0210.015.20.20 Treatment of Child Support Income

IM-#84 November 18, 2009, IM-#155 November 21, 2002
  1. Approvals

    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.  The Eligibility Specialist may have to ask the applicant (using the Request for Information/FA325) to provide child support payment records to determine the amount of child support (current child support and/or arrearage payments) being paid to the child(ren). 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 Child Support Enforcement (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 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 on November's budget.  The Eligibility Specialist approves the TA 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.

  2. 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.  The Select Interface (INTRFACE/FMK0) screen only displays child support actually sent to the child.  The Eligibility Specialist may have to ask the participant (using the Request for Information/FA325) to provide child support payment records to determine the amount of child support received by the state and/or the child. 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 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.

    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 benefit is $234.  The current child support obligation is $200.  The TA 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.  The Eligibility Specialist proceeds with the adverse action to close the TA case.

0210.015.20.25 Exceptions to Income Considered Child Support

IM-#84 November 18, 2009

When child support and/or alimony are not covered by the assignment of rights to support, Child Support Enforcement (CSE) does not keep it and send it to the Division of Finance and Administrative Services (DFAS).  These payments are counted as income to the Eligibility Unit (EU).  The following types of child support and alimony are not covered by the assignment of rights to support.

  1. A military allotment made payable and sent to the EU.  The EU keeps the allotment.  Include it as income on the Temporary Assistance (TA) budget.  Notify CSE when a child initially receives a military allotment.  CSE can collect a military allotment in some situations, but only after arranging to have the check sent and made payable to the State, Circuit Clerk, FSD, or local or State CSE.  When CSE collects the military allotment, exclude it as income on the TA budget in accordance with instructions for support covered by the assignment of rights.

    EXCEPTION:  When the court order (i.e. divorce decree) stipulates that support in the form of a military allotment be paid, the TA participant must send this military allotment to CSE even though it is made payable and sent to the EU.

  2. Alimony or maintenance payments from an absent spouse, when: the spouse does not owe child support for a cash eligible child; or these payments are made to an individual not included in the TA cash grant.  INCLUDE such alimony on the budget as income.  CSE does not keep this income.

    EXCLUDE alimony as income on the budget if the noncustodial parent/absent parent pays alimony for an individual who is included in the TA cash grant.  This is the only situation in which CSE keeps alimony.

  3. Payments made to a provider by the noncustodial parent/absent parent on behalf of family members when such payments are specified in the court order.

    EXAMPLE:  The court order specifies that the noncustodial parent/absent parent pay the family's house payment, $100 monthly child support, and $1,000 /alimony. CSE keeps the $100 monthly child support payment and the $1,000 maintenance/alimony. CSE does not keep the house payment.  Continue to consider the house payment made by the noncustodial parent/absent parent as income-in-kind and exclude from the budget.

    When such provider payments are not specified in the court order, but the noncustodial parent/absent parent makes such payments in lieu of the court ordered child support payment, CSE attempts to collect such support.  CSE notifies the noncustodial parent/absent parent to begin sending the child support he/she is presently paying on behalf of the TA EU to the Family Support Payment Center (FSPC).   The FSPC sends these payments to DFAS to keep on behalf of CSE.

  4. CSE does not collect (as child support) social security benefits, veteran benefits, or any other disability or retirement benefits received by a child due to a noncustodial parent/absent parent's disability or retirement. However, notify CSE of any case in which a child starts to receive these benefits. The noncustodial parent/absent parent receives a credit toward his/her current child support obligation when a child receives social security or veteran benefits based on the noncustodial parent/absent parent's disability/retirement. In each case, the information must be child specific. The social security benefits, veteran benefits, or any other disability or retirement benefits received by the child are coded as such on the INCOME (FMX0) screen in FAMIS. This income is not considered child support income for the child.

0210.015.20.30 Support Payments Retained by Temporary Assistance Households

IM-#84 November 18, 2009

Child Support Enforcement (CSE) is responsible for recovering any support payments made to and retained by the Temporary Assistance (TA) Eligibility Unit.  Only those support payments not treated as income in determining the TA grant are subject to recovery by CSE.

  1. CSE Responsibilities

    Upon notification that the noncustodial parent/absent parent is paying support, CSE informs both the noncustodial parent/absent parent and the TA participant that all support must be paid to CSE.  The notification will include an effective date and the Family Support Payment Center (FSPC) office where the support is to be sent.

    Should CSE discover that a noncustodial parent/absent parent has been paying support directly to a TA participant, they will document this information.  CSE attempts to recoup any support paid to the EU using the following procedures.

    1. CSE informs TA participant of:
      1. Their responsibility to turn over all support payments; the procedure for determining non-cooperation; the sanction for non-cooperation in retaining support; and the procedures for repayment of retained support.
      2. The amount of support CSE believes the participant has retained;
      3. That all retained support must be repaid. A signed repayment plan is developed as a condition of cooperation (CSE sends the participant a copy of a proposed repayment agreement); and
      4. That the participant has an opportunity for an informal meeting with CSE to discuss the retained support, and the proposed repayment agreement. An attempt will be made to resolve any differences before signing a repayment agreement.
    2. CSE proposes a repayment schedule reasonably related to the participant's income and resources, and to the size of the debt. As a minimum, CSE requests $20 be repaid per month. CSE may request income and resource information to develop a proposed repayment schedule.
    3. If the TA participant fails to sign a repayment agreement or to repay according to their agreement, CSE first attempts to resolve the problem. If unable to resolve it, CSE refers the case to IM to determine if there is good cause for non-cooperation and whether sanctioning is necessary.
    4. If a non-cooperating TA participant begins to cooperate, CSE notifies IM. When a participant fails to make payments according to their agreement, they must begin making payments before cooperation can be established.
  2. IM Responsibilities
    1. Inform all TA applicants of their rights and responsibilities regarding cooperating with CSE. Refer to  0205.055.00  Assignment Of Support Rights
    2. If a TA EU is receiving support, notify CSE immediately.  CSE attempts to persuade the TA participant to turn over future support, to recoup the retained support.  Budget future retained child support as income only after CSE refers a case to IM to determine if there is a failure to cooperate.
    3. If CSE requests income and resource information for a claimant to assist in determining a proposed repayment plan, provide CSE with the information.
    4. When CSE refers a case to IM for a determination of cooperation because a participant retained support, determine if the recipient failed to cooperate.  Consider the circumstances surrounding the original retention of support (such as willful withholding versus agency failure to inform the individual to turn over direct payments to CSE).  Consider whether the participant refused to agree to, or comply with, a repayment schedule.
    5. When a participant is determined to have failed to cooperate with CSE without good cause, place the case on protective payments and sanction in accordance with the sanction policy. Refer to 0210.015.50 Sanction

      Initiate an adverse action notice and complete action immediately upon expiration of the ten-day period.  If a hearing is requested, do not take action until the hearing is conducted and a decision rendered as in any other case.  Refer to FAMIS User Guide: Entering A Sanction Or Disqualification

    6. When CSE refers a case to IM for determining cooperation, notify CSE of the final decision.