Frequently Asked Questions

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

After DSHS approves your good cause not to cooperate with DCS, you may decide that circumstances have changed and that you now want DCS to pursue child support. If you want to withdraw your good cause claim, contact the CSO if you are still receiving TANF or medical assistance. When the CSO tells DCS that you withdrew your good cause claim, DCS can open your support case and start collecting support.

If you do not get TANF or medical assistance, you may contact DCS and complete an application for child support services. You can download the child support application online, complete it, sign it, and then send it to DCS.

When you no longer get TANF and medical assistance, you do not have to return to the CSO to withdraw your good cause claim to get DCS to start collecting child support. If the DCS worker tells you to go to the CSO, explain that because you are no longer on TANF or medical assistance, the CSO does not have to get involved. If the DCS worker insists that you have to return to the CSO, ask to talk to another staff person.

Remember, while your good cause claim was in effect, it did not stop the child support debt owed by the other parent from growing. If there is a support order, the amount of support owed each month continued to add up the entire period of time good cause was in effect.

When good cause ends, DCS will send the other parent notice of the debt owed. Think about how the other parent is going to react to receiving notice of this debt from DCS. This is an important part of ongoing safety planning for survivors faced with this type of situation.

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.

There are no "magic words" that you must use to claim good cause not to cooperate with DCS. However, different people may use different words to talk about the same thing.

Make sure the CSO worker knows you are afraid that DCS efforts to establish or collect child support may be dangerous for you or your children. Try to use the phrase "good cause not to cooperate with DCS," or "child support good cause." That way, you can know you clearly made your point that you are worried about how your abuser may react when DCS tries to collect child support.

Employers are required to report the following employees within 20 days of hire or rehire:

New Employees: Employers must report all employees who reside or work in the State of Washington to whom the employer anticipates paying earnings. Employees should be reported even if they work only one day and are terminated (prior to the employer fulfilling the new hire reporting requirement).

Rehired or Recalled Employees: Employers must report an employee who returns to work after a 60-day period of non-work. This includes employees who return to work after being laid off, furloughed, separated, granted a leave without pay, or terminated from employment.

Temporary Employees: Temporary agencies are responsible for reporting any employee who they hire to report for an assignment. Employees need to be reported only once; they do not need to be resubmitted each time they
report to a new client. They do need to be reported as a rehire if the worker has a break in service or gap in wages from your company.

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.

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.

No, DCS is unable to accept your check for payment of the fee. State law requires the $25 fee to be deducted directly from your child support after the first $500 has been disbursed to you in the federal fiscal year (October 1st through September 30th).


Beginning October 1, 2007, federal law provides that certain child support cases are subject to a $25 fee each year. Washington law provides that this fee will be paid by the custodial parent. The $25 fee will be withheld from child support payments that are made on the case, but only after $500 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 $25 fee please refer to the following links, or call the KIDS general information line at 1-800-442-KIDS.

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.

Either party to a child support order can ask DCS to release the address of the other party. This request must be in writing and must be for a reason specified by law. DCS has a form which a party can use to ask for the address.

If DCS records have information that makes them believe release of the address may be harmful for the parent whose address is requested, DCS will deny the request, and notify that parent.

If DCS records do not have information that would make them deny the request, DCS handles the request based on the status of the person whose address is requested.

  • When the noncustodial parent asks for the address of the custodial parent, DCS sends a notice to the custodial parent about the request. The custodial parent has 30 days to:
    • Allow release of the address,
    • Ask for an administrative hearing on the issue of disclosure, 
    • Give DCS a court order stopping DCS from releasing the address.

      Sometimes the evidence given with the hearing request allows DCS to deny the request for disclosure.

      If DCS does not get a response from the custodial parent, they release the address after the 30 days expires.This is a very good reason to read all your mail from DCS or DSHS.

  • When the custodial parent asks for the noncustodial parent's address, DCS releases the address without notice to the noncustodial parent unless the noncustodial parent previously asked DCS to send them a notice before releasing their address information.
    • If the noncustodial parent told DCS they have concerns about releasing their address information, DCS follows the same notice procedure it does for a request for the custodial parent's address.

For information on the Secretary of State's Address Confidentiality Program and to see if that program can help you, talk to your domestic violence advocate.

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.