ASSEMBLY, No. 2984

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

215th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED MAY 24, 2012

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman  VALERIE VAINIERI HUTTLE

District 37 (Bergen)

Assemblywoman  ANNETTE QUIJANO

District 20 (Union)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Directs portion of Unclaimed Child Support Trust Fund be used to balance unpaid receivables resulting from federal income tax refund offset reversals.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning abandoned child support payments and amending R.S.46:30B-74.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    R.S.46:30B-74 is amended to read as follows:

     46:30B-74.  The administrator shall establish and manage four separate trust funds to be known as the Unclaimed County Deposits Trust Fund, the Unclaimed Child Support Trust Fund, the Unclaimed Utility Deposits Trust Fund and the Unclaimed Personal Property Trust Fund.

     a.     All moneys received as unclaimed county deposits and the accretions thereon shall be deposited into the Unclaimed County Deposits Trust Fund. Each year, unless the administrator deems it prudent and advisable to do otherwise, the administrator shall pay to each county, within 45 days of the receipt of such funds, 75% of the unclaimed county deposits received from that county by the administrator.  The remaining portion shall be retained in the trust fund, administered and invested by the State Treasurer, and used to pay claims duly presented and allowed and all expenses and costs incurred by the State of New Jersey.  If the Unclaimed County Deposits Trust Fund is insufficient to pay specific claims against a county, the administrator shall report the fact to the county governing body and the unpaid claim shall become an affirmative obligation of that county.

     [Upon the effective date of this act, any county deposits paid to the administrator between April 18, 1989 and the effective date of this act shall be transferred from the Unclaimed Personal Property Trust Fund to the Unclaimed County Deposits Trust Fund.]

     b.    All moneys received in unclaimed property deposits from electric and gas utilities shall be deposited into the Unclaimed Utility Deposits Trust Fund.  Each year, unless the administrator deems it prudent and advisable to do otherwise, the administrator shall pay to the New Jersey Statewide Heating Assistance and Referral for Energy Services (SHARES) nonprofit corporation, or to another Statewide nonprofit energy assistance organization designated by the Board of Public Utilities within 45 days of the receipt of such funds, 75% of the unclaimed utility deposits received from each of the electric and gas utilities by the administrator.  Such payments received from the administrator shall be used exclusively for the payment of expenses associated with the restoration of electric or gas service, or to prevent the termination of electric or gas service provided to utility ratepayers seeking assistance from New Jersey SHARES, or an equivalent nonprofit energy assistance organization designated by the Board of Public Utilities.  The remaining portion shall be retained in the trust fund, administered and invested by the State Treasurer, and used to pay claims duly presented and allowed and all expenses and costs incurred by the State of New Jersey.

     [Upon the effective date of P.L.2000, c.132 (C.48:2-29.38 et al.), any unclaimed deposits held by electric and gas utilities paid to the administrator between July 1, 1998 and the effective date of this act shall be transferred from the Unclaimed Personal Property Trust Fund to the Unclaimed Utility Deposits Trust Fund.]

     c.     All other moneys received as unclaimed property presumed abandoned, the accretions thereon, and the proceeds of sale of unclaimed property shall be deposited into the Unclaimed Personal Property Trust Fund.  Unless the administrator deems it prudent and advisable to do otherwise, 75% of all funds received shall be transferred to the General State Fund.  The remaining portion shall be retained in the trust fund, administered and invested by the State Treasurer, and used to pay claims duly presented and allowed and all expenses and costs incurred by the State of New Jersey.

     [Upon the effective date of this act, all funds and assets of the trust funds established pursuant to N.J.S.2A:37-41, section 8 of P.L.1945, c.199 (C.17:9-25), and N.J.S.17B:31-7, shall be transferred to and become part of the Unclaimed Personal Property Trust Fund established by this act, which shall be responsible for payment of any allowed claims for restitution of unclaimed property paid into those three funds.]

     d.    All moneys received as abandoned child support and the accretions thereon shall be deposited in the Unclaimed Child Support Trust Fund. Each year, the administrator shall pay to the [judiciary] State agency responsible for the disbursement of child support, within 45 days of the receipt of such funds, the federal government's Title IV-D share of the abandoned child support [received from the Probation Division of the Superior Court]In addition, the administrator shall pay from the State’s share of abandoned child support to the State agency responsible for child support disbursements, an amount, which shall not exceed 75% of the Unclaimed Child Support Trust Fund’s balance in any fiscal year, as certified by the responsible agency, that is needed to balance unpaid receivables resulting from federal income tax refund offset reversals and the child support disbursement process where the full recovery of such debts has been unsuccessful.  The remaining portions shall be retained in the trust fund, administered and invested by the State Treasurer, and used to pay claims duly presented and allowed and all expenses and costs incurred by the State of New Jersey. If the Unclaimed Child Support Trust Fund is insufficient to pay specific claims [against a county], the administrator shall report the fact to the [judiciary] State agency responsible for child support disbursements and the unpaid claim shall become an affirmative obligation of [the judiciary] that agency.

     [Upon the effective date of P.L.1995, c.115, any abandoned child support paid to the administrator between April 18, 1989 and that effective date shall be transferred from the Unclaimed Personal Property Trust Fund to the Unclaimed Child Support Trust Fund.]

     e.     As used in this section:

     (1)   "County deposits" means the proceeds of a judgment received in favor of a minor and placed under the control of a county surrogate or any devise or distribution from an estate paid into the county surrogate's court prior to April 14, 1989; any unclaimed bail and any interest thereon deposited prior to January 1, 1995 and 50% of any unclaimed bail and any interest thereon deposited after January 1,1995;

     (2)   "Abandoned child support" means any payments for the support of a child or a child and the custodial parent paid to the [Probation Division of the Superior Court] the State agency responsible for child support disbursements pursuant to a court order that could not be distributed to the payee or returned to the payor within one year of its receipt;

     (3)   "Title IV-D" means Part D, "Child Support and Establishment of Paternity," of subchapter IV of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 651 et seq.) under which states receive partial federal reimbursement of their administrative expenses for establishing paternity and collecting child support;

     (4)   "Unclaimed property deposits from electric and gas utilities" means any unclaimed deposits held by electric and gas utilities in accordance with the requirements of R.S.46:30B-29 and any unclaimed stock and dividends of electric and gas utilities in accordance with the requirements of R.S.46:30B-31 and any unclaimed wages of electric and gas utilities in accordance with the requirements of R.S.46:30B-44 and any other unclaimed property of electric and gas utilities in accordance with the requirements of R.S.46:30B-7;

     (5)   “The State agency responsible for child support disbursements” means the Administrative Office of the Courts or the Division of Family Development in the Department of Human Services, whichever is responsible for providing disbursement services in any given fiscal year.

(cf: P.L. 2000, c.132, s.5)

 

     2.    This act shall take effect immediately.


STATEMENT

 

     This bill addresses an outcome which occurs over time, in which successful appeals to federal income tax refund offsets for child support delinquencies, known as federal income tax refund offset reversals, result in a shortfall in disbursements to the states of federal refund payments.  In New Jersey, the deficit created by this shortfall is currently fixed at nearly two million dollars.

     In order to close the disbursement shortfall gap, this bill would create an additional source of recovery by tapping into the Unclaimed Child Support Trust Fund, (“the UCSTF”), established pursuant to P.L.1989, c.58.

     Under the bill, the administrator of the UCSTF shall pay, from the State’s share of abandoned child support, an amount, not exceeding 75% of the Fund’s balance in any fiscal year, that is needed to balance unpaid receivables resulting from federal income tax refund offset reversals and the child support disbursement process where the full recovery of such debts has been unsuccessful.

     In New Jersey, the State agency responsible for child support disbursements is a function jointly shared by the Administrative Office of the Courts and the Division of Family Development in the Department of Human Services.