Frequently Asked Questions

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

Medicaid funding and services are administered by the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), Health and Recovery Services Administration, except for the nursing home program, which is administered by the Aging and Disability Services Administration.

Medicaid covered services include hospital care, skilled nursing home care, residential adult family care services, and professional services provided by physicians and laboratories. Washington Medicaid also includes hospice, mental health, dental services, and eyeglasses.

Providers include doctors, nurses, dentists, clinics, ambulance and transportation, companies, hospitals, nursing homes, adult family homes, boarding homes, laboratories, pharmacies, home health care providers, and medical equipment suppliers. For more information: Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

There are two types of Medicaid fraud: Medicaid Provider fraud and Medicaid Client fraud.

  • The Office of the Attorney General, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigates Provider Fraud.

To report Medicaid Provider Fraud: Fighting and Reporting Medicaid Fraud


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.


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.

You may report fraud using any one of the following methods:

  • Online - Office of Fraud and Accountability (OFA)
  • Mail: DSHS Welfare Fraud
    P.O. Box 45817
    Olympia, Washington 98504-5817
  • Phone:  1-800-562-6906 - Welfare Fraud Hotline
  • FAX: 1-360-664-0032, Attention: HOTLINE

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.

Some historical information is available to DCSOnline Services users who submit new hire reports on the Internet. View Summary of Previous New Hire Reports provides limited information about reports you submitted online, or that were submitted online for your company. It does not include employee specific information or reports not submitted using DCSOnline Services. The summary report includes:

  • the date and time reported,
  • the reporting method used (Single Report, CSV, or Fixed Width), and
  • the number of new hire records reported, modified, or deleted.

DCS offers several different payment options, so pick the one that works the best for you.

  • You can send in a check to the Washington State Support Registry (WSSR). If you are withholding child support for more than one employee, you can combine all the Payments into one check, as long as you let us know how much you withheld from each employee.
  • You can make Payments over the Internet using the DCS Child Support Internet Payment Service. Go to that web site for a demonstration.
  • You can sign up for Electronic Funds Transfer/Electronic Data Interchange. By using Electronic Funds Transfer/Electronic Data Interchange (EFT/EDI), you can reduce your paperwork, handling costs, and bank charges when sending child support withholding Payments to the Division of Child Support (DCS). EFT/EDI can also reduce the amount of time your staff spends responding to inquiries from DCS about Payments. DCS offers a variety of EFT/EDI options:
  • Repetitive Automated Clearing House (ACH) debit
  • Pay by phone ACH debit
  • PC Modem ACH debit
  • ACH Credit with addenda
  • (NOTE: DCS will accept records in CCD+ or CTX format. Your bank can inform you if these options are available for your business.)

For more information, please review the informational letter about EFT options or call us at 1-800-468-7422.

If you would like to initiate Electronic Funds Transfer with DCS, download the following form:

Employer Authorization Agreement For Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) Of Division of Child Support Payments


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

New users can begin formatting and testing your CSV file:

  1. View the File Specification.
  2. Format your file using the specific requirements.
  3. Add your new hire information to the file.
  4. Use the online CSV File Format Validation tool to check that the file is correctly formatted.

When you are ready to submit your new hire report:

  1. Select Upload Comma Separated Values (CSV) New Hire Report File from the menu.
  2. Use the Browse button to select the file and then click Upload New Hire File.

What happens after I upload the file?

  1. If the file has errors you must correct the errors and upload the file again.
  2. If the file has no errors the page will display a message that we successfully received the report.
  3. The system will email you a receipt of your report after 6 pm (Pacific Time) when it processes all reports for the day.

New users can begin formatting and testing your Fixed Width file:

  1. View the File Specification.
  2. Format your file using the specific requirements.
  3. Add your new hire information to the file.
  4. Use the online Fixed Width File Format Validation Tool to check that the file is correctly formatted.

When you are ready to submit your new hire report:

  1. Select Upload Fixed Width New Hire Report File from the menu.
  2. Use the Browse button to select the file and then click Upload New Hire File.

What happens after I upload the file?

  1. If the file has errors you must correct the errors and upload the file again.
  2. If the file has no errors the page will display a message that we successfully received the report.
  3. The system will email you a receipt of your report after 6 pm (Pacific Time) when it processes all reports for the day.

A noncustodial parent may claim credits for direct payments made to the custodial parent, court clerk, support registry, or another state child support agency prior to receiving a notice from the Division of Child Support.

  • DCS may give credit for verifiable proof of payments such as copies of the front and back of cancelled checks or money orders, or receipts showing that the lawful payee or custodian cashed the checks or received the payments, or documentation verifying direct bank deposits. DCS may consult with the custodial parent before allowing credit.
  • DCS may give credit for proof of "in-kind" payments made prior to service of an administrative notice. "In-kind" payments" are for food, clothing, shelter, or medical expenses only.
  • DCS may not give credit for payments intended as gifts.
  • After DCS serves a NFFR requiring the noncustodial parent to pay through the Washington State Support Registry (WSSR), DCS may not give credit for payments to anyone other than WSSR.

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).

WAC 388-14A-4610

  1. DCS mails a letter to the noncustodial parent's last known mailing address by first class mail before posting an NCP on the site. The letter advises the NCP:

    1. Who cannot be located, to provide DCS with a current address and employer information.

    2. Who owes back support, to:

      1. Pay the back support debt in full; or

      2. Sign a repayment agreement with DCS and make the first payment under that agreement.

  2. If the NCP does not comply within twenty days of the date on the letter, DCS may post the NCP to the site.

  3. If the NCP wishes to dispute the amount of the support debt, the NCP may request a conference board review under WAC 388-14A-6400. Such a request does not stay (stop) DCS from posting the NCP to the site.

  4. If the NCP files a court or administrative action to vacate or modify the support obligation, DCS will stay the posting of the NCP to the site for up to six months. If DCS finds good cause, DCS may extend the stay.

  5. If the NCP enters into a repayment agreement, but then misses a payment under the agreement, DCS may post the NCP to the site without further notice to the NCP.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090, 26.23.120(2). 01-03-089, § 388-14A-4610, filed 1/17/01, effective 2/17/01. Formerly WAC 388-11-330]

DCS tries to collect from out of state noncustodial parents with the help of the other state. We may ask the other state to try license suspension, asset seizure, or other remedies.

When all of these fail, DCS may refer a case to the U.S. Attorney for Federal Criminal Non-support. This is a criminal case referral. Unlike a contempt action, conviction requires evidence "beyond a reasonable doubt" in U.S. Federal Court.

The case must meet certain criteria for DCS Central Operations in Olympia to send the evidence to the U.S. Attorney's office. A case may be brought in either the state where the child resides or in the state where the non-custodial parent lives. In most cases, it is the state where the child resides which refers the case.

  • DCS must be providing full-collection services.
  • The non-custodial parent cannot live in the same state as the child.
  • DCS has exhausted all other collection remedies.
  • At least $5,000 is due in back support.
  • DCS has received no payments in at least six months.
  • DCS has evidence that the non-custodial parent can pay support.

If you would like DCS to consider referral to the U.S. Attorney for Federal Criminal Non-support referral, contact your DCS Support Enforcement Officer or DCS Central Operations.


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.

  • Depending on the circumstances of the case, DCS may try to collect support from a non-wage earning noncustodial parent in a number of ways, including:
  • Suspending driver's, recreational, and occupational licenses.
  • Attaching bank or retirement accounts.
  • Filing liens on real and personal property.
  • Seizing vehicles.
  • Asking the court to find the noncustodial parent in contempt of court.

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 the income of the parents of the children whose support is at issue to calculate the basic support obligation. DCS gathers income information from various sources, including the application materials, the parents' employers, and also from automated sources such as the Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) and the National Directory of New Hires (NDNH).
  • If DCS does not have actual income information for determining the support calculation, DCS then imputes income in the following priority as set out in RCW 26.19.071 and WAC 388-14A-3205:
    1. Full-time earnings at the current rate of pay.
    2. Full-time earnings at the historical rate of pay based upon reliable information, such as ESD data.
    3. Full-time earnings at a past rate of pay if information is incomplete or sporadic.
    4. Full-time earnings at minimum wage if the parent:
      • Has a recent history of minimum wage earnings,
      • Was recently on public assistance, Disability Lifeline assistance, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or disability,
      • Has recently been released from incarceration, or
      • Is a high school student or recent graduate.
    5. Median net monthly income, based on the Approximate Median Net Monthly Income table, which can be found on page six of the Washington State Child Support Schedule booklet.

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).

The Division of Child Support (DCS) distributes support collections within two (2) days of receipt with limited exceptions. DCS uses a mathematical formula by which DCS distributes payments to cases, current support, and arrears.

  • Current support is paid first. If a payment does not equal the total amount owed for all the noncustodial parent's cases, DCS divides the payment proportionately.
  • Once current support for the month is paid, DCS applies amounts over current support to arrears, or past due support.
  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax refund intercept payments are an exception to this rule. DCS must apply these payments first to arrears owed to the state, then arrears owed to the family. DCS may not currently apply IRS tax intercept payments to current support.
    • Before 10/1/08, DCS distributed collections received from the IRS to past due support on certified debt only. DCS did not distribute IRS collections to current support.
    • Between 10/1/08 and 6/30/10, DCS distributed collections received from the IRS to current support first and then to past due support on certified cases only.
    • Beginning 7/1/10, DCS distributes collections received from the IRS to past due support on certified debt only. DCS may not distribute IRS collections to current support.

Note: Past due support payments are also proportioned based on a percent of total.

Custodial parents may receive their child support payments in one of two ways:

  • DCS staff determine if the custodial parent authorized a direct deposit for their child support payments. DCS will send the custodial parent a Direct Deposit verification letter if we have all the required bank information.
  • DCS may enroll the custodial parent in the DCS Card program if the CP does not provide a completed direct deposit application.

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).

Between October 1, 2008, and June 30, 2010, DCS applied IRS tax-refund offset collections to the debt owed to the custodial parent before state debt. During this period, DCS could apply IRS tax-refund offset collections to both current support and arrears. Beginning July 1, 2010, DCS applies tax-refund offset collections to child support obligations as it did before October 1, 2008. This means that DCS will only apply tax-refund offset collections to back support owed, and these collections are always applied first to debt owed to the state.


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 sends the obligated parent's employer or union a National Medical Support Notice. The Notice tells the employer:

To enroll the child in a health plan available to the obligated parent.

The maximum amount the obligated parent can pay for the children's medical insurance under the provisions of the support order.

If the cost of the medical premium exceeds the amount on the Notice, the employer cannot enroll the child. The employer has 20 business days to respond to DCS and forward Part B of the Notice to the Plan Administrator. When DCS receives information about the medical plan, DCS notifies the other parent.

If medical insurance is available, it may require the obligated parent to enroll in the plan in addition to enrolling the child. Under certain circumstances, DCS can require the obligated parent to enroll in the plan.

  • DCS calculates child support obligations under the Washington State Child Support Schedule (WSCSS), found in Chapter 26.19 of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW).
  • If you have received a NFFR, DCS calculated the support obligations based on the WSCSS Worksheets which were attached to the notice.
  • If DCS knew the actual incomes of both parties, we based the support amount on the actual incomes. If DCS did not know the actual incomes of one or both parties, we imputed income as provided in the WSCSS and in the DCS rules under Chapter 388-14A of the Washington Administrative Code (WAC).

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).

When a noncustodial parent has more than one case with DCS, the law tells DCS how to split up a support payment between cases. It's based on a percent-of-total basis.

Current support is paid first. If a payment does not equal the total amount owed for all the noncustodial parent's cases, DCS divides the payment proportionately. Once current support for the month is paid, DCS applies amounts over current support to back support owed.

IRS tax refund intercept payments are an exception to this rule. DCS must apply these payments first to arrears owed to the state, then arrears owed to the family. DCS may not apply IRS tax intercept payments to current support. This process will change effective with IRS payments received by DCS on or after October 1, 2008.

Back support payments are also proportioned based on a percent of total. If you received public assistance in another state that has asked DCS to collect back support, that case will receive a percent of the back support payment. When DCS is providing payment processing services only (PSO) on one of the cases, the non-custodial parent must send payments and indicate that a payment is for the PSO case only. Otherwise, DCS will apply payments proportionately to the non-PSO cases.

When DCS is unable to collect unpaid support through the application of its various administrative remedies (for example, wage withholding, liens against real and personal property, bank seizures, license suspension, etc.) it may refer the unpaid child support order to a Prosecuting Attorney for review and possible filing for judicial enforcement. The responsibility for presenting the case in court lies with the Prosecuting Attorney. Therefore, each Prosecuting Attorney's office sets the criteria the case must meet before accepting the referral from DCS or filing the case in court for judicial action. When a Prosecuting Attorney files a case for judicial enforcement, the prosecutor represents the State of Washington, and does not represent either the CP or NCP.


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.

The Division of Child Support is sending a Notice (DCS Form 18-686) to all custodians who have open child support cases who may potentially be affected by this fee. In addition to this letter, DCS is updating forms, its website, and the KIDS phone line to include information about the new fee.


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.

  • Within 20 business days after the date of the Notice:
    • Check the appropriate box and send the Employer Response to DCS, or call DCS with the appropriate response.
    • Send Part B, Medical Support Notice to Plan Administrator to the office or labor union who administers the health care plan.
  • If you serve as your own plan administrator, return the Plan Administrator Response to DCS within 40 business days after the date of the Notice.

If you have questions about the National Medical Support Notice, you can get help in the following ways: