Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to DSHS Economic Services Administration's Frequently Asked Questions!

No. Both refugees and asylees are legally admitted to the U.S. because of the fear of persecution in their home country. The difference is that refugees are given admission before entry in to the U.S., whereas asylees arrive in the U.S. before they claim asylum and are given legal permission to stay.

No, a modification review will only be done on a full enforcement case.

The NFFR Can Become a Final Support Order by Operation of Law

Do not ignore the notice you received! It could become a legal order for child support which DCS will enforce.

  • If you or the other party to this case do not file a timely objection, the NFFR will become a final, enforceable administrative child support order. Once the order is final, DCS may enforce the amounts stated in the notice at any time without any further notice to you.
  • If either party files a timely objection, DCS cannot enforce the terms of the notice until a final order as defined in this section is entered. To be timely, you must ask for a hearing or object to the notice within 20 days (60 days if you live outside of Washington).
  • Refer to WAC 388-14A-3110 for more details.

If you still have questions, contact your support enforcement officer at the phone number listed on the last page of the notice you received. If you are not sure which office handles your case, call the KIDS line at 1-800-442-KIDS (5437).

If you believe that helping child support services may hurt you or your children, you can claim that you have a good reason, also known as "good cause" not to cooperate. You use this "good cause" process to explain why you fear cooperating with DCS may be dangerous. For additional information on this subject, click here

No. For security reasons you cannot change your FEIN in this program. If you get a new FEIN simply use your new number to log in to the system. The program will prompt you to create a new Company Profile using your new number.

Not through this agency. Welfare fraud needs to be reported in the state where it was committed. The Office of Fraud and Accountability only investigates Welfare Fraud in Washington State.

To report fraud occurring in another state, please call that state's Information.

Or, visit the website of the United Council on Welfare Fraud - UCOWF. UCOWF is an international organization of approximately 2,000 individuals from the United States and Canada who have combined their efforts to fight fraud, waste, and abuse in social service programs. Their primary focus is toward the detection, elimination, and prosecution of those who fraudulently obtain government benefits.

At the UCOWF website, you may find additional information on Welfare Fraud and links to report fraud to other states.


Washington State Welfare Fraud Hotline: 1-800-562-6906

OFA investigates Welfare Fraud in the state of Washington. The word Welfare is used to include: Public Assistance programs and benefits; food stamps; Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); Quest card, which is used for Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT); and Childcare benefits.

For additional questions or if you are Law Enforcement, you can leave a message, and your call will be returned within 24 hours at 360-664-5505.

Yes! Click here to visit the Child Support Internet Payments Service Web Site and view your payments on-line.


Also please see Notice and Finding of Financial Responsibility in FAQ question topics.

Under federal law, everyone who gets TANF or medical assistance automatically gets child support services and must help the Division of Child Support (DCS) provide those services. DSHS calls this "cooperation."

Your cooperation is needed to:

  • Establish paternity - help identify the father of your child or children.
  • Establish child support orders - give DCS any information you have about where the other parent lives and works, and about their income and assets.
  • Modify child support orders - complete paperwork and provide your income information so DCS can review your current order for needed changes.
  • Enforce child support orders - give DCS any information you have about the other parent, including information about employment, vehicles, assets, and bank accounts.

No. Benefits are provided to people and families in need without obligation. However, if a client has received benefits and is then found to be ineligible, they may be required to pay back the overpayment.


Washington State Welfare Fraud Hotline: 1-800-562-6906

OFA investigates Welfare Fraud in the state of Washington. The word Welfare is used to include: Public Assistance programs and benefits; food stamps; Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); Quest card, which is used for Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT); and Childcare benefits.

For additional questions or if you are Law Enforcement, you can leave a message, and your call will be returned within 24 hours at 360-664-5505.

No. DCS does not represent either parent in a child support action, whether the action takes place in a court or administrative hearing.

You have the right to have an attorney represent you in court or an administrative hearing, if you are able to get one.

For an administrative hearing, you may have anyone you choose represent you.

In either place, you can represent yourself.

If you fear for your safety if you appear for a court or administrative hearing, talk with a DCS official about participating by telephone for the hearing, or being in a separate room from your abuser.

If the noncustodial parent has an IRS refund due, the IRS will withhold all or part of the refund to pay a past-due support debt. Only the state where you applied for services can ask the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to attach a tax refund.

DCS uses the following criteria for IRS refund tax offset:

  • The noncustodial parent's correct Social Security number is on the case record.
  • The past-due amount owed to you must be $500 or more.
  • The amount must have accrued under a valid support order and DCS must have a copy on file.

If the children ever received public assistance, back support may be owed to the state. The amount owed to the state must equal $150 or more and be three months past due to qualify for tax-refund offset.


Despite recent record improvements in paternity establishment and child support collections, much more needs to be done to ensure that all children born out-of-wedlock have paternity established and that all non-custodial parents provide financial support for their children. Currently, only about one-half of the custodial parents due child support receive full payment. About twenty-five percent receive partial payment and twenty-five percent receive nothing.

In an effort to strengthen and improve state child support enforcement activities, several federal laws were passed, including a national new-hire reporting system. These laws required states to pass uniform interstate child support laws, automate enforcement actions, and provide for tougher noncompliance penalties, such as driver's license revocation.

If the noncustodial parent lives in another state or U.S. territory, DCS can ask the other jurisdiction to establish or enforce a support order. Once the case is sent to another jurisdiction, the other jurisdiction has control over most of the actions taken on the case.

If the non-custodial parent lives in a foreign country, DCS may have an agreement with the country to enforce a child support order. Contact DCS to find out if the country where the noncustodial parent lives has reciprocity with Washington.


Despite recent record improvements in paternity establishment and child support collections, much more needs to be done to ensure that all children born out-of-wedlock have paternity established and that all non-custodial parents provide financial support for their children. Currently, only about one-half of the custodial parents due child support receive full payment. About twenty-five percent receive partial payment and twenty-five percent receive nothing.

In an effort to strengthen and improve state child support enforcement activities, several federal laws were passed, including a national new-hire reporting system. These laws required states to pass uniform interstate child support laws, automate enforcement actions, and provide for tougher noncompliance penalties, such as driver's license revocation.

DCS works with tribal governments to address these cases. DCS and the State Tribal Relations Unit have worked together to negotiate agreements and processes with Indian tribes. Some agreements include referring cases to the tribe or tribal court for the establishment or enforcement of child support. For more information visit the DCS .


Despite recent record improvements in paternity establishment and child support collections, much more needs to be done to ensure that all children born out-of-wedlock have paternity established and that all non-custodial parents provide financial support for their children. Currently, only about one-half of the custodial parents due child support receive full payment. About twenty-five percent receive partial payment and twenty-five percent receive nothing.

In an effort to strengthen and improve state child support enforcement activities, several federal laws were passed, including a national new-hire reporting system. These laws required states to pass uniform interstate child support laws, automate enforcement actions, and provide for tougher noncompliance penalties, such as driver's license revocation.

By the time you open a case with DCS, you may already be involved in a divorce or a paternity action in court. If the court has not yet filed a child support order, DCS can usually establish an administrative child support order.

This can get child support started while you are waiting for the court case to be completed or if you believe that your abuser is using the court system to further abuse or harass you by filing lots of legal papers and prolonging the matter.

When the court enters a child support order, it replaces the administrative order. However, while the court action is pending, DCS can enforce its own administrative child support order.

If you are limited in your ability to read, write, or speak in English, DSHS will provide information about available services to you in your primary language by authorized bilingual workers or by using licensed interpreters and translators. Interpreter services may be conducted in person or over the telephone. Translation of DSHS forms, letters and other printed materials may be given or sent to you.

If you are a current DSHS client, your primary language is the language you have indicated on your application or your eligibility review as the language you wish to communicate in with DSHS.

You can have your concern reviewed by a supervisor or administrator who will respond to your concern as quickly as possible, but no later than 10 days of the date your concern is received. You also have the right to an administrative hearing which can be requested either verbally or in writing. Requesting a review of your case by a supervisor or administrator does not take away your right to have an administrative hearing. In addition to the above options, you can also call Constituent Services with your concerns at 1-800-865-7801 (or TTY at 7-1-1).

If you want to authorize another person or representative to receive records from your child support case, you may print a copy of the Authorization to Disclose Information (DSHS 17-063), fill it out, and send it to your DCS field office. If you want the other person or representative to only be able to discuss your case with DCS (and not ask for copies of records), you may print the Consent (DSHS 14-012), fill it out. And send it to your DCS field office.