrier no longer exists, the responsible caseworker should remove the barrier in ACTS so that the case can be selected if future matches are made.
When a match is made, ACTS documents it in the case history record and notifies the responsible FIDM Unit worker of the match.
Other barriers to a successful levy action exist in addition to those that can be identified by workers. FIDM Unit workers must review each case to determine if these barriers can be resolved and the case selected for levy. The following list describes the barriers that prevent automatic selection:
If no barriers exist when a match is made, ACTS automatically generates the Notice Of Intent To Levy To Financial Institution (DSS-7075) and the Notice Of Intent To Levy On Financial Institution Account (To NCP) (DSS-7076). When a barrier prevents the automatic generation of these documents, FIDM Unit workers must examine the reason for the barrier and determine if the levy can proceed. If the levy can be pursued, FIDM If the levy can be pursued, FIDM Unit workers generate and issue these documents for service on the institution by Rule 5 of the Rules of Civil Procedure and for service on the NCP by Rule 4.
Upon service, the financial institution returns Part B of the Notice Of Intent to the FIDM Unit, providing EITHER the date of attachment and the balance of the account OR the reason why the account could not be attached. FIDM Unit workers then document the account balance and date of attachment in ACTS.
If an NCP who has not received service of the Notice Of Intent To Levy learns of the action and wishes to proceed with the levy, service of process can be waived. To waive service for this purpose, the NCP must provide local CSS with a written statement that he/she is waiving official notification and is not contesting the levy.
Local CSS caseworkers must document the waiver in ACTS and notify the FIDM Unit worker that service is completed. If multiple cases in different counties are included in the levy action, the NCP can waive service for all of these cases to one local CSS agency.
When multiple cases are certified, FIDM workers determine the appropriate remittance amounts for each case using the levy proration formula.
To contest the levy, the NCP must give local CSS written notice of the contest AND file a Request For Hearing To Contest Levy (AOC-CV-643) with the court within ten (10) days after receiving the Notice Of Intent To Levy.
NCPs can meet the requirement to notify CSS by giving the agency a copy of the Request For Hearing To Contest Levy that was filed with the court or any other written document that contains the NCP's name, the reason for contesting, and the CSS case (IV-D) numbers and account numbers that are being contested.
Upon receiving a contest notice, local caseworkers should first verify the service of process data. If service was accomplished within the past ten (10) days, caseworkers should instruct the NCP to request a hearing with the Clerk of Superior Court. If more than ten (10) days have elapsed since service, they should advise the NCP that the opportunity to contest has expired and that CSS will object to a contest action that was not made in a timely manner.
To request a hearing, the NCP must complete a Request For Hearing To Contest Levy (AOC-CV-643) and file it with the Clerk of Superior Court in the county where the order is entered. The NCP must file a separate request for each case in which the levy is being contested. It is recommended that the NCP provide the Clerk a copy of the Notice Of Intent when filing the request for a hearing. The NCP must provide the CSS agency with a copy of the Request For Hearing that has the request for hearing, notice of hearing, and certificate of service sections completed.
NOTE: AOC forms are available from the Clerk of Court or from the North Carolina Court System web site (http://www.nccourts.org).
If an NCP who wishes to contest the levy has knowledge of the Notice Of Intent but has not received service of process, the filing of the Request For Hearing To Contest Levy (AOC-CV-643)with the court constitutes a waiver of service of process to proceed with the contest.
When served with a copy of the Request for Hearing document, local CSS reviews the service of process documentation, schedules the hearing, requests a copy of the Notice Of Intent To Levy On Financial Institution Account (DSS-7076) that was sent to the NCP and the proof of service documentation from the FIDM Unit, attends the hearing, provides evidence and testimony as appropriate, and documents these activities in ACTS.
Following the ruling of the court, the court clerk or CSS prepares the Order On Hearing To Contest Levy (AOC-CV-644), according to local procedures. Local caseworkers must also document the results of the contest hearing in ACTS and notify the appropriate FIDM Unit worker of the outcome of the contest hearing.
If the NCP succeeded in contesting the levy, local CSS caseworkers notify the appropriate FIDM Unit worker.
If the NCP's contest was not successful, local CSS caseworkers:
If the NCP succeeded in contested the levy, FIDM Unit workers:
If the NCP’s contest was not successful, the FIDM Unit worker:
Objections to the levy can be resolved by local CSS for the following reasons:
Action to avoid a levy must be taken within ten (10) days of service of process of the Notice Of Intent To Levy. To avoid the levy, the NCP must notify local CSS and make a payment to local CSS in an amount no less than the amount that could have been obtained from the levy on the account.
To verify the required payment amount, local CSS must review the account balance on the FIDM match record and the certified amount of unpaid support owed as stated on the Notice of Intent to Levy. The required payment amount is the lesser of these two amounts. If multiple cases are included in the levy, the NCP cannot choose to pay on only some cases. The required payment to avoid levy is always the total amount that could be obtained for all certified cases.
If cases that are certified for levy are in multiple counties, the NCP can make arrangements for payment on all of the cases with a single local CSS agency. The payment arrangements should be documented in ACTS for each case.
When an NCP elects to make this payment, local CSS generates a Child Support Payment Transmittal (DSS-7079) and affixes a bar code label to the form. Remittance amounts for each case must be entered. ACTS computes and enters the total remittance amount.
The following formula is used to determine the appropriate remittance amounts for a levy with multiple certified cases:
Case 1 –
Certified amount owed X Account balance /
Total certified amount owed for all cases = Remittance amount
Case 2 –
Certified amount owed X Account balance /
Total certified amount owed for all cases = Remittance amount
Case 1 Remittance Amount + Case 2 Remittance Amount =
TOTAL REMITTANCE AMOUNT
The NCP mails a certified check or money order with the transmittal to NCCSCC. ACTS notifies the FIDM Unit worker when the payment is posted. If notification is not sent within ten (10) days after the transmittal was generated, the FIDM Unit worker reviews the case record. If research shows no payment intended as a FIDM payment and no extenuating circumstances are documented, a Notice To Remit Funds can be sent to the financial institution.
When the payment is confirmed, the FIDM Unit worker sends a Notice To Financial Institution To Lift Levy (DSS-7078) to cancel the lien on the account. The process is completed.
If the NCP has not contested or avoided the levy within ten (10) days after receiving the notice, the FIDM Unit worker generates the Notice To Financial Institution To Remit Funds (DSS-7077). The amounts to be remitted for each certified case are determined using the levy proration formula.
NOTE: The amount that is remitted can be less than the amount requested, if the institution withholds any service or membership fees.
ACTS transfers the remittance amounts to Part B of the notice. The FIDM Unit worker affixes a bar code label to Part B of the Payment Transmittal and sends the notice to the institution. When ACTS notifies the FIDM Unit of the FIDM payment being posted, the process is completed.
For questions or clarification on any of the policy contained in these manuals, please contact your local county office.