Release 75: Effective October 1, 2014

Child Support -
C.   Requirement to Cooperate, Noncooperation Penalties and Good Cause


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  1. Requirement to cooperate with the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Division of Child Support (DCS) in obtaining support payments, health care coverage through an absent parent and cash medical support

    Child support for TANF applicants. To be eligible for TANF, caretaker relatives must cooperate (unless good cause exists - see items 3 through 6, below) with DHS and with DCS in establishing paternity and obtaining support payments for all children in the benefit group. (This does not apply to applicants who may be eligible for cash benefits as a two-parent family.)

    Child support for TANF recipients. TANF recipients must also cooperate (unless good cause exists, see items 3 through 6, below) with DHS and DCS in establishing paternity and obtaining support payments for all children in the benefit group. (This does not apply to TANF recipients in the JOBS Plus, SFPSS or Post-TANF programs or those who are a two-parent household.) When a TANF recipient who is required to cooperate does not cooperate (and does not have good cause for the noncooperation), the recipient will be subject to the penalties in item 8 below (CS-C.8) below.

    Client Required To Help Department Obtain Support From Noncustodial Parent; TANF: 461-120-0340(1)

    Cash medical support. To be eligible for all programs except ERDC, SNAP, OHP-CHP and REFM, Medicaid recipients must cooperate (unless good cause exists, see items 3 through 6, below) with DHS and DCS in establishing paternity and obtaining cash medical support for all children in the benefit group.

    Health care coverage through an absent parent. To be eligible for all programs except ERDC, SNAP, OHP-CHP and REFM, the client must cooperate, unless good cause exists (see items 3 through 6, below), in establishing paternity and obtaining health care coverage through an absent parent.

    Client Required To Help Department Obtain Support From Noncustodial Parent; TANF: 461-120-0340
    Clients Required to Obtain Health Care Coverage and Cash Medical Support; GAM,
    OSIPM: 461-120-0345


  2. Evidence of cooperation

    Cooperation with child support, health care coverage through an absent parent and cash medical support exists when the client provides information that DHS and DCS need or request to establish paternity, or to establish, modify or enforce a child support order, for the child(ren) in the TANF or Medicaid benefit group.

    Note:  Medicaid applicants at initial application and Medicaid recipients at redetermination need only sign the application. Do not require completion of a paternity affidavit as a condition of Medicaid eligibility at initial application or at redetermination.

    The client demonstrates cooperation by doing all of the following:

    Client Required To Help Department Obtain Support From Noncustodial Parent; TANF: 461-120-0340


  3. Good cause for failure to cooperate; child support, health care coverage through an absent parent and cash medical support

    A client may claim good cause for not cooperating with DHS and/or DCS to establish paternity or to collect child support, health care coverage through an absent parent and cash medical support.

    Note:  Caretaker relatives of OHP-CHP or REFM children are not required to cooperate witih DCS for cash child support, health care coverage through an absent parent or cash medical support.

    Clients Excused for Good Cause from Compliance with Requirements to Pursue Child Support, Heath Care Coverage,
    and Medical Support: 461-120-0350


  4. Good cause; branch office responsibilities

    The DHS branch office is responsible for informing clients of their right to claim good cause, both when the client applies for assistance and at each redetermination of eligibility. When the client applies for TANF, Medicaid, or OSIPM, and one or both parents of any child in the benefit group are absent from the benefit group, the branch office will:

    Note:  For OHP, this requirement is met by having the client sign the "Oregon Health Plan Rights and Responsibilities" Application for Oregon Health Plan and Healthy Kids (OHP 7210).

    Confidentiality of client's address. Explain to clients that under state law, certain information that is confidential under DHS rules could be released during legal proceedings. For example, the client's home address could be revealed to the noncustodial parent if the address appears in the noncustodial parent's copy of a support order.

    Contact address. If the client does not want their address revealed, determine if there is good cause for not pursuing support per OAR 461-120-0350. If the client does not want to claim good cause but does not want their address known to the noncustodial parent, the client may ask DCS to use a contact address. The contact address must be in Oregon and will be used for child support purposes only. The contact address will only be used once DCS adds the address to the DCS computer system. If the contact address was not requested at the time the child support case was created, the home address may have already been included on child support paperwork sent to the other party on the case or to court.

    If DHS knows the client would like to use a contact address, DHS should notify DCS of this by calling or emailing the appropriate DCS worker.

    Cautions:

    Nondisclosure of information based on a claim of risk. Also tell the client that DCS has further protections available for clients who would cooperate if their personal identifying information will not be revealed. This is known as "claim of risk."

    Advise the client that, before initiating any court proceedings, DCS will notify the client in writing that:

    If the client files a claim of risk request in response to receiving notification from DCS of a forthcoming legal action, DCS will reveal the client's personal identifying information to the court only in the form of sealed documents submitted to the court. These documents do not become "Public Record."

    Case Management Opportunity

    If the client claims "good cause" due to a domestic violence situation, discuss with the client any crisis intervention or domestic violence counseling services that may be locally available.

    Confidentiality -- Finding of Risk and Order for Nondisclosure of Information: 137-055-1160
    Clients Excused for Good Cause from Compliance with Requirements to Pursue Child Support, Heath Care Coverage,
    and Medical Support: 461-120-0350


  5. Evidence of good cause; child support, health care coverage through an absent parent and cash medical support

    Evidence of good cause for noncooperation with support includes, but is not limited to:


  6. Encouraging cooperation

    To encourage clients to cooperate, emphasize these points:


  7. Determining noncooperation with support

    DHS or DCS may determine if a client is not cooperating with support. DCS must advise DHS whenever they determine noncooperation. DHS shall then:


  8. Penalties for noncooperation; child support

    The penalties for failure to cooperate with support requirements are:

    Note:  Before applying the 100 percent level of penalty, use the existing grant termination staffing process to assess the family's situation. When appropriate, involve community partners in the family assessment.
    Note:  There is no requirement to cooperate with child support (and no penalties for noncooperation), for clients in the JOBS Plus, SFPSS or Post-TANF programs or who are a two-parent family.

    Client Required To Help Department Obtain Support From Noncustodial Parent; TANF: 461-120-0340(4)


  9. Penalties for noncooperation; health care coverage through an absent parent and cash medical support

    The penalty for failure to cooperate with health care coverage through an absent parent or cash medical support is:

    Client Required To Help Department Obtain Support From Noncustodial Parent; TANF: 461-120-0340(4)
    Clients Required to Obtain Health Care Coverage and Cash Medical Support; GAM, OSIPM: 461-120-0345(3)


  10. Imposing a support disqualification

    When it has been determined that it is appropriate to impose a disqualification for noncooperation with support, the worker codes the person line on CMUP as follows:

    1. Type the case descriptor and matching N/R code on the disqualified person’s line. The N/R END must be the current or next month/year. The N/R END cannot be continuous (C). The child support disqualification codes are CS1, CS2, CS3 and CS4.
    2. Type in the E MEDL code and date.
    3. The system will reduce the net benefit by the appropriate percentage.

    Note:  The system will impose only one penalty per case. If a case has more than one child support disqualification, the system will impose the higher penalty only.

    The disqualification will continue until the N/R TYPE is removed. The system will automatically move the disqualifications up through the progressive steps, including CS4.

    Note:  The system uses the N/R date to help it determine whether to move the disqualification to the next month. When the system does the EOM processing, if the date is the current month, the system will move the N/R to the next CS code and advance the date. If the N/R date is already for the next month, this tells the system the disqualification is just starting and the system does not change the CS code or date.

    Medical-only clients: For clients who are medical only, use the CSM case descriptor and the E MEDL ELIG code.

    Pregnant clients: Clients who are pregnant can still get medical coverage:

    The disqualification remains active as long as the N/R code is on the person’s record. (To end a support disqualification, see #11 below.)


  11. Ending support penalties when client cooperates

    End the support noncooperation penalties when the client cooperates by completing the necessary forms, providing requested information, scheduling an appointment with DCS or taking whatever other actions are required to indicate cooperation as listed above.

    To inactivate (end) a disqualification on the system, the worker removes the N/R TYPE but leaves the case descriptor. (The case descriptor remains on the case for tracking child support disqualifications at a glance.)

    Supplement the TANF grant back to the date the client cooperated.

    Client Required To Help Department Obtain Support From Noncustodial Parent; TANF: 461-120-0340(5)
    Clients Required to Obtain Health Care Coverage and Cash Medical Support; GAM, OSIPM: 461-120-0345(4)


  12. Pregnant women - special considerations

    Clients Required to Obtain Health Care Coverage and Cash Medical Support; GAM, OSIPM: 461-120-0345(3)


  13. Special considerations; support


  14. Coordination on cases excused from the requirement to pursue child support, health care coverage through an absent parent or cash medical support

    General

    Self-Sufficiency and Child Welfare agree to work together, and with other impacted agencies, such as the Division of Child Support (DCS) and the Oregon Youth Authority (OYA), on cases that have been granted good cause or a permanent exemption and that transition from one program to another.

    Coordination on cases

    In order to support the transition and coordination of cases that have been excused from the requirement to pursue child support or medical support because of good cause or a permanent exemption, Child Welfare and Self-Sufficiency agree that:

    1. The new program providing services will determine whether good cause or permanent exemption is still appropriate by contacting the person who originally claimed good cause or permanent exemption.
    2.(a) If it is determined after contact with the person who originally claimed good cause or permanent exemption that there are still safety or other issues that continue to make good cause or permanent exemption appropriate, the new program providing services will code the newly-opened case with good cause or permanent exemption.
    2.(b) If it is determined after contact with the person who originally claimed good cause or permanent exemption that there are no longer safety or other issues, the new program providing services will not code the newly-opened case with good cause or permanent exemption and will notify DCS that good cause or permanent exemption coding should be removed from the Child Support case and pursuit of child or medical support resumed.
    3. If, pursuant to (2)(b) above, it is determined after contact with the person who originally claimed good cause or permanent exemption that there are no longer safety or other issues, the new program providing services will give notice to the person who originally claimed good cause or permanent exemption. Notice to the person who originally claimed good cause or permanent exemption must be documented by the program providing notification.

    Coordination with partner agencies

    When the OYA has excused a case from the requirement to pursue child support or medical support, Child Welfare and Self-Sufficiency shall coordinate with the OYA in the same manner as if Child Welfare or Self-Sufficiency had excused the client from pursuit of child support because of good cause or a permanent exemption.

    When a case has been excused from the requirement to pursue child support or medical support, regardless of which program has made the determination of good cause or permanent exemption, Child Welfare and Self-Sufficiency will work with DCS to support transition and coordination of the case.


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