CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES

CS 403-1P Determining Income for Guideline Worksheets

New 08/01/14 Revised 01/01/18 Training Completed 01/15/18

45 C.F.R. 302.56, 303.4; U.C.A. 78B-12-203; R527-601; Federal Register Vol 81, No. 244, Dec. 20, 2016 (93492)

 

 

Introduction

 

The purpose of this policy is to guide Office of Recovery Services (ORS) workers through investigating a variety of resources for income information and then determining the appropriate monthly gross income to use on the guidelines worksheet to calculate child support.

 

U.C.A. 78B-12-203(5)(b) requires that:

Each parent shall provide verification of current income. Each parent shall provide year-to-date pay stubs or employer statements and complete copies of tax returns from at least the most recent year unless the court finds the verification is not reasonably available. Verification of income from records maintained by the Department of Workforce Services may be substituted for pay stubs, employer statements, and income tax returns.”

 

R527-601-2.  Documentation of Income:

“When complete documentation of current income as required by Section 78B-12-203 is not available for both parents in an administrative default, participation, or stipulation proceeding, the office shall use the best evidence available to determine the appropriate child support award, in accordance with Section 78B-12-201.”

 

Generally, each parent is responsible to provide information, evidence, and documentation concerning his/her own income; however, in the absence of cooperation from the parent(s), the Office of Recovery Services (ORS) will proceed based on the best evidence available.  Information provided by clients on the Application for Services, financial statements provided by ORS Children in Care (CIC) referral forms, or the eShare notes screens must be verified by the employer, taxes, etc.  Unless a participant is being imputed at minimum wage or less, written verification must be received or provided in order for the income to be used on the guidelines worksheet and in the order.

 

 

Computing Gross Monthly Income

 

U.C.A. 78B-12-203(5)(a) states:

“When possible, gross income should first be computed on an annual basis and then recalculated to determine the average gross monthly income.”

 

The guidelines worksheets are based on gross monthly income for each parent.  The following procedures will help you convert the variety of ways you might receive income amount verification (per hour, per year, per pay period, etc.) to gross monthly income. 

 

Compute actual gross income on an annual basis (e.g., covering the period of a year) and then divide the annual income by 12 to determine the average monthly gross income.  Use the information below as needed.

 

·                     Hourly – Multiply the gross hourly wage by 2085.6 (if the parent is working 40 hours per week) and divide by 12.

·                     Weekly – Multiply the gross weekly paycheck by 52.14 and divide by 12.

·                     Bi-weekly (once every two weeks) – Multiply the gross bi-weekly paycheck by 26.076 and divide    by 12.

·                     Semi-monthly (twice per month, or once every half month) – Multiply the gross semi-monthly paycheck amount by 24 and divide by 12.

 

NOTE:  If a parent is working less than 40 hours per week, calculate the monthly gross income by multiplying the gross hourly wage by the average number of hours worked per week, then multiply that amount by 52.14 weeks and divide by 12 months. This formula should be used regardless of the pay cycle (weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly).

 

EXAMPLE:  Parent 1 provides a pay stub showing that she makes $23.00 per hour as a registered nurse.  She works 36 hours a week and is considered full time at the hospital.  She is paid bi-weekly.  Calculate the gross monthly income as follows:

 

$23.00 X 36 hours = $828.00 Gross weekly income

$828.00 X 52.14 weeks = $43,172.00 Gross annual income

$43,172.00 ÷ 12 months = $3,598.00 Gross monthly income

 

 

Imputation of Income

 

“Imputation,” as related to child support income, is the act of assigning an income amount to a parent when it is known that the assigned amount of income is not actually being earned. 

 

The Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) has expressed concerns about IV-D agencies imputing income to parents.  Despite concerns, OCSE has stated that if imputation is allowed pursuant to state law, wages may be imputed for the purpose of overcoming an “evidentiary gap” after the agency has considered various barriers to a parent’s ability to earn.  The federal regulations at 45 CFR 302.56(c)(1)(iii) states:

“If imputation of income is authorized, takes into consideration the specific circumstances of the noncustodial parent (and at the State’s discretion, the custodial parent) to the extent known, including such factors as the noncustodial parent’s assets, residence, employment and earnings history, job skills, educational attainment, literacy, age, health, criminal record and other employment barriers, and record of seeking work, as well as the local job market, the availability of employers willing to hire the noncustodial parent, prevailing earnings level in the local community, and other relevant background factors in the case.”

 

In Utah, imputation of income is permitted pursuant to U.C.A. 78B-12-203(8)(c), which states:

“If a parent has no recent work history or a parent's occupation is unknown, that parent may be imputed an income at the federal minimum wage for a 40-hour work week. To impute a greater or lesser income, the judge in a judicial proceeding or the presiding officer in an administrative proceeding shall enter specific findings of fact as to the evidentiary basis for the imputation.”

 

U.C.A. 78B-12-203(8)(b) states:

                “If income is imputed to a parent, the income shall be based upon employment potential            and probable earnings considering, to the extent known:

 (i)  employment opportunities;

 (ii)  work history:

 (iii)  occupation qualifications;

 (iv)  educational attainment;

 (v)  literacy;

 (vi)  age;

 (vii)  health;

 (viii)  criminal record:

 (ix)  other employment barriers and background factors; and

 (x)  prevailing earnings and job availability for persons of similar backgrounds in the community.”

 

U.C.A. 78B-12-203(8)(d) states:

                “Income may not be imputed if any of the following conditions exist and the      condition is not of a temporary nature:

                (i)  the reasonable costs of child care for the parents’ minor children approach or equal                 the amount of income the custodial parent can earn;

                (ii)  a parent is physically or mentally unable to earn minimum wage;

                (iii)  a parent is engaged in career or occupational training to establish basic job skills; or (iv)  unusual emotional or physical needs of a child require the custodial parent’s       presence in the home.”

 

Some of the barriers to employment suggested by federal regulations and by Utah Code are not easily verified, and it is not easy, or even possible, to quantify the effect that some circumstances listed might have on the parent’s ability to earn.  Because of these limitations, ORS procedures have not yet adopted all of the barriers to employment that are suggested.  As more information becomes available (e.g. more resources for verification, more research to quantify the effect, more guidance in statute, etc.) ORS may revise the required investigation of barriers to employment outlined in this section. 

 

ORS will investigate barriers to employment to the extent possible.  If, after thorough investigation, there is no finding of a current income source at greater than minimum wage or any barriers to employment, it is appropriate to impute wages to fill in the evidentiary gaps as allowed by OCSE and Utah Code.  Wages may be imputed based on recent historical earnings, earnings potential, or federal minimum wage.  The procedures in this section and the XINC will guide the worker through the decisions of whether it is appropriate to impute wages and what amount should be used.  

 

Federal minimum wage amounts are listed below:

 

Effective Date

Hourly Minimum Wage

Monthly Minimum Wage

July 24, 2009

$7.25

$1,260.00

 

U.C.A. 78B-12-203(8)(a) states:

“Income may not be imputed to a parent unless the parent stipulates to the amount imputed, the parent defaults, or in contested cases, a hearing is held and the judge in a judicial proceeding or the presiding officer in an administrative proceeding enters findings of fact as to the evidentiary basis for the imputation.” 

 

When establishing or modifying a child support order in an administrative proceeding, and it is determined a parent’s income will be imputed at or below federal minimum wage, it is not necessary or required for ORS to request a hearing from the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) if the parent participates or does not sign a stipulation.  Imputing at (or below) full-time federal minimum wage is supported by U.C.A. 78-B-12-203(8)(c): “If a parent has no recent work history or a parent’s occupation is unknown, that parent may be imputed an income at the federal minimum wage for a 40-hour work week. . . .”

 

U.C.A. 78B-12-203(8)(c) includes the following sentence:  “To impute a greater or lesser income, the judge in a judicial proceeding or the presiding officer in an administrative proceeding shall enter specific findings of fact as to the evidentiary basis for the imputation.”  A statement which meets this requirement by referencing the best available information and the examination of barriers to employment has been included in the administrative orders. 

 

If a participant requests a hearing concerning imputed income, at any amount, and does not default or sign a stipulation, proceed with the hearing request.

 

 

Income In-Excess of Full Time Earnings (Overtime, Bonuses, Allowances)

 

U.C.A. 78B-12-203(2) states:

Income from earned income sources is limited to the equivalent of one full-time 40-hour job. If and only if during the time before the original support order, the parent normally and consistently worked more than 40 hours at the parent's job, the court may consider this extra time as a pattern in calculating the parent's ability to provide child support.”

 

When determining income for a first time order, Utah law permits the use of overtime if the work history demonstrates that it is normal and consistent.  Utah law also permits the use of bonuses when determining gross income.  Despite these provisions, it is ORS policy that ORS/CSS workers will not consider overtime or bonuses in income calculations prepared for first-time orders. 

 

When considering income for a review and adjustment, income from overtime may only be used by ORS/CSS modification workers if it was used in the original order.  Bonuses may be used if they are a normal and expected part of the participant’s income. 

 

If either parent wishes to pursue inclusion of overtime or bonuses in the income figures for a first time order or in a review and adjustment other than in the way that ORS policy allows, the parent must represent the argument himself/herself in an administrative or judicial hearing. 

 

NOTE 1:  If DWS reported wages is the only evidence of actual income for a parent, income reported to DWS may include overtime or bonuses.  Use this income if no other verification is available.  Although it is not ORS’ intent to use overtime and/or bonuses on a first time order, it may be the only information available when using wages as proof of income.

 

NOTE 2:  The AGO may determine that it is appropriate to vary from the ORS policy and direct ORS employees to utilize bonuses on a case-by-case basis.

 

If a parent has a second job in addition to a full-time job, the income from the second job should not be considered in calculating the support award.

 

Military pay often includes monthly allowances for housing and/or food.  When determining the party’s gross income, include allowances that are received.  For example:  The military non-custodial parent (NCP) receives $1495.00 per month base pay plus a food allowance of $262.00 per month and a housing allowance of $831.00 per month, resulting in a gross monthly income of $2588.00.

 

 

Overview:  Income Worksheet

 

The Income Worksheet, and sometimes the Income Worksheet-Historical (discussed below) must be used to gather income information to establish or modify a child support order.   For every income amount used on a guidelines worksheet, documentation on an Income Worksheet must be available to demonstrate how income was determined.  (One Income Worksheet can support both an incarceration worksheet and a current support/post incarceration worksheet, and one Income Worksheet-Historical can document up to three incomes used for arrears calculations.) 

 

Keep all income verification and other documentation used to complete the worksheet (unless otherwise directed below for a specific source of income information).   Do not write calculations directly on the supporting evidence (e.g., the employer letter or the screen print from DWS reported Wages); attach a separate sheet of paper for calculations.  The Income Worksheet must be completed legibly.  The completed form with all supporting documentation (unless otherwise directed for a specific income source) must be maintained, as it will be used for audit purposes and as the legally required record of the factual basis for the child support obligation pursuant to 45 CFR 303.4(b)(4).

 

The Income Worksheet is designed to help caseworkers:

·                     Document the income information received from a variety of sources;

·                     Complete and document an investigation of barriers to employment;

·                     Determine if there is an evidentiary gap and when it is appropriate to impute minimum wage; and,

·                     Select the appropriate income amount to use for a current support calculation or for an automatic adjustment calculation.

 

In order for the calculation to yield the intended results, it is critical that caseworkers complete each section of the Income Worksheet as directed.  There are four sections on the form:

 

1.       Incarceration;

2.       Actual Income Earned Based on Documentation;

3.       Investigation of Barriers to Employment; and,

4.       Select Appropriate Income.

 

Sections 1-3 of the form ask specific questions, help the caseworker determine “Results”  for each section, and direct the caseworker about which section to complete next (possibly skipping some sections of the form).  Section 4 compiles the results from all previous sections and directs the caseworker on which amounts to use for specific guideline worksheets.

 

The subsections below provide information for caseworkers to consider about each question on the Income Worksheet; however, every possible result is not discussed as many of the fields should be self-explanatory.

 

 

Income Worksheet, Section 1:  Incarceration

 

Section 1 focuses on the current incarceration status for each participant.  It helps workers determine if the incarceration meets the criteria to be considered in the order establishment or review and adjustment action being considered, and documents any sources of income which continue despite the incarceration of a participant.  Section 1 must be completed because it directs the caseworker to subsequent sections which must be completed or should be skipped.

 

1.                   “Is the parent currently incarcerated?” - Past periods of incarceration should not be considered when answering this question.   

2.                   “Length of Incarceration” -  

a.                   Dates of incarceration:  Enter the best available information concerning the actual and expected dates of incarceration.

b.                  Duration of Incarceration:  The expected length of incarceration will have a different effect on the income decision based on whether an order establishment or a review and adjustment action is being considered.  U.C.A. 78B-12-203(6) states:  “Incarceration of at least six months may not be treated as voluntary unemployment by the office in establishing or modifying a support order.”   (The “office” is defined elsewhere as ORS.)

i.                     Order establishment:  When establishing a first-time support order, ORS will consider the entire expected duration of the current period of incarceration, whether portions of the time period have already been served or will be served prospectively. 

ii.                   Review and Adjustment:  OCSE has specifically stated that incarceration time periods should only be considered prospectively when completing a review and adjustment.  If the remaining time to be served is more than 180 days, actual income earned during incarceration will be considered when determining the new current support obligation.   

 

Section 1 Results: 

·                     Not applicable:  This option will be checked if the participant is either not currently incarcerated or the duration of incarceration did not pass either the order establishment or review and adjustment criteria for actual income during incarceration to be considered when determining the current support obligation.

·                     Applicable:  This option will be checked if the participant is currently incarcerated and either of the length of time questions for order establishment or review and adjustment is checked “Yes.”

·                     Actual income while incarcerated:  In most instances, incarcerated individuals do not have an income source or only have a very small income source paid by the prison/jail while incarcerated, and the results on this line will be “$0.00.”  If there is a source of income which continues despite incarceration (e.g., rental properties, book royalties, retirement, etc.), enter that monthly gross amount on this line, and complete the source of income information.

·                     Source of information:  If there is actual income which continues during incarceration, list the source that provided the income amount (i.e., financial statement from participant, tax returns, etc.)

 

 

Income Worksheet, Section 2: Actual Income Earned Based on Documentation

 

Section 2 focuses on documentation of actual earnings.  A variety of common income sources is presented on the Income Worksheet.  The resources are listed in sequential order based on preference and reliability as evidence of income.  Because the focus of this section is on current wage information, limit the information used from these sources to the most recent available year, which will be different, depending on the source.  (The most recent available year is described in more detail for each source.) 

 

Section 2 is divided into two parts.  Part I contains most of the traditional sources for income.  Part II contains income sources which may stand alone as sources of income or may be appropriate for consideration in addition to sources in Part I. For example, a seasonal worker who earns unemployment compensation every year might have unemployment benefits which should be added to hourly wages in order to obtain actual annual earnings.  Each potential source of income information listed on the Income Worksheet asks the caseworker to record information obtainable from that source. 

 

Examine the sources of income information on the Income Worksheet in the listed order of preference.  As soon as current wages are documented which equal or exceed monthly gross federal minimum wage, check the sources in Part II to ensure that there are no wages which are appropriate for consideration in addition to sources in Part I (e.g., unemployment benefits), then record the results in the Section 2 Results field.

 

1.                   Employer Request – Written verification from an employer is the best verification of income for a participant when establishing or modifying a child support order.  Information provided by an employer in response to an Employer Verification of Hours Available letter may also be used

 

2.                   Pay Stub – A participant’s current pay stub is a good source to obtain an hourly wage, salaried income and hours worked during a pay period.  If a participant is not paid hourly or monthly (e.g., piece rate) and year to date information is not available, try to determine income based on the amount paid and the pay period time frame.  If a parent is not paid in a method that can be converted to gross monthly income, another resource (e.g., DWS reported wages, taxes) may be needed for further verification of income. 

 

3.                   DWS Reported  Wages – Use this resource to obtain quarterly income information that has been reported to the Department of Workforce Services (DWS). 

 

4.                   Intergovernmental Request for Assistance/Discovery – If a participant lives outside of Utah, you may seek the assistance of the other state to obtain wage information. The other state’s IV-D agency can search its in-state income resources and provide the information available there.   The Child Support Enforcement Transmittal #3 allows a requesting jurisdiction to seek limited assistance from another jurisdiction without opening a child support case with the other jurisdiction. 

 

5.                   Federal Tax Returns – If a parent is self-employed, tax returns may be the best available source of income.  However, ensure the tax return submitted by the parent is complete and schedules have not been omitted.  If a tax return that has been submitted as proof of income does not contain all applicable schedules, it cannot be used as verification of income.  Tax return use is limited to the most recent tax filing year (or fiscal filing year for a business.)  It may be appropriate to review tax documentation that is received with the assigned attorney on a case by case basis.  ORS does not receive Federal Tax Return information from the Internal Revenue Service. Federal Tax Returns must be submitted by the participant.  If Federal Tax Returns are submitted by the participant, the information is not restricted. 

 

NOTE 1:  In a downward review and adjustment, if a parent is providing tax returns as proof of income but has not filed taxes for the current tax year (i.e., the request is received June 2017, the parent must provide tax returns for the tax year 2016), the review and adjustment must be denied during the review phase of the modification.  Once the parent has filed taxes for the most recent tax year, the review and adjustment can be requested again, along with proof of income.

 

NOTE 2:  State Tax Return information may only be used if it is received directly from the participant, and if it is sufficient to determine gross income (e.g., W-2 forms, etc.). 

 

6.                   Unemployment Compensation (UC) – UC benefits are generally considered temporary income and would not be used in calculating income for order establishment or review and adjustment (and marked “Not available” on the Income Worksheet).  One exception is if a parent is a seasonal employee (i.e., IRS, contractor) and receives unemployment compensation as a consistent source of income (over a period lasting longer than 12 months).  In this limited exception, add the parent’s total earned income and total UC benefits for that year to arrive at the total gross income for the year.  (For the exception, mark this field as “Available” on the Income Worksheet and complete the rest of the fields requested to document the unemployment information.) 

 

7.                   Other Income Sources:  This is a “catch-all” field for other types of income and for other, less reliable resources for income information which may be used to verify income in limited circumstances.  Depending on the other income source, it may be appropriate to add the income in this field to other income located above to obtain a more accurate annual gross income.  Some types of income which might not be verified by the other sources listed on the Income Worksheet might include some disability benefits, retirement, military pay, etc. 

 

Section 2 Results:   While the sources for income information are listed in order of preference, there are additional considerations when determining the income amount to enter as the result for Section 2.  Examine the amounts in the order the resources are listed on the Income Worksheet.  Evaluate each amount using the following criteria in the order listed below.  Once one of the following criteria yields a result for this field, do not continue with the rest of the criteria listed.  For example, the preferred result is “current income equal to or above full-time federal minimum wage.”  Look at the “Employer Request” line first because it is at the top of the list of resources for an amount that meets the preferred description. If nothing found, look for the same description on the “Pay Stub” line, then DWS reported wages, etc.  If no current income equal to or above full-time federal minimum wage is found on any of the resources, go through the resources again looking for “current income less than full-time federal minimum wage.”

 

1.                   Current income equal to or above full-time federal minimum wage is the top preference for Section 2 results.  Review the resources in the order listed.  As soon as current wages (Currently Employed = “Yes”) above full-time federal minimum wage are found, that is the preferred result for Part I.  Once current income equal to or above full-time minimum wage is located, examine Part II to determine if either Unemployment Compensation Benefits or Other Income had results which should be added to the income in Part I as part of steady, annualized earnings.  When current income equal to or above full-time federal minimum wage is the result of Section 2, there is no need to investigate barriers to employment found in Section 3. 

 

2.                   Current income less than full-time federal minimum wage.  Review the resources in the order listed.  Select the highest amount of any located current wage amounts (Currently employed = “Yes”) that are less than full-time federal minimum wage.  Once this is located, examine Part II to determine if either Unemployment Compensation Benefits or Other Income had results which should be added to the income in Part I as part of steady, annualized earnings.  Since this amount is less than full-time federal minimum wage, it is necessary to investigate possible barriers to employment found in Section 3.

 

3.                   Historical earnings equal to or above full-time federal minimum wage.  Historical earnings would be based on information within the time limits described above for each source of income information.  If there are no current earnings, consider historical earnings (Currently Employed = No) in the order listed on the Income Worksheet.  As soon as a result that is higher than full-time federal minimum wage is found, that is the preferred result for Part I.  Once this is located, examine Part II to determine if either Unemployment Compensation Benefits or Other Income had results which should be added to the income in Part I as part of steady, annualized earnings.  When historical earnings provide any portion of the result of Section 2, income is being imputed, and it is necessary to investigate possible barriers to employment found in Section 3.

 

4.                   Historical earnings less than full-time federal minimum wage.  Review the resources in the order listed.  Select the highest amount of any located historical wages (Currently Employed = No) that are less than full-time minimum wage.  Once this is located, examine Part II to determine if either Unemployment Compensation Benefits or Other Income had results which should be added to the income in Part I as part of steady, annualized earnings.  When historical earnings provide any portion of the result of Section 2, income is being imputed, and it is necessary to investigate the possible barriers to employment found in Section 3.

 

 

Income Worksheet, Section 3: Investigation of Barriers to Employment

 

Section 3 focuses on the investigation of potential barriers to employment that may make it unlikely that a participant is currently capable of earning the equivalent of full-time federal minimum wage.  The emphasis is on current earning ability.  Do not consider historical earnings prior to the barrier’s existence when completing this section unless directed to for a specific barrier.  

 

Each potential barrier listed on the Income Worksheet asks the worker to record information about that barrier.  For each applicable barrier where multiple monthly gross income amounts may be entered, the worker is directed to circle the higher amount within that field. 

 

The barriers to employment do not need to be investigated in the order listed; however, if a barrier requires AGO consultation, make sure that all of the other barriers have been investigated first because the results of another barrier might make the AGO consultation unnecessary.  If any barrier has a $0.00 result, $0.00 should be entered in the Section 3 results field, and no other barriers within Section 3 need to be investigated. 

 

1.                   Parent is a minor (under the age of 18 and/or still enrolled in high school with the normal and expected graduating class) (or this will apply after the current incarceration) - Do not impute wages or use actual wages being earned. ORS does not want to compel an individual to maintain a job while a minor or while enrolled in career or occupational training to establish basic job skills (defined as a high school diploma or equivalent).

 

2.                   Emancipated parent is enrolled in career or occupational training to establish basic job skills as described in Volume 2 - This barrier applies once a participant has emancipated.  Even though the participant may have emancipated due to age, graduation of the normal graduating class, or any other reason for legal emancipation, if he/she is enrolled in career or occupational training to establish basic job skills (defined as high school diploma or equivalent), do not impute wages to the participant. This circumstance may not be temporary (less than 12 months).  Current actual wages will be used as the result to this barrier investigation if actual wages are available.

 

3.                   Emancipated parent has no high school diploma or equivalent and is not enrolled in career or occupational training to establish basic job skills as described in Volume 2 - This barrier applies once a participant has emancipated due to age, graduation of normal graduating class, or any other reason for legal emancipation if he/she is not enrolled in career or occupational training to establish basic job skills (defined as high school diploma or equivalent).  With this barrier, both current actual wages and imputed earnings potential may be considered.  Earnings potential will most likely be full-time federal minimum wage. Review the case with the assigned AG if you have information which indicates something less may be appropriate, but do not use anything higher than full-time federal minimum wage.  The results of evaluating this barrier will be the higher of current actual wages or the earnings potential.

 

4.                   Parent is disabled or unable to work full time due to a medical condition - This barrier requires a statement from the parent’s licensed medical provider which provides the medical provider’s opinion about the participant’s ability to work, limitations on working and the expected duration of any limitations. The requirements for this statement are listed on the financial affidavit for the parent to use when obtaining the statement.  ORS does not need a detailed description of the medical condition or copies of medical records, but does require documentation of how the medical condition affects the participant’s ability to work.  Documentation from the Social Security Administration concerning a finding of disability and eligibility for benefits may also be sufficient for this barrier.  The medical condition must not be temporary (less than 12 months). 

 

When evaluating earnings potential, consider the hours which the medical provider has indicated that the participant could work in some sort of profession (not necessarily his/her normal profession).  Use that number of hours multiplied by federal minimum wage to determine the earnings potential amount.  The results of evaluating this barrier will be the higher of current actual wages or the earnings potential.

 

5.                   Parent unable to work or work full time due to the physical or emotional needs of a child. - This barrier requires a written statement from the child’s licensed health care provider describing the special needs of the child and the expected duration of the condition. This is not limited to a child in this order.   This situation must not be temporary (less than 12 months).  Current actual wages will be used with this barrier.

 

6.                   Cost of child care for the child(ren) in this order approach or meets or exceeds 50% of net federal minimum wage - This barrier is limited to the child(ren) in this order.  In order to claim this barrier, the participant will need to provide proof of actual or potential child care charges.  If child care is not currently being paid, the participant must provide three quotes from child care providers, considering the number of children in this order, the ages of the children and the school attendance of the children.  Without documentation, this barrier is not applicable. The caseworker will use the average of the three quotes provided for evaluation.  If the actual or potential child care costs exceed 50% of the approximate net federal minimum wage (73% of full-time federal minimum wage), this barrier is applicable.    Current actual wages will be used with this barrier.

 

7.                   Parent lives in the United States and is either not able to legally work in the United States or has work limitations imposed - This barrier will require information from the participant about his/her legal status in the United States (i.e., Order of Removal, documents describing employment limitations or requirements, etc.).  Without documentation, this barrier is not applicable.  If this barrier is applicable, current actual wages will be used.

 

8.                   Parent has been convicted of a felony, was released from incarceration for that conviction more than 3 years ago, and parent has alleged that the conviction has prevented him/her from obtaining subsequent employment - This barrier requires information from the participant including documentation of the previous felony conviction and incarceration and an explanation from the participant about how that conviction has prevented him/her from obtaining any consistent work for at least three years.  Without documentation, this barrier is not applicable.  If this information is received, consult with the assigned attorney for the income amounts to be entered into this field.  When consulting with the assigned attorney, provide DWS reported wage information, the statement from the participant, and the incarceration/conviction information to the assigned attorney.  Document the AGO consultation in ORSIS. The results of evaluating this barrier will be the higher of current actual wages or the earnings potential. 

 

9.                   Other barriers to employment - This is a “catch-all” field to document any investigation of barriers to employment which are not yet anticipated by ORS.  This requires consultation with the assigned attorney.  Document the AGO consultation in ORSIS.

 

Section 3 Results:  If no potential barriers to employment are found to be applicable, ORS will impute wages at full-time federal minimum wage.  If barriers are applicable, the lowest of all of the potential barrier results will be entered in this field.  If the lowest result is based on “earnings potential,” the worker will also indicate that the amount is imputed.

 

 

Income Worksheet, Section 4: Select Appropriate Income

 

Section 4 is where all of the final results from Sections 1, 2, and 3 are gathered in one location and the final selection occurs of the appropriate income to use on the current support guideline worksheet (which may also be the post-incarceration/“auto adjustment” result worksheet) and on a worksheet to calculate support for incarceration timeframes.  Follow the instructions on the worksheet.  The instructions in Section 4 sort through the possible results from the other sections, consider whether imputation is appropriate, and help select from a variety of potential results which could be based on actual or imputed income.

 

 

Income Worksheet-Historical, Section 5: Arrears

 

In many cases, it may be appropriate to use the monthly income that was calculated on the Income Worksheet in determining the arrears calculation.  (NOTE: This is true even if you need to create multiple worksheets if the number of children changes during the arrears time frame.)  There will be times where policy requires that separate worksheets be prepared or considered to determine the arrears amount because of a significant income change (e.g. arrears are being established for multiple years).  In those circumstances, you should use the Income Worksheet-Historical to document the time period of the arrears, the source of the income information, and the monthly gross income used. 

 

The Income Worksheet-Historical contains the Section 5: Arrears portion of the Income Worksheet.  Because this form is not always required, or more than one copy of the form could be required, the Income Worksheet-Historical is a separate form that can be generated as needed. 

 

If policy directs that a separate gross monthly income should be considered for an arrears time frame, the income investigation for arrears is less complex than for ongoing support.  At the time a Notice of Agency Action is generated, the income investigation for arrears is based on actual earnings information readily available for previous time frames.  If actual income information to support the need for a different arrears worksheet is not available, the proposed support amount based on the XINC’s monthly gross income should be applied to all arrears time frames.

 

To complete the income investigation for policy-required arrears time frames, take the following steps:

 

1.                   Determine the beginning date of the arrears time frame.

 

2.                   Consider the following income resources in the order listed below.  If the resulting monthly gross income is greater than or equal to minimum wage for a source listed, use that source and the amount as the monthly gross amount for the guidelines worksheet from the beginning of the arrears time frame until policy either directs that it is appropriate to calculate another arrears time frame or until the month prior to the Notice of Agency Action being prepared.   (If the parent is currently incarcerated and qualifies for incarceration income to calculate ongoing support, that income may be applied to the arrears time frame beginning with the month that the current period of incarceration started.)

 

a.                   DWS Reported Wages:  Search for wages during the calendar year when the time frame begins.  If there is wage information for that calendar year, add all quarters together and divide by 12. 

b.                  Employer Request (form L15A/L14A):  If an L15A or L14A completed during the beginning year of the arrears time frame is available in Content Manager, you may use the wages from that year.  Calculate the monthly gross income based on the earnings information provided. 

c.                   Tax Returns:  If tax returns are available for the beginning year of the arrears time frame, the information can be used to calculate the monthly gross income.

 

3.                   If no information is available as described above, the income calculated on the Income Worksheet as the ongoing amount should be used to calculate all arrears time frames with the following exception(s):

a.                   If the parent is currently incarcerated and qualifies for incarceration income to calculate the ongoing support amount, that income may be applied to the arrears time frame beginning with the month that the current period of incarceration started, and the auto adjustment amount may be applied to all other arrears time frames.