How does DCS determine what income of the parents to use?

  • 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).