Garnishment Orders

B-194816(DAF): Published: Feb 16, 1982. Publicly Released: Feb 16, 1982.

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GAO was asked to order all Federal agencies to honor administrative garnishment orders, issued by the State of Washington Department of Social and Health Services, without requiring supporting documentation. GAO did not believe that it was appropriate to issue a decision because of matters before the U.S. Court of Claims; however, to avoid delay, it stated its views. The Revised Code of Washington establishes a means of collecting child support payments from obligated but absent parents. Contrary to a Department of Defense position, the Navy Family Allowance Activity continues to insist that State agencies should provide backup documentation with orders to withhold and deliver child support payments. The United States is not under a duty to contest the underlying obligation upon which a garnishment order is premised. That responsibility rests with the employee or service member against whose wages garnishment is sought. Therefore, GAO believes that it is not necessary for a State agency to supply backup documentation with orders to withhold and deliver.

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