Child Support
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Child Support


Revised May 6, 2014



Purpose: This chapter provides information and instructions on the assignment of support rights to the State. It includes the requirement to cooperate with the Division of Child Support (DCS) as a condition of eligibility for TANF and SFA.

WAC 388-422-0005What happens to my child and spousal support when I get public assistance?
WAC 388-422-0010Do I have to cooperate with the division of child support (DCS)?
WAC 388-422-0020What if you are afraid that cooperating with the division of child support (DCS) may be dangerous for you or the child in your care?
WAC 388-422-0030What happens if my support is more than my TANF or SFA cash benefit?

WAC 388-422-0005

WAC 388-422-0005

Effective October 1, 2013

WAC 388-422-0005 What happens to my child and spousal support when I get public assistance?

  1. The following definitions apply to this chapter:

(a) "We" means the department of social and health services. 

(b) "You" means a person applying for or getting benefits from us.

(c) "Benefits" means TANF or SFA cash assistance.

(d) "Support" means the money paid to meet a support order whether it is called child support, spousal support, alimony, maintenance, or medical support.

(e) "Medical support" means either or both:

i.  The set dollar amount for health care costs in a support order; or

ii. Health insurance coverage for a dependent child.

(f) "Assistance unit" or "AU" means the group of people who live together and whose income and resources we count to decide your eligibility for benefits and the amount of those benefits.

2.  When you apply for TANF or SFA cash benefits, you permanently assign to the state your current cash support for the months you get assistance. If you applied for TANF or SFA cash benefits before October 1, 2008, support for months before you begin receiving assistance (also called "arrears" under WAC 388-14A-2036) is temporarily assigned to the state. For more information about permanently and temporarily assigned support see:

(a) Permanently assigned arrears,  WAC 388-14A-2037.

(b) Temporarily assigned arrears,  WAC 388-14A-2038.

3.   When you receive TANF or SFA cash benefits, DCS will open up a full support enforcement services case for you.  "Full support enforcement services" is defined in WAC 388-14A-1020.

4.  You assign your rights to cash support when your application for benefits is approved by the department.

5.  If you have a good reason WAC 388-422-0020 DCS may not be able to establish or collect child support  WAC 388-14A-2060.

6. If you receive any support payments before you assign your rights to support, we count this as unearned income to your AU WAC 388-450-0025.

7. If you receive any direct support payments during the month you apply, you must report these payments and may count them as unearned income in determining your eligibility for benefits. 

8. If you keep any support payments you receive after you assign your rights to support, DCS may collect this money from you  WAC 388-14A-5505.

This is a reprint of the official rule as published by the Office of the Code Reviser. If there are previous versions of this rule, they can be found using the Legislative Search page.

CLARIFYING INFORMATION

Child Support Requirements

  1. For TANF and SFA eligibility, a client assigns all rights to support, including child support, child care, and spousal maintenance for each person applying for or getting TANF / SFA.
  2. If a client retains support payments received after assignment is made, a debt is incurred with DCS.
  3. When a child receives TANF or SFA, DCS will open up a full support enforcement services case for that child unless the department grants good cause not to cooperate.  DCS will establish and enforce child support and medical support obligations on these cases.  A client whose child receives TANF or SFA does not have the option to request that DCS only take certain actions on a case. 

WORKER RESPONSIBILITIES

How do I complete child support referrals? 

 

  1. Noncustodial parent (NCP) information for TANF and SFA applications is entered in ACES on the NCPS screen. The ACES Manual provides information about completing the NonCustodial Parent Screen (NCPS) and processing the case in ACES.
  2. The Division of Child Support (DCS) referral (SEMS Quick Referral) is generated by the ACES NCPS. The worker should collect and enter as much information as possible on the NCPS screen to give DCS appropriate data when attempting to establish paternity or collect support. 
  3. SEMS Quick Cash (QC) is used to check for child support when screening clients for child support income or payments and to send comments to DCS using the freeform text option. SEMS QC can be found at the SEMS website (only authorized DSHS staff can enter this website).
  4. If a client receives a support payment from any party other than DCS after assignment is completed, notify DCS.
  5. Support payments received by the client prior to assignment are treated as unearned income.

NOTE:

See Treatment of Income Chart and Child Support Matrix for details on how to treat and code child support income.


WAC 388-422-0010

WAC 388-422-0010

Effective October 1, 2013

WAC 388-422-0010 Do I have to cooperate with the division of child support (DCS)?

  1. When you get benefits, you must cooperate with DCS as required to establish or collect child support, unless you have a good reason for not cooperating. 

  2. DCS defines what cooperating with them to establish or collect child support means in WAC 388-14A-2040.

  3. If you are a two-parent household, you and the other parent must help DCS establish paternity for each child in your AU, if necessary.

  4. DCS determines whether you are cooperating with them. See WAC 388-14A-2041 (1) for reasons why DCS might determine that you are not cooperating.

  5. If you get TANF or SFA and do not have a good reason for not cooperating with DCS, we reduce your cash benefits by twenty-five percent.

  6. If you are afraid that cooperating with DCS may be dangerous for you or a child in your care, see WAC 388-14A-2045 for a definition of what a good reason to not cooperate with DCS is. We also call this "good cause."

This is a reprint of the official rule as published by the Office of the Code Reviser. If there are previous versions of this rule, they can be found using the Legislative Search page.

CLARIFYING INFORMATION

Cooperation

  1. Explain to the client that they have assigned the support rights for each child applying for or getting TANF / SFA by signing the application, and that unless the Social Service Specialist (SSS) determines that good cause for noncooperation exists, they must cooperate with DCS. DCS will provide full support enforcement services which may include enforcement of the noncustodial parent's (NCP) obligation to provide health insurance and contribute his/her share of uninsured medical expenses for the child(ren). If there is an existing order for spousal maintenance owed to the client. DCS will also enforce that order.
  2. At the interview, have the parent or caretaker relative complete a DSHS 18-334, Your Options for Child Support Collection while receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) on each noncustodial parent (NCP) of each child in the TANF/SFA assistance unit, indicating whether or not cooperating with DCS may be dangerous for the applicant or the child. If the interview is done by phone, code each NCPS screen and document for each NCP whether the custodial parent or caretaker (CP) states that it is safe for DCS to collect or asks that we determine good cause for noncooperation. Mail a General Correspondence Letter (0050-01) with the 18-334(s) and request that the 18-334(s) be completed, signed and returned. Do not pend the TANF application for the 18-334(s).
  3. Both parents in a two-parent household must help DCS establish paternity for each child in the assistance unit.
  4. For unmarried, two-parent TANF applicants where the father is not named on the child's birth certificate, give the mother and alleged father the pamphlet titled, "Establishing Parentage for Your Child's Sake...  What Every Parent Should Know", DSHS 22-586(X). Encourage them to sign a notarized Paternity Acknowledgment, DOH/CHS 021 in the CSO. If the parents choose not to sign the Paternity Acknowledgement, explain to them that the father will be referred to DCS for paternity establishment and they both will be required to cooperate with DCS unless good cause exists.
  5. When good cause has been claimed verbally or in writing and the department's decision is pending, the parent/caretaker relative is not required to cooperate with DCS. If good cause is claimed during a phone interview, do not wait for the returned 18-334(s) before doing a referral to the SSS. For more information, see the good cause section below and the Social Services Manual - Good Cause.
  6. DCS determines when a client is not cooperating with DCS as required and notifies the CSO what the client must do to be considered “cooperating with DCS”.
  7. DCS also determines when a client has resumed cooperation and notifies the CSO. Any non-cooperation sanctions imposed are to be lifted effective the date that DCS declares is the date the client began cooperating.

WAC 388-422-0020

WAC 388-422-0020

Effective October 1, 2013

WAC 388-422-0020 What if you are afraid that cooperating with the division of child support (DCS) may be dangerous for you or the child in your care?

  1. You can be excused from cooperating with DCS when you have a good reason. A good reason not to cooperate is also called good cause. You have a good reason when you can prove that:

    1. Cooperating with DCS would result in serious physical or emotional harm to you or the child in your care. 

    2. Establishing paternity or getting support would be harmful to the child who:

      1. Was conceived as a result of incest or rape; or

      2. Is the subject of legal adoption proceedings pending before a superior court; or

      3. Is the subject of ongoing discussions between you and a public or licensed child placement agency to decide whether you will keep the child or put the child up for adoption. The discussions cannot have gone on for more than three months.

  2. Once you claim good cause for TANF / SFA, you have twenty days to give us the information that proves you have good cause not to cooperate with DCS. This information can include official records, sworn statements, or other information that supports your good cause claim. If you need to, you may ask for:

    1. More time to give proof; or

    2. Help in getting proof.

  3. While we review your good cause claim, DCS does not take any action to establish or enforce support on your case.

  4. You have the right to:

    1. Be told of your right to claim good cause for not cooperating with DCS;

    2. Get benefits while we are deciding your good cause claim, as long as you have given the proof needed to make a decision;

    3. Get a decision within thirty days from the date you made your good cause claim, as long as you have given the proof needed to make a decision within twenty days; and

    4. Get information about how to request a fair hearing if we deny your good cause claim.

  5. If we approve your good cause claim, we periodically review the claim depending on your circumstances.

  6. To see what DCS does when good cause is approved see WAC 388-14A-2060.

This is a reprint of the official rule as published by the Office of the Code Reviser. If there are previous versions of this rule, they can be found using the Legislative Search page.

WORKER RESPONSIBILITIES

Good Cause

See instructions for explaining assignment of child support rights and completing the 18-334(s) in the Clarifying Information, Cooperation section above.

  1. When the CP applying for or receiving TANF/SFA states that it is not safe for DCS to provide full collection services (which may include collection of medical support), this is a request for a good cause determination.
  2. If a parent already receiving TANF/SFA requests good cause over the telephone or in writing, send a General Correspondence letter with instructions to complete and return the DSHS 18-334.  Do a referral to the SSS for the good cause determination while you wait for receipt of the form.
  3. When a client requests good cause enter an "N" in the IV-D cooperation field, a “Y” in the good cause indicator field, the appropriate code in the reason field, and a “CP” (claim pending) in the status field on the NCPS of the NCP that the CP (custodial parent) states may cause harm.
  4. After entering the NCPS information, refer the parent/caretaker to the SSS who will make the good cause determination. If good cause is claimed verbally or in any way other than by 18-334, do not wait for the returned 18-334(s) before doing a referral to the SSS.
  5. If the client terminates TANF/SFA before the good cause determination is completed, the good cause determination must still be done.
  6. When good cause has been approved or denied by the SSS, replace the “CP” (claim pending) with the appropriate code. Please refer to the <F1> Help for the appropriate valid values.
  7. If a client begins to cooperate with DCS and then requests good cause, begin the good cause process as detailed above. Change the reason and status fields to the appropriate code when the determination is pending and again when it is approved or denied.
  8. DCS gets notified in the overnight batch process (e-Referral) when changes have been made to the NCPS.

For more information see the Social Services Manual - Good Cause


NOTE:

When good cause has been claimed and the department's decision is pending, the parent/caretaker relative is not required to cooperate with DCS.


WAC 388-422-0030
WAC 388-422-0030

Effective October 1, 2013

WAC 388-422-0030 What happens if my support is more than my TANF or SFA cash benefit?

  1. If DCS collects current support that is more than your TANF or SFA cash benefit for two months in a row, your cash benefit stops at the end of the third month.

  2. You may be able to get continued food assistance benefits. 

  3. You can read WAC 388-310-0800  to see what kinds of support services you may be able to get.

This is a reprint of the official rule as published by the Office of the Code Reviser. If there are previous versions of this rule, they can be found using the Legislative Search page.

WORKER RESPONSIBILITIES

A TANF grant will automatically close after the second consecutive month that child support collections exceed the grant payment amount unless there are optional members in a Consolidated Assistance Unit.  For instruction about how to close these cases, go to ACES Procedures.  See link below.


ACES PROCEDURES

See Close an Assistance Unit - Close TANF as the Client Has Received Direct Support Above the Grant Standard Two Months in a Row
Modification Date: May 6, 2014