Frequently Asked Questions

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

In some cases, you have the right to ask for an administrative hearing (adjudicative proceeding) if you disagree with an action taken by DCS. The papers you get will tell you if you can ask for a hearing. You should ask for a hearing right away, since there is a limited time to do so.

You may ask to speak with a lead worker or supervisor if you are unable to resolve things with the worker handling your case.

Conference Board

You may ask for a Conference Board if you disagree with any action taken by DCS. You must first try to resolve the disagreement with staff at the DCS office nearest you. A Conference Board is an informal way to resolve disputes related to how DCS works your case. Sometimes a Conference Board can also provide relief from the effects of collection action or from a support debt. A Conference Board may review the records on your case or may hold a meeting in person or by phone if more information is needed. A Conference Board decision is issued in writing.

A Brochure about Conference Boards is available.

Anyone can apply for child support. You do not have to get TANF or medical assistance to get services from DCS. If you have concerns about whether child support services may lead to harm for you or your children, contact DCS at any time.

Talk with a support enforcement officer about your safety options, which could include closing your case. If you do not get public assistance, you may choose to close your case at any time, for any reason.

DCS has developed a brochure to help you modify a child support order on your own. The brochure provides you with information on resources.
If you need help finding income information for the other party, you may use the Request for Income Information form to ask DCS if we have income information for the other party.

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

DCS has developed a brochure to help you modify a child support order on your own. The brochure provides you with information on resources.

If you need help finding income information for the other party, you may use the Request for Income Information form to ask DCS if we have income information for the other party.

Signing the Acknowledgment of Parentage is voluntary for both parents. The acknowledgment is valid only after both parents have signed.

  • 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

A presumed parent (spouse or ex-spouse) or alleged genetic parent completes a Denial of Parentage. When the denial is filed with an Acknowledgment of Parentage, it allows the person denying parentage to not be listed on the birth certificate.


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.

Employee Information:
Social Security Number (SSN)
Date of Birth
Date of Hire

Employer Information:
Business Name
Business Address
Federal Employer ID Number (FEIN)

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.

You must have a child support case and help DCS when you get TANF or medical assistance. But, if you are victim of domestic violence and you believe receiving child support services will put you or your child in danger, you may have a good reason why you do not want child support services.

DSHS calls this reason "good cause" or "good cause not to cooperate with DCS."

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.