In Action Transmittal (AT) 97-17, the Federal government mandated that certain balances be classified into categories. In Oklahoma, we refer to these categories as “buckets.” The AT also mandated that these categories of balances be paid in a certain hierarchy, depending upon the CP’s TANF assistance status at the time of the receipt and the type of receipt paying the balance. For example, when a CP is not receiving TANF (former assistance or never assistance), all balances in the Never Assigned (NA) bucket are paid prior to balances in other buckets. When a CP is receiving TANF (current assistance), balances in the Permanently Assigned (PA) bucket are paid first.
There are four distribution hierarchies:
- IRS Hierarchy: used for all IRS receipts (this is the only hierarchy that is based on payment type)
The other three hierarchies are selected based on the CP’s household type as of the effective date of the receipt:
- Current Assistance Hierarchy (C): CP is currently on TANF
- Former Assistance Hierarchy (F): CP formerly received TANF
- Never Assistance Hierarchy (N): CP has never received TANF
Federally Mandated Buckets
The following buckets were mandated in the Action Transmittal:
- NA Never Assigned (case types E*, P, X, M, J, B)
- PA Permanently Assigned (case types Z, C, F)
- CA Conditionally Assigned (case type D)
- UP Unassigned Pre-Assistance (case types D & Z that un-assign due to the URA balance)
- UD Unassigned During-Assistance (case type C that un-assigns due to the URA balance)
* E represents Non IV-E foster care that is fully funded by the State. It is considered Never Assigned by the Federal government even though it is retained for reimbursement to the State.
Made in Oklahoma Buckets
There are some balances that don’t fall within the federally-defined categories, so Oklahoma established additional buckets:
- Assigned Cash Medical (MB, XB, and cash medical for effective months of C, F, E, M, B, X, J)
- Interstate Permanently Assigned (A, H)
- Interstate Never Assigned (N, I)
- Cost Recovery (GO, AO, CE)
To view the Distribution Bucket Chart visit: Distribution Bucket Chart.
The Federal Office for Child Support Enforcement has changed the policy for balance assignment and receipt distribution over the last several years. These policy changes have impacted how OSIS assigns child support and the order in which the balances that impact the URA are paid.
- Arrearage Assignment:
Prior to 10/01/98, arrears owed to a custodial person (CP) at the time of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) certification became assigned and changed from never assigned to permanently assigned (D) balances. To avoid confusion, in 10/98 an automatic OSIS conversion was done to convert these existing D/DC balances to Z/ZC. This was done to distinguish permanently assigned D balances (see next paragraph) from conditionally assigned D balances. The Z balances are held in the Permanently Assigned bucket (PA).Beginning 10/01/98 through 09/30/09, arrears owed to a CP at the time of TANF certification became assigned and changed from Never Assigned to D balances. These balances (which accrued and became assigned between 10/01/98 and 09/30/09) are held in the Conditionally Assigned bucket (CA).Beginning 10/01/09, CPs no longer assign arrearages when they certify for TANF. These balances remain in the Never Assigned bucket regardless of TANF certification. This means that D arrears no longer accrue, although previously accrued D balances remain on OSIS.
- Conditionally Assigned Balances – Issued vs. Retained:
Prior to 10/01/98, when a CP certified for TANF, any accrued Never Assigned balances were permanently assigned to the State. This assignment was limited to the amount of the URA balance.Beginning 10/01/98 through 09/30/09, when a CP certified for TANF, any accrued Non-PA balances were conditionally assigned to the State. There were two conditions:
- If the balances were collected while the CP was on TANF, the receipt was retained.
- If the balances were collected with an IRS receipt, the receipt was retained.
Beginning 10/01/09, two changes were made:
- Non-PA balances no longer assign when a CP certifies for TANF.
- The only time a conditionally assigned balance is retained is if it is paid with an IRS receipt.
Prior to 10/98: Payee (CP) had to permanently assign all Non-PA arrears (Z).
10/98-09/09: Payee (CP) had to conditionally assign all Non-PA arrears (D).
10/09-Present: Payee (CP) does not assign arrears at all.
Movement Between Buckets
There are three types of balances that can move from one bucket to another. They are:
- Balances that accrue while a CP receives TANF (C)
These balances normally reside in the PA bucket. However, if the assigned balances exceed the URA, the overage will move to the Unassigned During-Assistance bucket (UD).
- Non-PA balances that were assigned prior to 10/01/98 (Z)
These balances normally reside in the PA bucket. However, if the assigned balances exceed the URA, the overage will move to the Unassigned Pre-Assistance bucket (UP).
- Non-PA balances that were assigned during 10/01/98-09/30/09 (D)
These balances are normally held in the CA bucket. However, if the assigned balances exceed the URA, the overage will move to the Unassigned Pre-Assistance bucket (UP).
When a URA balance changes, the bucket balances for the CP adjust accordingly.