Frequently Asked Questions

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

  • You can't give DCS more than 50% of the employee's net disposable income each payday.
  • If the withhold amount exceeds 50%, just send in 50%.
  • If this is the first time you are withholding from this employee, use the Answer to the OWI to tell DCS that you can't withhold the full amount of the OWI this payday.
  • Remember, the OWI gives you a monthly amount to withhold. Once you reach that amount, you can stop withholding for the month.

  • US Mail Payment Address
    • Washington State Support Registry
      PO Box 45868
      Olympia, WA 98504-5868

The employee may contest the withholding under the Notice, based on a mistake of fact, by contacting DCS. The employer must continue to withhold the premiums until notified by DCS to discontinue withholding.

The employer has an obligation to comply with the Notice until they receive a Release terminating the medical withholding. The employee should contact DCS immediately and provide proof of coverage.

The plan administrator or employer may complete the Washington State Addendum to Box 2 of Part B - Plan Administrator Response or provide any preprinted information that provides the insurance information. DCS needs the insurance company name, address, telephone number, and the employee's policy or member number, and group number. For federal audit purposes, DCS must have the employee's insurance information in the DCS case files.

DCS uses a Conference Board to resolve grievances when an administrative hearing is unavailable. Child support laws are very complex and sometimes inflexible. If you feel aggrieved by a DCS action or dissatisfied with an employee, please read the following. It may explain why DCS took an action on your case.

Federal law requires that some actions be taken on child support cases without the involvement of Support Enforcement Officers. These "automated actions" may include IRS certification, credit bureau reporting, and passport denial. Federal law requires that DCS file a lien on all back support debts. Support orders must contain immediate wage withholding language. DCS must initiate immediate wage withholding no later than 3 days after receiving the support order. If the support order requires a delinquency before enforcement, DCS must initiate income withholding no later than 15 days from date the payment was due.


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.

  • A Medical support obligation includes the following:
    • Health insurance coverage, and
    • Cash medical support (RCW 26.09.105), which consists of:
      • A parent's monthly payment toward the premium paid for coverage by either the other parent or the state, which represents the obligated parent's proportionate share of the premium paid, but not more than twenty-five percent of the obligated parent's basic support obligation; and
      • A parent's proportionate share of uninsured medical expenses.
  • Under appropriate circumstances, the order may excuse one parent from the responsibility to provide health insurance coverage or the monthly payment toward the premium.
  • The order must always require both parents to contribute their proportionate shares of uninsured medical expenses.

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).

A Payment Services Only (PSO) case is a case which is set up when a child support order is entered that requires all child support payments be made to the Washington State Support Registry (WSSR). No collection actions will be taken to enforce the order. A PSO case is only set up to process voluntary payments and provide a permanent record of payments made through our system.

Once a refugee is granted permission to come to the U.S. and granted a legal immigration status, voluntary resettlement agencies called "VOLAG's" are contracted for initial resettlement. The VOLAG is responsible for meeting and picking up the refugee at the airport; finding a place to live; and helping with basic necessities and cultural orientation within the first 90 days of the refugee being in the U.S. Click here for a list of the VOLAG's that resettle refugees in Washington State.

An Administrative Hearing is a process that can be initiated any time a client disagrees with an action taken by the Department. Some examples of hearing issues include but are not limited to; terminations, reductions in benefits, assignment of a protective payee, overpayments or denial of benefits. A hearing can be requested in person, by phone, or in writing using Request for Hearing (DSHS Form 05-013). If you need to cancel your Administrative Hearing you may use Fair Hearing Withdrawal (DSHS Form 02-528).

If you receive cash or food assistance, you will be issued an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) Card. This card is also called a "Quest Card". You use this card like a debit card to purchase items at stores. You will need to know your 4 digit PIN (Personal Identification Number) to use your card. You will be given a detailed booklet describing how to use your card when you are approved for benefits. Follow this link for more information: EBT - Make Getting Benefits Easier.

Child Support is money which an absent parent is ordered to pay on a regular basis to help support the cost of raising his or her child.

Human Trafficking is a form of modern day slavery. It includes the recruitment, transportation, or sales of persons for labor. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 defines severe forms of trafficking as:

  • Sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; or
  • The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.

Anyone can be a victim of human trafficking. Traffickers use force, fraud and coercion to compel women, men, and children to engage in commercial sex or forced labor. Many victims trafficked into the U.S. do not speak and understand English and are therefore isolated and unable to communicate with service providers, law enforcement, and others who might be able to help them.

Noncompliance is the failure of a person, business, or other entity to take action as required by an inquiry, subpoena, or income-withholding instrument issued by any state's child support enforcement agency.

Noncompliance is the failure to:

  • Respond to an inquiry from a child support enforcement agency.

  • Comply with a subpoena issued by a child support enforcement agency.

  • Return the Answer to an income-withholding instrument or notice of enrollment.

  • Withhold support required under a lien or an income-withholding instrument. The party is liable for either the amount that should have been withheld, or for the debt amount on an Order to Withhold and Deliver, whichever is less.

  • Remit withheld support monies to the child support enforcement agency.

  • Enroll children in an available medical plan required under a Notice of Enrollment.

  • Report a new hired employee.


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 uses an informal proceeding called a conference board to resolve customer complaints or grievances.

  • If you feel aggrieved by a DCS action or dissatisfied with an employee, first contact your support enforcement officer (SEO).
  • If you can't resolve the issue, you can request a conference board.

For more information, see the rules governing conference boards in WAC 388-14A-6400. In addition, DCS has a brochure entitled Child Support Conference Boards. If you have trouble downloading or printing the brochure, you may obtain one from your local DCS office.


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).

Once a final administrative child support order is entered, the current child support and health insurance and medical requirements continue each month until one of the following occurs:

  • A state or tribal court order supersedes the order.
  • The order is modified under WAC 388-14A-3925. The noncustodial parent, custodial parent, physical custodian, or DCS may petition for modification of a child support order.
  • The later of a child's 18th birthday or graduation from a secondary school program or the same level of vocational or technical training, if the child is a full-time student and has not reached age nineteen (19). If the child will not graduate by his or her 19th birthday, child support stops at the end of the month containing the child's 19th birthday.
  • A child is emancipated, marries, or becomes a member of the United States armed forces.
  • A child or the noncustodial parent dies.
  • The parties to the order marry or remarry each other, as provided in WAC 388-14A-3100(3).

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).

Federal Law

42 U.S.C. 654(6)(B)(ii)

State of Washington Law


IMPORTANT NOTICE TO CUSTODIANS RECEIVING IV-D CHILD SUPPORT SERVICES:

Beginning October 1, 2019, the annual fee for services increases from $25 to $35. Washington law provides that the custodial parent pays this fee. The $35 fee will be withheld from child support payments that are made on the case, but only after $550 in child support has been disbursed to the family between October 1 and September 30 (the federal fiscal year), and only if the custodial parent has never received TANF, Tribal TANF or AFDC on behalf of a child.

If you have questions, or would like additional information about the $35 fee please refer to the following links, or call the KIDS general information line at 1-800-442-KIDS.

The Notice and Finding of Financial Responsibility (NFFR) is a notice that the Division of Child Support (DCS) uses to establish an administrative child support obligation. This page provides information about the Notice and Finding of Financial Responsibility. If you received a NFFR and still have questions after reading the information below, contact the Division of Child Support (DCS) at the phone numbers listed on the last page of the notice you received. If you are not sure which DCS office handles your case, call the KIDS line at 1-800-442-KIDS (5437).

In the state of Washington, the Office of Fraud and Accountability has delegated authority to conduct investigations related to allegations of fraud within programs administered by the Department of Social and Health Services. Investigations focus on Welfare eligibility issues and Vendor Fraud. Investigators coordinate with staff at the Community Services Offices statewide; with county prosecutors; and with local, state, federal, and international law enforcement agencies when necessary.


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.

When the employee's principal place of employment is Washington State, the priority of withholding is current support first, the health insurance premium second, and past-due support last. When the employee's principal place of employment is not Washington State, the employer will have to contact the child support agency in that state for priority information.

The Refugee Act of 1980 created The Federal Refugee Resettlement Program to provide for the effective resettlement of refugees and to assist them to achieve economic self-sufficiency as quickly as possible after arrival in the U.S. Title IV, Chapter 2 of the Immigration and Nationality Act contains the provisions of the Refugee Act.