Health and Human Services

Child support updates advanced

A bill that would harmonize Nebraska’s child support program with federal law advanced from general file March 7.

Sen. Mark Kolterman
Sen. Mark Kolterman

Seward Sen. Mark Kolterman, sponsor of LB702, said the federal government has issued new regulations mandating changes in the child support enforcement program. As a result, Nebraska law currently is in conflict with federal law in two areas, he said.

“It is important to know that failing to comply with the mandated changes by Oct. 1, 2018, would subject the state of Nebraska to the loss of all federal IV-D child support and [Temporary Assistance for Needy Families] funding, amounting to over $81 million [annually],” Kolterman said.

A Health and Human Services Committee amendment, adopted 36-0, replaced the bill with what Kolterman described as clearer language that mirrors federal regulations.

As amended, LB702 would clarify that children who are covered by Medicaid and other needs-based health care programs in Nebraska do have health care coverage. The bill also would reflect federal law regarding the reduction of child support orders for an incarcerated parent.

The bill would require the state Department of Health and Human Services to notify parents of their right to request a review and adjustment of a child support order within 15 days of learning that a noncustodial parent will be incarcerated for longer than 180 days.

Finally, the bill would clarify that incarceration is not considered voluntary unemployment for child support purposes.

LB702 advanced to select file on a 38-0 vote.

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