SENATE BILL 6114
State of Washington 52nd Legislature 1992 Regular Session
By Senators Craswell, Stratton, Rasmussen, Roach, Cantu, Sellar and McDonald
Read first time 01/15/92. Referred to Committee on Law & Justice.
AN ACT Relating to child support enforcement of medical care costs; and amending RCW 26.18.020 and 74.20.040.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
Sec. 1. RCW 26.18.020 and 1989 c 416 s 2 are each amended to read as follows:
Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter.
(1) "Dependent child" means any child for whom a support order has been established or for whom a duty of support is owed.
(2) "Duty of support" means the duty to provide for the needs of a dependent child, which may include necessary food, clothing, shelter, education, and health care. Necessary health care includes prenatal, delivery, and postnatal medical care relating to the birth of the child. The duty includes any obligation to make monetary payments, to pay expenses, including spousal maintenance, or to reimburse another person or an agency for the cost of necessary support furnished a dependent child. The duty may be imposed by court order, by operation of law, or otherwise.
(3) "Obligee" means the custodian of a dependent child, or person or agency, to whom a duty of support is owed, or the person or agency to whom the right to receive or collect support has been assigned.
(4) "Obligor" means the person owing a duty of support.
(5) "Support order" means any judgment, decree, or order of support issued by the superior court or authorized agency of the state of Washington; or a judgment, decree, or other order of support issued by a court or agency of competent jurisdiction in another state or country, which has been registered or otherwise made enforceable in this state.
(6) "Employer" includes the United States government, a state or local unit of government, and any person or entity who pays or owes earnings to the obligor.
(7) "Earnings" means compensation paid or payable for personal services, whether denominated as wages, salary, commission, bonus, or otherwise, and, notwithstanding any other provision of law making the payments exempt from garnishment, attachment, or other process to satisfy support obligations, specifically includes periodic payments pursuant to pension or retirement programs, or insurance policies of any type, but does not include payments made under Title 50 RCW, except as provided in RCW 50.40.020 and 50.40.050, or Title 74 RCW.
(8) "Disposable earnings" means that part of the earnings of an individual remaining after the deduction from those earnings of any amount required by law to be withheld.
(9) "Department" means the department of social and health services.
(10) "Health insurance coverage" includes any coverage under which medical services are provided by an employer or a union whether that coverage is provided through a self-insurance program, under the employee retirement income security act of 1974, a commercial insurer pursuant to chapters 48.20 and 48.21 RCW, a health care service contractor pursuant to chapter 48.44 RCW, or a health maintenance organization pursuant to chapter 48.46 RCW, and the state through chapter 41.05 RCW.
(11) "Insurer" means a commercial insurance company providing disability insurance under chapter 48.20 or 48.21 RCW, a health care service contractor providing health care coverage under chapter 48.44 RCW, a health maintenance organization providing comprehensive health care services under chapter 48.46 RCW, and shall also include any employer or union which is providing health insurance coverage on a self-insured basis.
Sec. 2. RCW 74.20.040 and 1989 c 360 s 12 are each amended to read as follows:
(1) Whenever the department of social and health services receives an application for public assistance on behalf of a child, the department shall take appropriate action under the provisions of this chapter, chapter 74.20A RCW, or other appropriate statutes of this state to establish or enforce support obligations against the parent or other persons owing a duty to pay support moneys. The department shall make every effort to enforce the obligation to reimburse the state for public assistance expenditures for the prenatal, delivery, and postnatal costs relating to the birth of the child, including expenditures under RCW 74.09.800, the maternity care access program. The state's efforts may include support enforcement actions under this chapter, chapter 74.20A RCW, or other applicable statutes.
(2) The secretary may accept a request for support enforcement services on behalf of persons who are not recipients of public assistance and may take appropriate action to establish or enforce support obligations against the parent or other persons owing a duty to pay moneys. Requests accepted under this subsection may be conditioned upon the payment of a fee as required through regulation issued by the secretary. Action may be taken under the provisions of chapter 74.20 RCW, the abandonment or nonsupport statutes, or other appropriate statutes of this state, including but not limited to remedies established in chapter 74.20A RCW, to establish and enforce said support obligations. The secretary may establish by regulation, reasonable standards and qualifications for support enforcement services under this subsection.
(3) The secretary may accept requests for support enforcement services from child support enforcement agencies in other states operating child support programs under Title IV-D of the social security act or from foreign countries, and may take appropriate action to establish and enforce support obligations against the parent or other person owing a duty to pay support moneys. The request shall contain and be accompanied by such information and documentation as the secretary may by rule require, and be signed by an authorized representative of the agency.
(4) The department may take action to establish, enforce, and collect a support obligation, including performing related services, under this chapter and chapter 74.20A RCW, or through the attorney general or prosecuting attorney for action under chapter 26.09, 26.18, 26.20, 26.21, or 26.26 RCW or other appropriate statutes or the common law of this state.
(5) Whenever a support order is filed with the Washington state support registry under chapter 26.23 RCW, the department may take appropriate action under the provisions of this chapter, chapter 26.23 or 74.20A RCW, or other appropriate law of this state to establish or enforce the support obligations contained in that order against the responsible parent or other persons owing a duty to pay support moneys.
(6) The secretary may charge and collect a fee from the person obligated to pay support to compensate the department for services rendered in establishment of or enforcement of support obligations. This fee shall be limited to not more than ten percent of any support money collected as a result of action taken by the secretary. The fee charged shall be in addition to the support obligation. In no event may any moneys collected by the department of social and health services from the person obligated to pay support be retained as satisfaction of fees charged until all current support obligations have been satisfied. The secretary shall by regulation establish reasonable fees for support enforcement services and said schedule of fees shall be made available to any person obligated to pay support. The secretary may, on showing of necessity, waive or defer any such fee.
(7) Fees, due and owing, may be collected as delinquent support moneys utilizing any of the remedies in chapter 74.20 RCW, chapter 74.20A RCW, chapter 26.21 RCW, or any other remedy at law or equity available to the department or any agencies with whom it has a cooperative or contractual arrangement to establish, enforce, or collect support moneys or support obligations.
(8) The secretary may waive the fee, or any portion thereof, as a part of a compromise of disputed claims or may grant partial or total charge off of said fee if the secretary finds there are no available, practical, or lawful means by which said fee may be collected or to facilitate payment of the amount of delinquent support moneys owed.