WSR 98-01-170

PROPOSED RULES

DEPARTMENT OF

SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES

(Economic Services Administration)

[Filed December 22, 1997, 4:24 p.m.]

Original Notice.

Exempt from preproposal statement of inquiry under RCW 34.05.310(4).

Title of Rule: WAC 388-14-200 Eligibility AFDC and FIP assignment of support rights--Cooperation with office of support enforcement--Effect of noncooperation, 388-14-201 Cooperation with division of child support, 388-14-202 Effects of noncooperation, and 388-14-270 Distribution of support payments.

Purpose: Changes rules to bring them into compliance with federal law, changing nature of assignment made by public assistance recipient as of October 1, 1997; follows requirements of federal law regarding distribution of child support payments and determination of noncooperation.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 74.20A.310, 26.23.035.

Statute Being Implemented: RCW 74.20.330, 26.23.035, 74.20.040(9), 74.20A.320, 74.20A.275, and 45 CFR 232.12.

Summary: Federal and state law require a change in the effect of the assignment made by a public assistance recipient, and a change in the distribution of child support payments, both effective October 1, 1997. Child support will now be distributed based on the date the payment was received by the Division of Child Support (formerly, it was based on the date the money was withheld from the payor). The public assistance assignment will now permanently assign arrears accruing while the family is on public assistance, but arrearages accrued prior to an assistance period will be temporarily assigned. Determination of noncooperation will now be made by Division of Child Support, instead of the Community Services Office.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting, Implementation and Enforcement: Nancy Koptur, P.O. Box 9162, Mailstop 45860, Olympia, WA 98506, 586-3077.

Name of Proponent: Department of Social and Health Services, governmental.

Agency Comments or Recommendations, if any, as to Statutory Language, Implementation, Enforcement, and Fiscal Matters: These amendments must be effective sooner than thirty-one days after filing: The effective date will be January 28, 1998.

Rule is necessary because of federal law, 45 CFR 232.12.

Explanation of Rule, its Purpose, and Anticipated Effects: Federal and state law require a change in the effect of the assignment made by a public assistance recipient, and a change in the distribution of child support payments, both effective October 1, 1997. Child support will now be distributed based on the date the payment was received by the Division of Child Support (formerly, it was based on the date the money was withheld from the payor). The public assistance assignment will now permanently assign arrears accruing while the family is on public assistance, but arrearages accrued prior to an assistance period will be temporarily assigned. Determination of noncooperation will now be made by Division of Child Support, instead of the Community Services Office.

Proposal Changes the Following Existing Rules: Amends existing WAC 388-14-200, 388-14-201, 388-14-202, and 388-14-270 for clarity and readability.

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. This change does not meet the requirements of an economic impact.

RCW 34.05.328 does not apply to this rule adoption. RCW 34.05.328 (5)(b)(vii) exempts the Department of Social and Health Services rules that only to client medical or financial eligibility.

Hearing Location: Lacey Government Center (behind Tokyo Bento Restaurant), 1009 College Street S.E., Room 104-B, Lacey, WA 98503, on January 27, 1998, at 10:00 a.m.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Paige Wall by January 16, 1998, phone (360) 902-7540, TTY (360) 902-8324, e-mail pwall@dshs.wa.gov.

Submit Written Comments to and Identify WAC Numbers: Paige Wall, Acting Rules Coordinator, Rules and Policies Assistance Unit, P.O. Box 45850, Olympia, WA 98504-5850, FAX (360) 902-8292, by January 27, 1998.

Date of Intended Adoption: January 28, 1998.

December 17, 1997

Merry A. Kogut, Manager

Rules and Policies Assistance Unit

AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending WSR 92-13-026, filed 6/9/92, effective 7/10/92)

WAC 388-14-200 ((Eligibility--AFDC and FIP--Assignment of)) Families accepting assistance must assign certain support rights((--Cooperation with office of support enforcement--Effect of noncooperation)) to the state. This section ((establishes the initial and continuing requirements of eligibility for aid to families with dependent children and for family independence program services)) applies to all applicants and recipients of cash assistance under the state program funded under Title IV-A of the federal Social Security Act.

(1) ((Beginning August 1, 1975, as a condition of eligibility for assistance, each applicant/recipient shall make assignment to the office of support enforcement of any and all right, title, and interest in any support obligation the applicant/recipient may have. This includes support rights of any other family member for whom the applicant/recipient is applying for or receiving financial assistance. It also includes rights to support which have accrued at the time such assignment is executed. Through this assignment, the applicant/recipient authorizes the office of support enforcement to provide support enforcement services for the family, and to continue to provide services after the family stops receiving assistance, under the same conditions regarding the physical custodian's obligation to cooperate with OSE, as are in effect at the time assistance terminates, until services are terminated under this chapter.

(2) When the applicant/recipient satisfies subsection (1) of this section, the department may require further cooperation by the applicant/recipient as a continuing condition of eligibility for assistance unless the department determines the applicant/recipient has good cause not to cooperate under WAC 388-24-111. The applicant/recipient's cooperation includes, but is not limited to, assisting the office of support enforcement in or by doing the following:

(a) Identifying and locating absent parents by providing:

(i) Relevant information known to, possessed by, or reasonably obtainable by the applicant/recipient about the absent parent, such as the absent parent's:

(A) Name and known aliases;

(B) Address;

(C) Telephone number or numbers;

(D) Social Security Number;

(E) Employment history; and

(F) Physical description.

(ii) Data regarding the date and place of marriage, separation, divorce, or dissolution, and copies of any documents, reasonably obtainable without fee, including any court orders establishing paternity and/or support obligations;

(iii) Information establishing the support debt amount accrued before the application. Applicants shall give information at the time of application and/or at a later time, if requested by the office of support enforcement, to supplement existing information.

(b) Notifying the office of support enforcement when there are changes in information concerning the absent parent;

(c) Establishing the paternity of a child the applicant shall:

(i) Take reasonable action requested by the office, the prosecuting attorneys, the attorney general, private attorneys compensated under RCW 74.20.350, courts, or other agencies in:

(A) Administrative hearings;

(B) Actions to establish paternity; or

(C) Investigations preparatory or supplementary to such hearings or actions.

(ii) Assist in the development of medical and anthropological evidence relating to the alleged father's paternity based on tests performed by experts on the mother and the child.

(d) Establishing and collecting support and/or obtaining support payments or other payments or property due the applicant/recipient or a dependent child. The applicant shall take reasonable action requested by the office of support enforcement, the prosecuting attorney, the attorney general, the private attorney compensated under RCW 74.20.350, courts or other agencies in:

(i) Administrative hearings; or

(ii) Actions to establish or collect support obligations; or

(iii) Investigations preparatory or supplementary to such hearings or actions.

(e) Remitting support payments the applicant/recipient receives, from any person or agency, to the office of support enforcement within eight days of receipt of said payments;

(f) Executing a repayment agreement and repaying retained support moneys under the agreement.

(3) An applicant/recipient may attest to the lack of information, under penalty of perjury, if the applicant/recipient:

(a) Submits to an interview:

(i) Conducted by the office of support enforcement, a prosecuting attorney, the attorney general, or a private attorney compensated under RCW 74.20.350; and

(ii) Answers questions intended to obtain relevant information.

(b) Does not know, or possess, or cannot reasonably obtain the department's requested information.

(4) The department shall consider an applicant/recipient who attests to the lack of information to be cooperating, as required under this section, unless the:

(a) Applicant/recipient fails or refuses to submit to an interview and answer questions;

(b) Department produces credible evidence which shows that the applicant/recipient's attestation is false; or

(c) Applicant/recipient previously gave inconsistent information for which the applicant/recipient has no reasonable explanation.

(5) The department may not:

(a) Refuse to allow the applicant/recipient to sign an attestation; or

(b) Sanction the applicant/recipient for failure to cooperate merely because previous attempts to identify an absent parent resulted in blood test results excluding the person identified.

However, the applicant/recipient, must cooperate with any necessary retesting.

(6) If the office, the prosecuting attorney, the attorney general, or a private attorney compensated under RCW 74.20.350, believes the applicant/recipient is not cooperating, they shall send notice of the alleged noncooperation to the community services office and the applicant/recipient. The notice shall be evidence of noncooperation and shall include a statement:

(a) Explaining how the applicant/recipient failed to cooperate with that office, including what actions were required;

(b) Of the action that the office believes the applicant/recipient must take to resume cooperation;

(c) Informing the applicant/recipient that the:

(i) Same evidence is furnished to the community services office;

(ii) Applicant/recipient may contact the community services office immediately if the applicant/recipient disagrees with the evidence, needs assistance in order to cooperate, or believes the action required is unreasonable; and

(iii) Applicant/recipient's grant may be reduced or terminated if the IV-A agency determines, after a review of all of the evidence, that the applicant/recipient failed to cooperate.

(7) The department shall include in the notice of planned action either a:

(a) Copy of the evidence of noncooperation; or

(b) Statement of the evidence of noncooperation.

(8) If the applicant/recipient fails to cooperate by missing an interview without reasonable excuse, cooperation resumes when the applicant/recipient appears for a rescheduled interview and either provides information or attests to the lack of information. The office of support enforcement, prosecuting attorney, attorney general, or private attorney shall reschedule the interview within seven business days from the date the applicant/recipient contacts them to reschedule an interview.

(9) Cooperation resumes when the applicant/recipient performs the required action. The department shall reinstate the grant effective on the date cooperation resumes.

(10) If the applicant/recipient does not remit support moneys within eight days of receipt as required under WAC 388-14-200 (2)(e) and the applicant/recipient is currently receiving an AFDC grant, or cash benefits under the family independence program, the office of support enforcement shall:

(a) Document that the applicant/recipient has, in fact, received and retained support money and the amount of said money;

(b) Issue a notice of debt as provided under WAC 388-13-020 to the applicant/recipient to recover the payments, and the department shall include in such notice the following information:

(i) An explanation of the applicant/recipient's responsibility to cooperate by turning over the support money as a condition of eligibility for public assistance, and the sanction for failure to cooperate;

(ii) A list of the support money retained, including the dates and amounts as well as copies of any documentary evidence, such as copies of checks, front and back, the office possesses;

(iii) A proposed repayment agreement that may include a provision for a voluntary grant deduction;

(iv) An explanation that repaying retained support money according to a repayment agreement is a condition of cooperation;

(v) A statement that the recipient may request an informal meeting with the office, within twenty days of the date of service of the notice of debt, to:

(A) Clarify the recipient's responsibilities for cooperation; and

(B) Resolve differences regarding the existence or amount of the claim for unremitted support money and/or the proposed repayment agreement.

(vi) A statement that the recipient has the right to request a hearing under WAC 388-13-060 to contest the:

(A) Department's claim of ownership of the support money identified in the notice; and

(B) Reasonableness of the proposed repayment agreement.

(vii) A statement that the office will notify the community services office that the recipient failed to cooperate unless the recipient, within twenty days of the date of service of the notice of debt, executes the proposed repayment agreement, requests an informal meeting, or requests an adjudicative proceeding.

(11) The department shall base the repayment agreement on the:

(a) Applicant/recipient's total income and resources including the AFDC grant or cash benefits under the family independence program; and

(b) Total amount of retained support money.

(12) The monthly amount of the repayment shall not exceed ten percent of the:

(a) Grant payment standard during any month the applicant/recipient remains in public assistance status, or

(b) Cash benefits paid under the family independence program.

(13) When an applicant/recipient retains support money but is no longer an active recipient of public assistance money, the office of support enforcement, or the office of financial recovery, shall proceed under RCW 74.20A.270 and chapter 388-13 WAC, without reference to the procedural requirements of WAC 388-14-200(10).

(14) The office of support enforcement, or the office of financial recovery, shall notify the community services office when the recipient fails to cooperate if the recipient:

(a) Fails to sign a repayment agreement for the amount of retained support money claimed by the office in the notice of debt or as determined by an administrative law judge if a hearing is requested under WAC 388-13-060;

(b) Enters into a repayment agreement but subsequently fails to make a payment under the terms of the agreement, or fails to comply with the decision of the administrative law judge.

(15) The office of support enforcement, or the office of financial recovery, shall promptly notify the community services office when a recipient who has:

(a) Failed to enter into a repayment agreement, consents to do so and signs a repayment agreement; or

(b) Defaulted on an agreement or an administrative decision, makes a regularly scheduled payment according to the agreement or decision.

(16) Nothing in WAC 388-14-200 allows the department to make an otherwise eligible child ineligible for public assistance because of the applicant/recipient's failure to cooperate as defined in this section.)) For purposes of this section:

(a) Family means "assistance unit."

(b) Family member means the caretaker relative, the child(ren), and any other person whose needs are considered in determining eligibility for assistance.

(c) Assistance means assistance under the state program funded under Title IV-A of the federal Social Security Act.

(d) Unreimbursed assistance means the cumulative amount of assistance which was paid to the family and which has not been reimbursed by assigned support collections.

(e) Permanently assigned arrearages means those arrearages which shall be collected and retained by the state up to the amount of unreimbursed assistance. Permanently assigned arrearages accrue only under the following conditions:

(i) For those periods prior to the family receiving assistance, for assistance applications dated on or before September 30, 1997; and

(ii) For those periods while a family receives assistance, for assistance applications dated at any time.

(f) Temporarily assigned arrearages means those arrearages which accrue prior to the family receiving assistance, for assistance applications dated on or after October 1, 1997. Temporarily assigned arrearages are:

(i) Not permanently assigned to the state;

(ii) Collected and retained by the state up to the amount of unreimbursed assistance, if these arrearages are collected by federal income tax refund offset at any time; and

(iii) Collected and retained by the state by any means, up to the cumulative amount of unreimbursed assistance:

(A) Until October 1, 2000 or until the date the family terminates from assistance, whichever date is later; or

(B) Only while the family receives assistance, for assistance periods beginning October 1, 2000 or later.

(2) When a family accepts assistance, the family authorizes the division of child support (DCS) to provide support enforcement services to the family until the support enforcement case is closed pursuant to WAC 388-14-420.

(3) As a condition of eligibility for assistance, a family member must assign to the state the right to collect and keep any support owing to the family member or to any other person for whom the family member has applied for or is receiving assistance.

(4) Amounts assigned under this section may not exceed the lesser of the total amount of assistance paid to the family or the total amount of the assigned support obligation.

(5) While the family receives assistance, all support collected will be retained by the state to reimburse the total amount of assistance which has been paid to the family.

(6) After the family terminates from assistance, certain accrued arrearages remain assigned to the state in accordance with the following rules:

(a) For assistance applications dated prior to October 1, 1997, the applicant permanently assigns to the state all rights to support which accrued before the application date and which will accrue prior to the date the family terminates from assistance.

(b) For assistance applications dated on or after October 1, 1997, and before October 1, 2000:

(i) The applicant permanently assigns to the state all rights to support which accrue while the family receives assistance; and

(ii) The applicant temporarily assigns to the state all rights to support which accrued before the application date, until October 1, 2000, or such time that the family terminates from assistance, whichever date is later. After this date, if any such remaining arrearage is collected by federal income tax refund offset, the state shall retain such amounts, up to the amount of unreimbursed assistance.

(c) For assistance applications dated on or after October 1, 2000:

(i) The applicant permanently assigns to the state all right to support which accrue while the family receives assistance; and

(ii) The applicant temporarily assigns to the state all rights to support which accrued before the application date, until the date the family terminates from assistance. After this date, if any such remaining arrearage is collected by federal income tax refund offset, the state shall retain such amounts, up to the amount of unreimbursed assistance.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090. 92-13-026 (Order 3403), 388-14-200, filed 6/9/92, effective 7/10/92. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.20A.270. 90-05-022 (Order 2942), 388-14-200, filed 2/13/90, effective 3/16/90. Statutory Authority: 1988 c 275. 89-01-049 (Order 2738), 388-14-200, filed 12/14/88. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090. 88-07-012 (Order 2606), 388-14-200, filed 3/4/88. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.20A.270. 85-20-085 (Order 2288), 388-14-200, filed 10/1/85. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090. 80-01-026 (Order 1465), 388-14-200, filed 12/14/79; 78-09-053 (Order 1330), 388-14-200, filed 8/22/78; Order 1054, 388-14-200, filed 9/25/75.]

AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending WSR 97-13-092, filed 6/18/97, effective 7/19/97)

WAC 388-14-270 Distribution of support payments. The definitions contained in WAC 388-14-200 are incorporated into and made a part of this section.

(1) Under state and federal law, the ((IV-D agency)) division of child support (DCS) shall distribute support money it collects or receives((, in accordance with state and federal law and the provisions of this section,)) to the:

(a) Department when the department provides or has provided public assistance payments for the support of the family ((unit, household, or a member of the family unit or household));

(b) Payee under the order, or to the physical custodian of the child according to WAC 388-14-271;

(c) Child support enforcement agency in another state or foreign country which submitted a request for support enforcement services;

(d) Indian tribe which has a TANF program and/or a cooperative agreement regarding the delivery of child support services; or

(e) Person or entity making the payment when ((the IV-D agency)) DCS is unable to identify the person to whom the support money is payable after making reasonable efforts to obtain identification information.

(2) If ((the IV-D agency)) DCS is unable to distribute support money because the location of the family or person is unknown, it shall exercise reasonable efforts to locate the family or person. When ((the IV-D agency does not locate the family or person, it)) the family or person cannot be located, DCS shall handle the money in accordance with chapter 458-65 WAC, the uniform unclaimed property act rules.

(3) ((The IV-D agency)) When distributing support money, DCS shall ((apply)) do the following ((rules when distributing support money)):

(a) Record payments in exact amounts without rounding;

(b) Distribute support money within eight days of the date ((the IV-D agency)) DCS receives the money, unless it is unable to distribute the payment for one or more of the following reasons:

(i) The location of the payee is unknown;

(ii) ((The IV-D agency)) DCS does not have sufficient information to identify the accounts against which or to which it should apply the money;

(iii) An action is pending before a court or agency which has jurisdiction over the issue to determine whether support money is owed or how ((the IV-D agency)) DCS should distribute the money.

(iv) ((The IV-D agency)) DCS receives prepaid support money which it is holding for distribution in future months under subsection (((4))) (5) of this section;

(v) ((The IV-D agency)) DCS mails a notice of intent to distribute support money to the physical custodian under WAC 388-14-271; or

(vi) Other circumstances exist which make a proper and timely distribution of the money impossible through no fault or lack of diligence of ((the IV-D agency)) DCS.

(c) Distribute support money based on the date ((of collection, except as provided under subsection (3)(f) of this section and WAC 388-14-275. The date of collection is the earliest of the following dates:

(i) The date the IV-D agency or a political subdivision actually making the collection)) DCS receives the money, except as provided under subsection (3)(g) of this section;

(((ii) The date the support enforcement agency or other legal entity of another state or political subdivision, actually making the collection, receives the money; or

(iii) The date income, earnings, wages, labor and industries benefits, or employment security benefits were withheld.))

(d) ((Except as provided in subsection (3)(f) of this section, when the responsible parent has more than one case under Title IV-D or Title IV-E, the IV-D agency shall distribute)) Apply support money within each Title IV-D nonassistance case:

(i) First, to satisfy the current support obligation ((on each Title IV-D or foster care case, in proportion to the amount of the current support order on each case; and)) for the month DCS received the money;

(ii) Second, to the ((total of the support debts whether owed to the family or to the department for the reimbursement of public assistance on each Title IV-D or foster care case, in proportion to the amount of support debt owed by the)) responsible ((parent on each case; and)) parent's support debts owed to the family;

(iii) Third, ((after distribution under subsection (3)(d)(ii) of this section, within each Title IV-D or foster care case according to)) to prepaid support as provided for under subsection (((3)(e))) (5) of this section.

(e) Apply support money within each Title IV-D assistance case:

(i) First, to satisfy the current support obligation for the month ((the IV-D agency, or the support enforcement agency or other legal entity of another state or political subdivision, collected)) DCS received the money;

(ii) Second, to ((the responsible parent's)) satisfy support debts ((owed to the family)) which are permanently assigned to the department to reimburse the cumulative amount of assistance which has been paid to the family;

(iii) Third, to ((the responsible parent's)) satisfy support debts which are temporarily assigned to the department to reimburse ((public)) the cumulative amount of assistance ((payments)) paid to the family;

(iv) Fourth, to prepaid support as provided for under subsection (((4))) (5) of this section.

(f) Apply ((intercepted federal income tax refunds in accordance with 45 CFR 303.72(h), as follows)) support money within each Title IV-D former-assistance case:

(i) First, ((under federal law to the responsible parent's)) to satisfy the current support ((debts assigned to the department to reimburse public assistance payments; and)) obligation for the month DCS received the money;

(ii) Second, to ((support debts that are not assigned to the department; and

(iii) To support debts only, not to current and future support obligations. The IV-D agency shall refund any excess to the responsible parent)) satisfy support debts which accrued after the family's most recent period of assistance;

(iii) Third, to satisfy support debts which are permanently assigned to the department to reimburse the cumulative amount of assistance which has been paid to the family;

(iv) Fourth, to satisfy support debts which are temporarily assigned to the department to reimburse the cumulative amount of assistance which has been paid to the family;

(v) Fifth, to satisfy support debts which exceed the cumulative amount of unreimbursed assistance which has been paid to the family;

(vi) Sixth, to prepaid support as provided for under subsection (5) of this section.

(g) Apply intercepted federal income tax refunds in accordance with 42 U.S.C. Sec. 657, as follows:

(i) First, to support debts which are permanently assigned to the department to reimburse public assistance payments; and

(ii) Second, to support debts which are temporarily assigned to the department to reimburse public assistance payments; and

(iii) Third, to support debts that are not assigned to the department; and

(iv) To support debts only, not to current and future support obligations. DCS shall refund any excess to the responsible parent.

(h) Apply amounts to a support debt owed for one family or household and distribute the amounts accordingly, rather than make a proportionate distribution between support debts owed to different families, when:

(i) Proportionate distribution is administratively inefficient; or

(ii) The collection resulted from the sale or disposition of a specific piece of property against which a court awarded the physical custodian a judgment lien for child support; or

(iii) The collection resulted from a contempt order in a particular case.

(((h))) (i) Report amounts distributed to a family, receiving public assistance, to the community services office. This requirement shall not relieve the recipient of the duty to report receipt of support money((; and

(i) Pay a family, receiving cash assistance under the aid to families with dependent children program, up to the first fifty dollars of each child support payment as provided under WAC 388-14-275)).

(4) Except as provided in subsection (3)(g) of this section, when the responsible parent has more than one Title IV-D case, DCS shall distribute support money:

(a) First, to the current support obligation on each Title IV-D case, in proportion to the amount of the current support order on each case; and

(b) Second, to the total of the support debts whether owed to the family or to the department for the reimbursement of public assistance on each Title IV-D case, in proportion to the amount of support debt owed by the responsible parent on each case; and

(c) Third, after distribution under subsection (3)(d)(ii) of this section, within each Title IV-D case according to subsection (3)(e) of this section.

(5) If ((the IV-D agency)) DCS receives or collects support money representing payment on the required support obligation for future months, it shall:

(a) Apply the support money to future months when the support debt is paid in full;

(b) Distribute the support money on a monthly basis when payments become due in the future; and

(c) Mail a notice to the last known address of the person entitled to receive support money. The notice shall inform the person that:

(i) ((The IV-D agency)) DCS received prepaid support money;

(ii) ((The IV-D agency)) DCS will distribute the prepaid money as support payments become due in the future; and

(iii) ((If the support order is a court order, the person may petition the court that entered the support order for an order requiring the immediate distribution of the prepaid support money; or

(iv) If the support order is an administrative order,)) The person may request a conference board under WAC 388-14-385 to determine if the prepaid support money should be immediately distributed.

(d) ((The IV-D agency)) DCS shall not mail the notice referred to in (((4))) (5)(c) of this section if the prepaid support is equal to or less than one month's support obligation.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 34.05.220(1), 74.08.090, 74.20A.310 and 26.23.035. 97-13-092, 388-14-270, filed 6/18/97, effective 7/19/97. Statutory Authority: RCW 26.23.035. 92-13-026 (Order 3403), 388-14-270, filed 6/9/92, effective 7/10/92. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090. 90-17-001 (Order 2979), 388-14-270, filed 8/2/90, effective 9/2/90. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.057. 89-10-070 (Order 2794), 388-14-270, filed 5/3/89. Statutory Authority: 1988 c 275. 89-01-049 (Order 2738), 388-14-270, filed 12/14/88. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090. 88-07-012 (Order 2606), 388-14-270, filed 3/4/88; 86-05-009 (Order 2340), 388-14-270, filed 2/12/86; 85-01-004 (Order 2174), 388-14-270, filed 12/6/84; 80-01-026 (Order 1465), 388-14-270, filed 12/14/79; Order 1054, 388-14-270, filed 9/25/75.]

NEW SECTION

WAC 388-14-201 Cooperation with division of child support. (1) An applicant/recipient (also called the "client") must cooperate with the division of child support (DCS), which is the state IV-D agency, unless the department determines there is good cause not to cooperate under WAC 388-215-1400 through 388-215-1490. For purposes of this section and WAC 388-14-202, DCS includes those acting on behalf of DCS (its "agents"), namely the prosecuting attorney, the attorney general, or a private attorney paid per RCW 74.20.350.

(2) Cooperation means giving information, attending interviews, attending hearings, or taking actions to help DCS establish and collect child support. This information and assistance is necessary for DCS to:

(a) Identify and locate the responsible parent;

(b) Establish the paternity of the child(ren) on assistance in the client's care; and

(c) Establish or collect support payments or resources such as property due the client or the child(ren).

(3) The client must also cooperate by sending to DCS any child support received by the client while on assistance, as required by RCW 74.20A.320. If the client keeps these payments, known as retained support, the client must sign an agreement to repay under RCW 74.20A.275.

(4) There may be penalties, called sanctions, for not cooperating with DCS. These sanctions and the noncooperation process are described in WAC 388-14-201. A client will be sanctioned if:

(a) The client does not go to scheduled interviews and answer questions;

(b) There is credible evidence showing that the client could have given the information but did not; or

(c) The client has been giving inconsistent or false information without a good reason.

(5) The client must be given the opportunity to swear he or she does not have the information.

(6) The client will not be sanctioned because he or she provided information on a possible parent who was then excluded by genetic testing. In this event the client must continue to cooperate in naming other possible parents and taking part in any resulting genetic testing.

(7) The client may not be able to help DCS if the client does not know, does not possess, or cannot reasonably obtain the requested information. To avoid a sanction, the client must, under penalty of perjury, swear to his or her lack of information in an interview held by DCS or its agent.

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NEW SECTION

WAC 388-14-202 Effects of noncooperation. (1) When the division of child support (DCS) or its agents believe an applicant/recipient (also called "the client") is not cooperating as defined in WAC 388-14-201, a notice is sent to the client and to the community service office (CSO) of the alleged noncooperation and must explain to both the following:

(a) How the noncooperation was determined, including what actions were required;

(b) What actions must be taken to resume cooperation;

(c) That this notice was sent to the CSO;

(d) That the client may contact the CSO immediately if he or she disagrees with the notice, needs help in order to cooperate, or believes the actions required are unreasonable; and

(e) That the CSO may sanction the client by either reducing or terminating the grant.

(2) The CSO will send a notice of planned action to the client as provided by WAC 388-245-1700.

(3) Either the notice of alleged noncooperation or the CSO's notice of planned action may serve as the basis for a sanction.

(4) If the noncooperation was due to missing an interview without reasonable excuse, cooperation resumes when the client appears for a rescheduled interview and either provides information or attests to the lack of information. DCS or its agent must reschedule the interview within seven business days from the date the client contacts them to reschedule an interview.

(5) If the noncooperation was due to not taking a required action, cooperation resumes when the client takes that action.

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