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QUALITY ALERT

Summary:

  • Clarifies who must cooperate with child support enforcement activities.
  • Requires reconciliation for both TANF and medical clients before a sanction.
  • Income is the basis for determining who cooperates with child support activities for medical programs under Family Health Plans.

The Department of Public Aid's Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE) provides services for dependent children who receive cash or medical benefits.

This memorandum provides policy clarification on who is required to cooperate with child support enforcement activities. An applicant who is not required to cooperate may request services by completing the child support application process. If a person who is not required to cooperate requests child support services and later fails to cooperate, DCSE closes their case. A person who is not required to cooperate is not subject to a sanction.

Who Must Cooperate

Child support cooperation requirements apply to a custodial parent who receives AABD Cash, AABD Medical, TANF, Family Assist, Parent/KidCare Assist or KidCare Moms and Babies. This includes a minor custodial parent, or a stepparent who is included in the case with the legal parent.

A custodial parent who does not receive any benefits for themselves is not required to cooperate. This means that a custodial parent who is RPY of a child only case does not have to cooperate with child support requirements. DCSE continues to offer services to RPY only medical cases that are currently active as long as the cooperation requirements are met. DCSE closes the case if the person fails to cooperate. After a case closes, a person who later decides they want services completes the child support application process.

A custodial parent who is RPY of a TANF Cash case or medical case for a child and receives assistance in a separate case for themselves is required to cooperate with child support enforcement.

Example 1: Ms. R has 3 children and was not married to any of the 3 fathers. Paternity has not been established for any of the children. Ms. R receives TANF in the same case as her children. She is required to cooperate with child support enforcement.

Example 2: Ms. T, a 17 year old mother, and her baby live alone and receive TANF. Ms T is a minor parent who is required to cooperate with child support enforcement.

Example 3: The TANF case consists of Mr. B (payee); Mrs. B; Mrs. B's son, John; and Mr. and Mrs. B's son, Jim. Mr. B is a stepparent who is required to cooperate for John.

Example 4: Ms. Z receives TANF for herself. She is RPY for her son who receives AABD medical. Ms. Z is required to cooperate with child support requirements.

Example 5: Ms. P receives AABD medical assistance in a separate case from her child. Her child receives SSI and an AABD medical card. Ms. P must cooperate with child support enforcement.

Example 6: Ms. T receives TANF for her 10 year old daughter for whom she is RPY. Ms. T receives SSI and an AABD medical card. Ms. T is required to cooperate with child support enforcement.

Example 7: The TANF case consists of Ms. A; Ms. A's 17 year old son, Joe; 16 year old daughter, Jean; and Jean's daughter, April. Ms. A is required to cooperate for Joe and Jean.

Jean is a minor parent who is required to cooperate for April. Apply a penalty for the noncooperation for the TANF case when Ms. A or Jean do not cooperate in CSE activities. In addition, the noncooperating person is ineligible for medical benefits until they cooperate, unless they are pregnant.

Example 8: Ms. R, a 17 year old minor mother, and her 5 year old daughter receive medical assistance in the same case. Ms. R is required to cooperate with child support.

Child support cooperation is not a requirement for a person who is not the custodial parent (e.g., grandparents, aunts, uncles) even if the person is receiving assistance.

Family Health Plans

Effective 10/07/02, under Federal law, a custodial parent's cooperation with child support enforcement is not required as condition of a child's eligibility for some medical programs.

Family Assist, Parent/KidCare Assist, and KidCare Moms and Babies are individual programs under the medical program called Family Health Plans. The determination of who must cooperate is based on income. A custodial parent with countable income above the Family Health Spenddown Income Standard is not required to cooperate with child support enforcement even if the custodial parent is receiving medical benefits. These cases are identified by an A or F in Item 78 of Form 552.

Cooperation requirements only apply to a custodial parent with countable income equal to or less than the Family Health Spenddown Income Standard (see Policy Memorandum, Introduction to Family Health Plans, dated 09/30/02). A parent who is not required to cooperate with child support may still request services. Refer the custodial parent to DCSE if services are requested.

At intake, when a custodial parent applies for medical benefits for themselves and their child(ren) explain that they may be required to cooperate with DCSE. Local office staff should collect all the information needed from the client to comply with child support enforcement. If it is determined that the client's countable income is above the Family Health Spenddown Income Standard, the paternity information is not sent to DCSE.

Example 1: Ms. K applies for medical benefits for herself and her 4 children. She provides all necessary information except she refuses to provide information regarding the father of her oldest child who was born prior to her marriage. Her countable income is $300. Unless she is pregnant, Ms. K is required to cooperate with DCSE because her countable income is equal to or less than the Family Health Spenddown Income Standard. She is not pregnant and is ineligible for medical benefits for herself because she refused to cooperate. Approve the case for her children only if all other eligibility requirements are met. Code the case as RPN in Item 8 on Form 552.

Example 2: Ms. V applies for medical benefits for herself and her 4 children. She provides all necessary information, except she refuses to provide information regarding her oldest child who was born prior to her marriage. Her countable income is $800. Ms. V is eligible for medical benefits. She is not required to cooperate with DCSE because her countable income is greater than the Family Health Spenddown Income Standard.

If a custodial parent who has previously been sanctioned for noncooperation with child support and subsequently canceled reapplies at intake for medical assistance, determine if the countable income is above the Family Health Spenddown Income Standard. If the parent is not required to cooperate because the countable income is above the Family Health Spenddown Income Standard and all other eligibility factors are met, approve the case for medical.

Require a parent whose countable income is equal to or less than the Family Health Spenddown Income Standard to complete the cooperation requirement before approving the case. When a custodial parent agrees to cooperate, local office staff are to contact DCSE immediately to request an expedited interview. If the parent fails to cooperate or refuses to comply, approve medical for the child(ren) only. Code the case as RPN in Item 8 on Form 552. Notify the parent of their ineligibility for medical due to noncooperation with DCSE. Specify the date and type of noncooperation on the denial notice.

For an active medical case, have the custodial parent who requests to be added back to the medical case sign Request for Additional Family Member (Form 243). If the countable income is above the Family Health Spenddown Income Standard, add the parent back to the case. Remove the RPN status in Item 8 on Form 552. Medical backdate may be allowed if eligible in the backdated months. A custodial parent whose countable income is equal to or less than the Family Health Spenddown Income Standard is required to complete the cooperation requirement before being added back to the case. Request new income verification when:

  • Form 243 indicates that income has changed, or
  • income will be considered (such as stepparent income) which was not considered in determining the child(ren)'s income, or
  • the worker has reason to believe income has changed, or
  • a REDE has not been completed during the last 12 months.

Example 1: Ms. J was deleted from the medical case last year because she failed to cooperate with child support enforcement. On 10/14/02, Ms. J completes Form 243 to be added back to the case.

Ms. J has one child and her countable income is now $400, which is above the Family Health Spenddown Income Standard. Remove the RPN status and add Ms. J back to the case. Eligibility can be backdated to 07/01/02, if otherwise eligible.

Example 2: Ms. O was deleted from the medical case last year because she failed to cooperate with child support enforcement. On 11/14/02, Ms. O completes Form 243 to be added back to the case and states she is willing to cooperate. Ms. O has two children and her countable income is $460, which is equal to or less than the Family Health Spenddown Income Standard. The standard is $508 for a family of 3. Ms. O is required to cooperate with DCSE before she can be added back to the case.

The caseworker refers Ms. O to DCSE and receives Form 493B from DCSE indicating that Ms. O has cooperated. Ms. O can be added to the case. Remove the RPN status. Eligibility can only be backdated to 11/01/02, the month in which Ms. O stated she was willing to cooperate.

Pregnant Women

Do not stop medical assistance for a pregnant woman who does not cooperate with child support.

Medical benefits continue when a pregnant woman on a TANF case fails to cooperate if an EDD date is present in Item 60. Do not take action to stop medical benefits.

When a pregnant woman with children on TANF refuses to cooperate, swap the case to Medical for the children and delete the pregnant woman. Approve a separate KidCare Moms and Babies case for the pregnant woman.

Approve a KidCare Moms and Babies case for the noncooperating pregnant woman who receives AABD Cash or AABD Medical and is responsible for a child(ren) that receives benefits in a separate case. An AABD Cash client may retain AABD Cash assistance, but is not eligible for medical, unless she is pregnant. If she is pregnant, delete medical assistance from the AABD case and approve a separate KidCare Moms and Babies case for the duration of the pregnancy and 60 days postpartum.

Approve a KidCare Moms and Babies case for a woman not on assistance and who has previously failed to cooperate with child support requirements if she becomes pregnant and requests assistance and is otherwise eligible.

What Is Cooperation

Cooperating with child support enforcement means that a custodial parent must provide information and participate in enforcement activities which lead to establishing paternity and support obligations.

A person who does not have good cause must cooperate as asked in:

  • establishing an alleged father as the legal father of a child;
  • naming and locating the noncustodial parent or alleged father of a child;
  • appearing at named places to give verbal or written information or proof;
  • appearing and testifying as a witness in court or administrative proceedings;
  • signing an attestation that all information given is true and correct;
  • obtaining support payments (including medical support) for a child;
  • obtaining any other payment or property due a child; and
  • sending DPA any child support received after the approval of TANF or AABD Cash. This includes benefits given for a case that is presumed eligible. Support intended for a minor parent or minor spouse is not sent to DPA.

At intake, a custodial parent has cooperated with the paternity establishment requirement if Attestation of Information (Form 3759) is signed. This meets child support cooperation requirements even if paternity is not established. Deny assistance for the custodial parent at intake only if there is a refusal to sign the attestation. The case is not eligible for TANF if the custodial parent refuses to sign Form 3759. Unless the custodial parent is pregnant, approve medical for the children only. Code the case with RPN in Item 8 of Form 552.

Assignment of Rights to Support

As a condition of eligibility, a custodial parent who receives cash or medical benefits assigns their rights to medical support or other third party medical payments to the Department of Public Aid (see PM 03-19-00 and PM 24-01-04).

The custodial parent is required to cooperate in child support enforcement activities which include identifying and locating a noncustodial parent, establishing paternity, and obtaining a medical support order.

A parent who receives TANF is also required to cooperate in obtaining an order for monetary support from the noncustodial parent. A parent who does not cooperate with the assignment of medical support rights is not eligible for medical. This does not affect the child(ren)'s eligibility for medical.

Penalty for Failure or Refusal to Cooperate (Assist, AABD)

Deny or stop medical for a custodial parent who fails or refuses to cooperate with child support requirements. The parent must agree to cooperate and meet the requirement that caused them to lose eligibility before they are eligible to receive medical benefits again. Medical eligibility starts the first day of the month that the parent agrees to cooperate. Restore medical benefits after the parent cooperates. A new application is required if the case was canceled. The application cannot be approved until cooperation with child support enforcement has been demonstrated.

Assist

Enter TA 34 in Item 3 of Form 552 and TAR 20 in Item 33 to delete a custodial parent from a case who does not cooperate with child support requirements. Code the case as RPN in Item 8. When the parent is on an adult-only case, use TA 22 and TAR 56 to cancel the Assist case.

Active AABD

A custodial parent receiving AABD Cash is not eligible for medical, but cash benefits may be issued. To stop medical for an AABD Cash client, enter TA 31 in Item 3 of Form 552 and TAR 60 in Item 33. Complete Item 44. Enter 4 in Item 78, which suppresses medical and issues cash and food stamps.

To cancel an AABD medical case, enter TA 22 in Item 3 of Form 552 and TAR 56 in Item 33.

If the child(ren) receive Assist, change the payee status on the child(ren)'s Form 552 by entering RPN in Item 8. If the unit's food stamps were authorized on the AABD Medical case, change the food stamp authorization to the Form 552 for the child(ren)'s case (see WAG 18-04-13). Change the payee's Item 78 code from X to 8.

For active medical cases, manually complete and send Notice of Change (Form 157), to notify the parent of their ineligibility for medical due to noncooperation with child support. Enter the reason from Notice of Failure to Cooperate (Form 1611) (see PM 24-02-01) for determining that the parent refused to cooperate with child support enforcement. Noncooperation code 06 is obsolete.

AABD Applicant

Deny medical at intake for a custodial parent who does not cooperate with child support requirements if they previously failed to cooperate and was sanctioned at the time of the cancellation.

For AABD Cash, enter 4 in Item 78 of Form 552 to deny medical, and approve cash and food stamps.

To deny medical on a medical only application, use TAR 39 and enter code 92 in Item 39.

Complete and send Form 360D or Form 360H to notify the parent of their ineligibility for medical. Include the noncooperation reason on the notice.

Penalty for Failure to Cooperate (TANF)

When a custodial parent fails to comply with a child support requirement without a valid reason, the case may be sanctioned. The TANF is reduced and custodial parent is ineligible for medical assistance, unless they are pregnant (see PM 24-04-04). Only impose a sanction when the parent fails to comply with the requirements in PM 24-02-01.

Impose the sanction by entering Item 80 code 165 CSNC through AIS, ACM, or IPACS. Use the date and reason shown on the first Form 1611 sent prior to the reconciliation when coding Form 552. A central Notice of Change (Form 157NC) is sent to the parent.

If a custodial parent who has previously been sanctioned and canceled for noncooperation with child support reapplies at intake for TANF within 3 months of cancellation and does not cooperate at application, approve the case in sanction status. Swap the case to medical if the sanction continues for 3 months and client still has not cooperated.

Start over at level one when all previous 3-month sanction periods have ended and there is a break in cash and medical assistance for at least one full payment month before application. There is not a break in assistance if the family continues to receive medical assistance.

Penalty for Refusal to Comply (TANF)

A custodial parent who states that they refuse to cooperate with child support enforcement requirements is not eligible for TANF and not eligible for medical benefits (see PM 24-04-02). Swap the case to medical for only the child(ren). Swap the case using TA 81 or TA 82/TAR 16 and delete the custodial parent.

If the custodial parent states at application that they refuse to comply, deny the cash request using TA 05/TAR 06. Deny medical for the parent. Progress the rest of the case to medical for only child(ren).

If the custodial parent later states they are willing to meet child support enforcement requirements, have them sign a Request for Financial Assistance (Form 2905). Swap the medical case to cash and add the parent if they cooperate by doing what they previously failed to do.

Reconciliation (TANF and Medical)

When a person fails to cooperate with child support enforcement, Notice of Failure to Cooperate (Form 1611) is sent to the local office. Follow-up by local office staff is important to ensure appropriate case action is taken on a parent who may be ineligible for benefits due to noncooperation with child support enforcement.

Conduct a reconciliation with the custodial parent right away to determine if good cause or a valid reason exists before imposing a sanction. A reconciliation applies to both TANF and a Medical case.

Ending a Sanction

To end the sanction, the custodial parent must comply with child support enforcement. This means doing what they failed to do that caused the sanction. If this is not possible, the person can do something else to show they are cooperating. DCSE sends Change In Case Noncustodial Parent Status (Form 493B) to notify the local office that the custodial parent has cooperated. Restore medical benefits as soon as the person cooperates.

Cash benefits are restored based on the level of the sanction. For level 1, it is when the person cooperates. For levels 2 and 3, it is when the person has cooperated and the sanction has lasted 3 months. For level 2 and 3 sanctions, any month the family receives no cash benefits after the sanction is imposed counts as a sanction month, regardless of the reason for no benefits. The sanction also ends when the initial 3-month sanction period is over and the family has been off cash and medical for at least one full month.

[signed copy on file]

LINDA RENEÉ BAKER
Secretary, Illinois Department of Human Services

Forms referenced:
Form 157
Form 243
Form 493B
Form 552
Form 1611
Form 2905
Form 3759