Garnishments and Other Notices

“I received a notice that an employee needs to provide insurance for a dependent. What do I do with this?”

There was a law enacted years ago with the nickname “deadbeat dad law.” The law’s primary use is to help collect child support and/or provide healthcare for dependents. Once an agency knows you’ve hired someone on their list, they send out paperwork requiring you to help them.

A few things to remember:

  • Governmental agencies always mail everything. They don’t call and they don’t email. If it didn’t come in the mail, question what you received.
  • You want to comply with this request as soon as possible because there is a deadline.
  • You absolutely must do what the notice says, even when the employee tries to tell you the situation has changed. The only time you do something else is when you have received (in the mail) an updated notice. Meanwhile, tell the employee you are legally required to do what the notice says.

There are always very specific instructions provided on every type of notice but the package you receive can be overwhelming because they often send you multiple copies. Give one copy to the employee right away. Pull one copy for yourself so you can follow the instructions. You will have to complete parts of the document and return it to the agency. If you’re really stumped, the notice will include a phone number and name of the person handling this case and you can call them for help in complying.

If you received a garnishment, it will tell you how to calculate the amount to deduct from the employee’s paycheck and where to send it. This must be done every pay period until the total amount they cite has been paid. In addition to being used to collect back child support, garnishments are also used by the IRS to collect back taxes. Talk with your payroll provider to find out if they will send the money to the agency or if you need to do it.

If you received a notice regarding a child’s healthcare, it’s probably a National Medical Support Notice (NMSN). This notice also requires you to provide information about your insurance plan. If your employee did not enroll in your insurance, the NMSN will require you to enroll both your employee and their dependent.

Most notices can be a bit confusing and scary at first but you’ll do fine if you just stop and read the document. Unlike so much other paperwork we receive from governmental agencies, they actually try to make it fairly easy to comply.

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