Child Support Enforcement:

More States Reporting Debt to Credit Bureaus to Spur Collections

HRD-90-113: Published: Jul 31, 1990. Publicly Released: Aug 31, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on state reporting of child support debt to credit bureaus to increase collections, focusing on: (1) states that are reporting child support debt to credit bureaus; (2) the procedures for credit reporting; (3) the effects of credit reporting on child support collections; and (4) any legal implications of credit reporting.

GAO found that: (1) all states have, or plan to establish, procedures for automatically or periodically reporting child support debt and various other information on noncustodial parents to credit bureaus; (2) states' child support enforcement agencies' credit-reporting procedures varied by criteria and procedure; (3) limited evidence indicated that credit reporting increased collections; (4) from August 1988 through June 1989, total collections averaged $1,208 for reported parents, compared to $1,006 for unreported parents; (5) 28 state agencies with credit-reporting experience reported that the credit bureaus were useful in locating noncustodial parents; (6) federal and state laws presented few legal impediments to state agencies' reporting of child support debt to credit bureaus; (7) federal laws set forth basic reporting requirements which did not present major obstacles to credit reporting; (8) there were no court decisions or current lawsuits relative to the reporting of child support information to credit bureaus; and (9) state laws presented few legal impediments to state agencies reporting child support debt to credit bureaus, but applicable laws varied by state.

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