MEMORANDUM

2009 Memorandums

IM-#84      11/18/09

DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES
FAMILY SUPPORT DIVISION
P.O. BOX 2320
JEFFERSON CITY, MISSOURI
TO:
ALL COUNTY OFFICES
FROM:
ALYSON CAMPBELL, DIRECTOR
SUBJECT:
CHANGES IN CHILD SUPPORT AFFECTING TEMPORARY ASSISTANCE PARTICIPANTS
INCOME MAINTENANCE MANUAL REVISION # nn
0205.055.00
0210.015.20.20
0210.015.20.25
0210.015.20.30

DISCUSSION:

This memorandum discusses changes in the way Child Support Enforcement (CSE) assigns child support while a child receives Temporary Assistance (TA).

Effective October 1, 2009, only current child support owed to a TA participant while the TA case is open is assigned to the state. Prior to October 1, 2009, child support owed to the child prior to the TA case opening was assigned to the state.  The amount of child support that is kept by the state can't exceed the total amount of TA paid to the family.

There is no change to the way child support income is budgeted to a child.  The only change on a TA case is the child may receive more current child support or arrearage payments once they are active on a TA case.

Budgeting Child Support Income

TA/MHF/MHK Applications:

At application complete the budget using current child support and arrearage payments for the months the application is pending.  The current child support payment is the monthly amount ordered to be paid for a child.  NOTE:  Only budget the amount of current child support and arrearage payments actually received.  Child support arrearage payments are payments received in addition to the current child support obligation to pay missed current child support payments.  When budgeting the child support income (current child support and arrearage payments), use projected average following guidelines used for earned and unearned income.  Refer to 0210.015.10 Computing Income.  Court ordered child support (current child support and arrearage) payments will be intercepted by CSE the day after the Temporary Assistance (TA) case is approved.  Do not count child support payments that have not been received at approval as income.

EXAMPLE: Ms. X applies for TA/MHF/MHK on November 5 for herself and her two children.  Ms. X’s ex-husband, Mr. X, is court ordered to pay $175 per month current child support for the two children.  Mr. X regularly pays $150 per month current child support, as verified from child support payment records Ms. X provided.  Add the $150 child support income, $75 for child 1 and $75 for child 2 on the Income (FMX0) screen.  Complete the budget and include the $150 monthly current child support income for the month of November (she has received the $150 already).  Ms. X is eligible for TA/MHF/MHK on November’s budget.  The Eligibility Specialist approves the TA/MHF/MHK application on November 10.  Once the TA case is approved in November, all of the child support payments will be intercepted by CSE and kept by the state.  FAMIS automatically ends the child support income on the Income (FMX0) screen once the TA case is approved.

Note: For MHF cases FAMIS will disregard the first $50 child support received.

Active Cases:

CSE can only keep the amount of assigned arrearages (the court ordered current support obligation owed while the child receives TA) or the amount of the unreimbursed assistance (URA, which is the amount of the TA grant less any child support payments received), whichever is less.  Once the assigned arrearages or the URA is paid in full, any child support payments received in excess of the current child support obligation or TA grant amount (whichever is less) will be sent to the child.

If a child that is active on a TA case starts receiving child support payments (current child support and/or arrearage payments), the Eligibility Specialist should complete a trial budget (WIBCA) to determine on-going TA eligibility.  When completing the trial budget (WIBCA), the Eligibility Specialist must average all child support payments (current child support and/or arrearage payments) that were paid to CSE and sent to the Division of Financial and Administrative Services (DFAS) and/or sent to the child.  NOTE:  The Eligibility Specialist can review the Select Interface (INTRFACE/FMK0) screen and/or child support payment records over the previous two months to determine the average child support received.  Refer to the FAMIS User Guide, WIBCA for instructions on completing a trial budget.  If it is discovered the child support arrearages would not be paid to the child due to a permanent assignment to CSE, budget only the amount of child support the child is entitled to receive.

If the eligibility unit (EU) remains eligible for TA based on the trial budget (WIBCA) and the child receives child support payments on a regular basis, the Eligibility Specialist must complete a regular TA/MHF/MHK budget using only the child support payments that are sent to the child.  If the child is not receiving any child support payments on a regular basis, no action is needed.

EXAMPLE:  TA grant is $234.  Child support obligation is $125.  Noncustodial/absent parent pays $156.00.  $125 is kept by CSE and sent to the DFAS.  $31 is sent to the TA EU (there are no assigned arrearages owed to the state).  Complete the trial budget (WIBCA) using the average current child support payment of $125 and the $31 child support arrearage payment.   The TA EU remains eligible for TA.   Since the TA EU remains eligible for TA, the Eligibility Specialist must complete a budget adjustment, including the $31 child support arrearage payment the child receives.  Now the EU is eligible for a $203 TA grant.  The Eligibility Specialist must start the adverse action process to reduce the amount of the TA grant.

Note: For MHF cases FAMIS will disregard the first $50 child support received.

If the EU is no longer eligible for TA based on the trial budget (WIBCA), the Eligibility Specialist must complete a budget adjustment using the projected child support payments used in the trial budget (WIBCA) and start the adverse action process to close the case.

EXAMPLE:  TA benefits and MHF standard is $234.  The current child support obligation is $200.  The TA/MHF case was approved October 15, 2009.  On December 9, the noncustodial/absent parent pays $250.  CSE keeps the $200 that is current child support and the $50 arrearage payment.  The same thing happens next month.  In January, 2010 the Eligibility Specialist budgets the full $250 child support being received (current child support and arrearage) for the month of February, 2010.  This amount exceeds the TA grant amount and the MHF standard.  The Eligibility Specialist proceeds with the adverse action to close the TA case and FAMIS disregards the first $50 child support received and set MHF case to ISD status for exploration of TMH child support closing for the MHF case.

The Select Interface (FMK0 or INTRFACE) screen displays child support payments that are sent to the child.  Both current child support and arrearage payments are displayed.

NOTE:  A child that is included in the supercase but not active on the TA/MHF/MHK case will continue to receive current child support and/or arrearage payments.   Child support is only assigned if the child is receiving TA benefits.

A new report titled "Child Support Exceeds TA Grant" is in development.  Once it is available, Income Maintenance Program and Policy staff will issue a memo describing the report and its use.

Manual Section Updates

Income Maintenance Manual sections 0205.055.00, 0210.015.20.20, 0210.015.20.25, and 0210.015.20.30 have been updated to include this information.

NECESSARY ACTION:

RE/AR/JW


2009 Memorandums