Release 89: Effective April 1, 2018

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 child support payments
  2. 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 participants 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 participants in the JOBS Plus, SFPSS or Post-TANF programs getting Employment Payments or who are or those who are a two-parent household.) When a TANF participant who is required to cooperate does not cooperate (and does not have good cause for the noncooperation), the participant 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 Rule
    461-120-0340(1) — Client Required To Help Department Obtain Support From Noncustodial Parent; TANF

  3. Evidence of cooperation
  4. Cooperation with child support exists when the participant 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 benefit group.

    The participant demonstrates cooperation by doing all of the following:

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

  5. Good cause for failure to cooperate; child support
  6. A participant may claim good cause for not cooperating with DHS and/or DCS to establish paternity or to collect child support.

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

  7. Good cause; branch office responsibilities
  8. The DHS branch office is responsible for informing participants of their right to claim good cause, both when the participant applies for assistance and at each redetermination of eligibility. When the participant applies for TANF and one or both parents of any child in the benefit group are absent from the benefit group, the branch office will explain to the participant that, unless the participant has good cause for not cooperating or is eligible for TANF as a two-parent family, cooperation in efforts to obtain child support payments is a condition of eligibility for TANF. (This is true even when the TANF applicant is pregnant).

    Confidentiality of participant's address. Explain to participants that under state law, certain information that is confidential under DHS rules could be released during legal proceedings. For example, the participant'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 participant does not want their address revealed, determine if there is good cause for not pursuing support per OAR 461-120-0350. If the participant does not want to claim good cause but does not want their address known to the noncustodial parent, the participant 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 participant would like to use a contact address, DHS should notify DCS of this by calling or emailing the appropriate DCS worker.

    CAUTION
     

    • Due to the nature of the linkage between the DHS (CM) computer system and DCS' Child Support Enforcement Automated System (CSEAS), the participant’s address on CSEAS will show the same address as on CMS. The only place the contact address will appear on the CSEAS system is on a separate screen in CSEAS, accessible only to DCS staff;

    • If a contact address has been in place for six months, DCS will attempt to contact the participant to ask if the contact address is still valid prior to initiating a new legal action. The contact address will stay in effect until retracted by the participant;

    • It is very important that participants be alert to picking up mail at their contact address. If participants do not pick up their DCS mail, they may lose an opportunity to establish paternity or to help determine a proper monthly support or arrearage amount. If the participant does not respond to a mailed notice, DHS could also determine that they have failed to cooperate with the support requirement;

    • Even if the participant claims good cause per OAR 461 120 0350, the participant may want to designate a contact address (for mailing support information only). This is because support enforcement agencies are required by law to provide services (including establishment of paternity) not only to custodial parents but also to noncustodial parents – including self-alleged fathers – who apply for services. If the only address on the case is the DHS address, this is the address that will be on the legal documents during any subsequent proceedings. If the participant claiming good cause wants to use another address, proceed as above;

    • DCS cannot guarantee that the participant's actual home address will not be revealed during enforcement or court proceedings. Designating a contact address simply decreases the likelihood of this occurring, and enables DCS to proceed on what could otherwise be a good cause case.

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

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

    If the participant files a claim of risk request in response to receiving notification from DCS of a forthcoming legal action, DCS will reveal the participant'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."

    FAMILY COACHING OPPORTUNITY

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



    Confidentiality -- Finding of Risk and Order for Nondisclosure of Information Rule
    137-055-1160 — Confidentiality -- Finding of Risk and Order for Nondisclosure of Information

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

  9. Evidence of good cause; child support
  10. Evidence of good cause for noncooperation with child support includes, but is not limited to:

  11. Encouraging cooperation
  12. To encourage participants to cooperate, emphasize these points:

  13. Determining noncooperation with support
  14. DHS or DCS may determine if a participant is not cooperating with support. DCS must advise DHS whenever they determine noncooperation. DHS shall then contact the participant and:

  15. Penalties for noncooperation; child support
  16. 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 participants in the JOBS Plus, SFPSS or Post-TANF programs or those who are getting Employment Payments or who are a two-parent family.



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

  17. Imposing a support disqualification
  18. 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. 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. You must send notice prior to the next level of child support disqualification being imposed.

    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.



    The disqualification remains active as long as the N/R code is on the person’s record. (To end a support disqualification, see #10 below.)

  19. Ending support penalties
  20. End the support noncooperation penalties when the participant 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.

    NOTE
     

    If there is a new instance of noncooperation with child support following a period of cooperation, child support disqualification begins at CS1.



    NOTE
     

    If TANF has closed while there is an active child support disqualification and the participant reapplies, the worker should review what is needed to cooperate with child support. For benefit groups not currently receiving TANF, when a failure to cooperate occurs during the process of applying or reapplying for TANF (and the worker has determined there is not good cause for noncooperation with child support), the filing group is ineligible for benefits.



    Client Required To Help Department Obtain Support From Noncustodial Parent; TANF Rule
    461-120-0340(5) — Client Required To Help Department Obtain Support From Noncustodial Parent; TANF

  21. Special considerations; support
  22. Coordination on cases excused from the requirement to pursue child support
  23. 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 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 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 participant 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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