Frequently Asked Questions

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

This change back to how DCS applied tax-refund offset collections before October 2008 is based on the budget decisions made by the Washington State Legislature during the 2010 session.


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.

Per federal law, 22 CFR 52.70(a)(8), passports are denied and/or revoked for any individual who is more than $2500 in arrears in their child support obligation.

The noncustodial parent is notified in the IRS pre-offset notice that the Department of State (DOS) through the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) will deny issuance or renewal of their passport when their child support debt reaches $2500.

Once the threshold of $2500 has been reached, the denial/revocation will remain in place until the debt is paid in full or is exempted by DCS. NOTE: Effective October 1, 2006 the threshold for passport denial/revocation will be lowered to $2500.


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.

Federal law now requires child support agencies to collect a $25 fee in certain "never-assistance" cases beginning October 1st. This is part of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 passed by Congress and signed by the President. It is an effort by Congress to reduce the federal cost of funding state child support programs. The Washington law is found in Section 5 of SSB 5244 (Chapter 143, Laws of 2007).


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

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.

No collection action will be taken on a PSO case. Collection actions, including payroll deductions, license suspensions, bank freezes, liens, credit bureau reporting, IRS intercepts and contempt proceedings will only be taken on full enforcement cases.

When DCS establishes a support order, DCS always includes a medical support provision requiring the non-custodial parent and custodial parent to provide medical insurance when available through an employer or union.

  • If you have a support order with a medical support provision, DCS may enforce medical support along with child support. You must apply for DCS services if you want DCS to enforce the other parent's medical support obligation.
  • If your support order does not require medical support, DCS may be able to help you get that order modified to include an insurance requirement. Please note: A request to add a requirement for the custodial parent to provide health insurance coverage, or to add a provision in the order to include the custodial parent's share of medical expenses, is not by itself a sufficient basis for modification of the order.

DCS may collect unreimbursed medical expenses that meet certain threshold and time limit requirements. DCS does not collect unreimbursed medical expenses owed to a third party.

Your case will qualify for a $25 fee each year when at least $500 is disbursed in your case between October 1st and September 30th, but only if you have never received TANF, Tribal TANF, or AFDC as a custodian of a child.


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

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.

Yes, federal law requires that the noncustodial parent receive full credit for the support payment made even though a fee may be deducted from the support that you receive. (For example, if $500 has already been sent to the custodian and the next payment made is $100, the noncustodial parent will receive credit for a payment of $100, but the custodian will receive only $75).


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

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.