Texas Health and Human Services Commission
Texas Works Handbook
Revision: 14-2
Effective: April 1, 2014

Part A — Section 1100

Child Support

A—1110  General Policy

Revision 13-2; Effective April 1, 2013

TANF and Medical Programs

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) Child Support Division is responsible for the child support program. The OAG attempts to establish and enforce child support and medical support for children on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and certain medical programs.

TANF

Caretakers and payees must cooperate in obtaining child support and medical support for a child receiving TANF unless good cause exists.

TP 08

Caretakers and second parents are mandatory participants and must cooperate in obtaining medical support for a child receiving Medicaid unless good cause exists. They may refuse assistance in obtaining child support, but not medical support. If the individual refuses assistance in obtaining child support, the OAG will not attempt to establish or enforce child support unless the individual has a previous TANF case with arrears that must be paid back to the state. Explain to individuals that when OAG pursues medical support, Texas courts also pursue a child support order. If the individual chooses medical support only, the OAG will not attempt to enforce the child support orders.

Related Policy
Good Cause, A-1130

Medical Programs except TP 08

Medical support requirements do not apply to children's medical programs. Exception: A pregnant woman receiving Medicaid must provide the name and last known address of the legal and/or biological father of her unborn child. Applicants and individuals may volunteer to receive child/medical support services. There is no penalty for noncooperation. Note: The OAG may contact and continue to collect benefits for a household receiving only children's medical assistance due to previous receipt of TANF.

Households may contact the OAG if they have questions or would like assistance in obtaining OAG services by calling 1-800-252-8014.

A—1111  Office of the Attorney General (OAG) Case Information and Inquiry

Revision 06-2; Effective April 1, 2006

TANF and Medical Programs

If the custodial or noncustodial parents or employers have questions regarding child support payments, distribution or withholdings, refer them to the local child support office or to 1-800-252-8014.

Refer custodial or noncustodial parents to the local OAG office if they request verification and certification of public assistance received. The OAG staff complete Form 1740, Request for Public Assistance Payment Certification, when the amount of public assistance is in question or when it is needed in court to establish child support. HHSC Fiscal Management Services (E-411) researches and certifies the amounts and date on Form 1745, Report of Total Public Assistance Payments, for the OAG.

A—1120  Child Support Program Requirements and Procedures

Revision 13-2; Effective April 1, 2013

TANF and Medical Programs

Use Form H1712, Explanation of Child/Medical Support, Family Violence and Good Cause, to explain the

  • child support process;
  • benefits of the child support program;
  • penalties for not cooperating;
  • details about the family violence option;
  • details of the good cause claim for not cooperating; and
  • individual's responsibility to
    • provide information to HHSC and OAG on all possible biological and/or legal parent(s);
    • help the OAG find the absent parent;
    • help the OAG establish paternity, if necessary;
    • go to the OAG office or to court to sign papers or provide necessary information; and
    • remit all child/medical support payments received after TANF is approved.

A—1121  Authorization and Assignment of Child and Medical Support

Revision 13-2; Effective April 1, 2013

TANF and TP 08

The assignment of rights to child and medical support is accomplished when an applicant signs Form H1010, Texas Works Application for Assistance — Your Texas Benefits. Signing Form H1010 gives the OAG permission to receive and process any child or medical support payments made payable to the TANF child.

A—1122  Parent Profiles for Child and Medical Support Referrals

Revision 02-6; Effective July 1, 2002

A—1122.1  Parent Profile Questionnaire

Revision 13-2; Effective April 1, 2013

TANF and TP 08

Form H0050, Parent Profile Questionnaire, information is required for each absent parent. Note: The absent parent information may be obtained verbally and entered onto Absent Parent page. If a child has both a legal and a biological absent parent, obtain information on both. The individual must provide the following minimum information about the absent parent unless the individual can reasonably explain why it is impossible or can establish good cause:

  • the absent parent's first and last name;
  • information about the relationship (divorced, separated, never married) between the child's mother and father; and
  • at least one of the following:
    • the absent parent's Social Security number,
    • the absent parent's current or last known address,
    • the absent parent's employer information (current and/or previous employer).

The advisor must address each item on Form H0050 and help the individual obtain information about the absent parent(s). The OAG establishes cases based on information collected from the applicant and entered by the advisor. Failure to provide complete and accurate information may affect the successful enforcement of child support.

TP 43, TP 44, TP 47 and TP 48

If the individual volunteers to receive services provided by the OAG , staff must collect absent parent information as noted above and refer the child's EDG to the OAG.

A—1122.2  Child Support and Medical Support Referrals

Revision 13-2; Effective April 1, 2013

TANF and Medical Programs except TP 40 and TP 36

Send referrals to the OAG on legal and biological parent(s):

  • when deprivation is based on absence;
  • when deprivation is based on death;
  • if paternity cannot be established using policy in A-1021, Unwed Parents Living Together, for a biological father who is in the home;
  • if the family volunteers to receive services provided by the OAG for Children's Medicaid programs; or
  • the adult caretaker receives TP 08. See A-1122.1, Parent Profile Questionnaire, for for Children's Medicaid programs.

Do not send a referral if:

  • a child in the home is not deprived because both parents are in the home or deprivation is based on unemployment or underemployment (TANF-SP);
  • a claim of good cause has been established;
  • deprivation is based on physical or mental incapacity; or
  • the legal or biological father of a pregnant woman's unborn child has no other children receiving Medicaid.

Review Form H0050, Parent Profile Questionnaire, with the individual to ensure no items are blank, that the individual provided complete and current information and entered the information in the Absent Parent LUW. TIERS automatically sends the referral to OAG.

A—1123  Updates to Child Support Referrals

Revision 13-2; Effective April 1, 2013

TANF and TP 08

Advise the client to report new information about the absent parent(s). At each redetermination, review the information previously submitted for accuracy and update items as needed. OAG will receive the update automatically.

A—1124  TANF

Revision 13-2; Effective April 1, 2013

After certification, TANF individuals must remit to the OAG all child support payments received for a certified child. Give the individual sufficient copies of Form H1710, Payment Identification, and OAG self-addressed envelopes, if payments are being made or might be made. When the individual receives a child support payment from an absent parent following certification, the individual must:

  • write on the check or money order "Deposit Only - State Treasury." Do not endorse the check or money order;
  • include Form H1710 with the check or money order; and
  • send it to the Texas Child Support Disbursement Unit, P.O. Box 659791, San Antonio, Texas 78265-9941.

If child support is intended for a child on TANF and one on SSI, the individual must remit the payment to the OAG for proration and distribution to occur.

If the individual turns in child support payments to the local office,

  • forward the payment(s) to the Child Support Disbursement Unit, and
  • give the individual a copy of Form H4100, Money Receipt.

Send Form H1701, Child Support, TANF Foster Care and TANF/Medicaid Case Information Exchange, to OAG if you become aware that the individual did not remit a child support payment. Include amounts and months involved. Follow policy in A-1140 to sanction the individual for noncooperation. If the individual indicates they will continue to keep child support received from the absent parent, follow policy in B-700 and process a claim for the month(s) of unreported income.

If OAG becomes aware that the individual received child support and did not remit the payments, the child support officer notifies the advisor on Form H1701. The advisor must process a claim for the unreported income.

TANF-SP

Do not require the household to remit any child support collected on behalf of a non-mutual child.

Related Policy
Remitting Cash Medical Support Payments to the TPR Unit, A-861.5
Child Support, A-1326.2

A—1125  OAG Distribution

Revision 13-2; Effective April 1, 2013

TANF

After individuals are certified for TANF, they must send all child support payments received to the OAG Child Support Division. OAG:

  • sends the $75 disregard to the individual,
  • reimburses the state for TANF paid to the individual, and
  • sends HHSC the monthly interface file of child support collections for TANF recipients.

HHSC uses the information to determine if the collection exceeds the grant plus the disregard, and to determine grant in jeopardy if it exceeds the grant.

If the individual receives child support for an SSI child in the household, the OAG will distribute (directly to the individual) the prorated share of support intended for the SSI child.

The month after the OAG receives a child support payment they send the individual up to $75 (disregard payment). The amount sent is the lesser of:

  • the court-ordered payment amount,
  • the amount the OAG received during a given month, or
  • $75.

When OAG receives a child support collection that exceeds the grant plus unreimbursed assistance, the excess is sent to the individual. Form H1714, Notice of Grant Jeopardy, Form H1715, Notice of Excess Payment, Form H1716, Notice of Grant Jeopardy/Excess Payment - Transfer to TP 20, or Form H1717, Notice of Grant Jeopardy/Excess Payment - Denial, will notify you of the date and amount of the payment.

For EDGs involving SSI children, this may generate a grant-in-jeopardy EDG. In processing the grant in jeopardy, the advisor must review the EDG and verify the child support payment to determine if the prorated share of child support exceeds the TANF grant minus the disregard. If it does, transfer the case to TP 20. If it does not, document the findings and allow the TANF EDG to continue.

Example: The household consists of a caretaker and one child who receives TANF and one child who receives SSI.
- $300 child support for both children
- - 150 will go directly to SSI child
- 150 child support for TANF child
- - 75 disregard
- $75 does not exceed TANF for a caretaker and one child; the state retains the child support and the TP 20 EDG is not approved.

Note: If the individual appeals the action described in A-852, Automated Transfer Process, and receives continued benefits, count the excess payment as income during the appeal period if you anticipate the child support payments will continue.

Related Policy
Automated Transfer Process, A-852
Child Support, A-1326.2
$75 Disregard, A-1422
Automated Support System, C-830

A—1130  Explanation of Good Cause

Revision 13-2; Effective April 1, 2013

TANF and TP 08

Advisors must explain the family violence option and good cause to all individuals. Use Form H1712, Explanation of Child/Medical Support, Family Violence and Good Cause, to explain the family violence exemption. The explanation must include the situations that justify good cause and the required evidence. Advisors must also explain that individuals do not have to cooperate with child support or medical support requirements if they can prove that cooperation is not in the child's best interest. Individuals must claim good cause separately for each absent parent. Notify the OAG of the individual's claim of good cause.

Submit Form H1713, Service Plan for Family Violence Option and Report of Good Cause, to the local child support office and state office to report the final decision.

Note: State office uses the good cause determination information for TANF federal reporting.

A—1131  Good Cause Situations

Revision 13-2; Effective April 1, 2013

TANF and TP 08

Good cause exists when:

  • A child was conceived as a result of incest or rape.
  • Legal proceedings for the child's adoption are pending before a court or a licensed or private social agency is helping the individual decide whether to keep the child or relinquish the child for adoption. This issue must not have been under discussion more than three months.
    Note: Staff must update the absent parent referral if the issue remains unsolved beyond the third month.
  • A child or caretaker may be physically harmed.
  • A child or caretaker may be emotionally harmed to the extent that the caretaker's capacity to adequately care for the child is impaired.

A—1131.1  Good Cause for Family Violence Option

Revision 13-2; Effective April 1, 2013

TANF and TP 08

Advisors must explain and offer the family violence option at each application and redetermination.

If the individual indicates they would like to claim good cause:

The advisor makes an assessment referral to the family violence program specialist. A list of family violence shelters is located at www.hhsc.state.tx.us/Help/family-violence/centers.shtml.

If conducting a face-to-face interview, the referral can be a telephone interview from the local eligibility determination office to the family violence specialist. Only a family violence specialist can make a recommendation of good cause relating to family violence. Note: Follow the procedures below for referring the individual to the closest family violence program if unable to conduct a telephone interview between the individual and the family violence specialist.

If conducting a telephone interview, complete the top portion of Form H1713, Service Plan for Family Violence Option and Report of Good Cause, and provide it to the individual with Form H0050, Parent Profile Questionnaire, along with the name and number of the closest family violence shelter. If no shelter serves the individual's area, provide the individual with the National Domestic Violence Hotline number 800-799-SAFE (800-799-7233) or 800-787-3324 TTY for individuals who are deaf, to assist the individual in locating the closest family violence program.

Instruct the individual to:

  • contact the shelter;
  • ask to speak to a family violence specialist;
  • explain that the individual is claiming good cause for not complying with TANF or Medicaid child support requirements and needs a recommendation; and
  • after receiving the recommendation, complete and sign Part 1 of Form H1713 and return it to the local office.

Remind the individual that a completed Form H0050 is required if the family violence specialist determines there is not good cause or the individual decides not to pursue good cause.

Allow the individual 10 days to return Form H1713 and Form H0050.

The family violence specialist makes a recommendation about the good cause claim, completes Form H1706 and mails or faxes it to the local office. Retain a copy of the form in the electronic case record.

Retain a copy of the original Form H1713 in the electronic case record.

If the family violence specialist determines good cause does not exist or Form H1713 is returned indicating the individual does not wish to claim good cause, require Form H0050 and complete the EDG.

Once the claim is established, re-evaluate the claim at each redetermination. If the individual is no longer claiming good cause, update the absent parent referral to allow the OAG to assist the family in obtaining child support and/or medical support services for their children. If the individual continues to claim good cause, continue to allow good cause.

The advisor:

  • completes Part II and Part III of Form H1713;
  • sends a copy to the local child support office; and
  • sends a copy to the family violence coordinator to report the final decision. The form may be submitted by using one of the following processes:
    • Family Violence Coordinator, Mail Code 2010
    • Family Violence Coordinator
      909 W. 45th St., MC 2010
      Austin, TX 78751
    • Familyviolence2@hhsc.state.tx.us (completed and scanned documents only)

A—1131.2  Good Cause Related to Adoptions, Rape or Incest

Revision 13-2; Effective April 1, 2013

TANF and TP 08

If an individual claims good cause based on an adoption, rape or incest, advisors must allow individuals 20 days to provide evidence. Extend the deadline for evidence if additional time is needed to obtain the necessary information. Document the reason for extending the deadline and obtain supervisory approval. Flag the case and evaluate the evidence when you receive it and recommend that the individual:

  • has good cause for not cooperating and the OAG should not continue child support locate and enforcement efforts; or
  • does not have good cause for not cooperating and OAG should continue child support locate and enforcement efforts.

Note: For adoption situations, the issue must not have been under discussion for more than three months. If the issue is unresolved beyond the third month, staff must update the absent parent referral.

A—1140  Noncooperation with Child Support Program Requirements

Revision 13-2; Effective April 1, 2013

TANF and TP 08

At initial certification and redetermination or incomplete reviews, determine if the individual failed to cooperate with child support requirements.

Determine noncooperation when:

  • an individual fails to cooperate with child support requirements without good cause (See A-1120, Child Support Program Requirements and Procedures, for individual responsibilities.); or
  • HHSC receives a Form H1708-A, Report of Noncooperation, from OAG cia the weekly interface.

Medical Programs except TP 08

There is no penalty for noncooperation. Do not take any action on an individual who volunteers to receive child and medical support services but later noncomplies.

A—1141  Sanctions for Noncooperation

Revision 13-2; Effective April 1, 2013

TANF

Adult TANF recipients, second parents and minor parents certified as adults, payees or disqualified adults are required to sign Form H1073, Personal Responsibility Agreement (PRA), and cooperate with child support requirements. Failure to do so results in a full-family sanction. If the TANF recipient or payee has more than one TANF EDG and fails to cooperate with child support requirements, the sanction applies to all their TANF EDGs. See A-2140, Full-Family Sanction, and A-2150, Pay for Performance.

TANF and TP 08

The Child Support Division of the OAG notifies HHSC via a weekly interface when an individual fails to cooperate with child support or medical support. Upon receipt of the notice of child support noncooperation, HHSC must take action to process the noncooperation within five workdays. See A-2140 and A-2150.

Adults, second parents and minor parents certified as adults receiving TP 08 must cooperate in establishing medical support and child support. Failure to cooperate with requirements results in the noncooperating adult losing medical coverage.

Deny a noncooperating adult's TP 08 EDG if the individual is the only certified household member. Disqualify a noncooperating adult on a TP 08 EDG if more than one adult is certified. See A-1142, Noncooperation Situations.

Note: OAG has established procedures to allow HHSC individuals the opportunity to cooperate within 30 days when the noncooperation resulted from a missed court date.

Medical Programs except TP 08

Recipients applying for Children's Medicaid programs, including TP 40 for a pregnant teen under age 19, are not required to cooperate with child support requirements. Therefore, there is no penalty for noncooperation. Recipients may volunteer for child support services.

A—1142  Noncooperation Situations

Revision 14-2; Effective April 1, 2014

TANF and TP 08

If a child support noncooperation is received on ... and the household does not have good cause, then ...
a denied EDG in a TANF cash benefit month,
  • TIERS identifies the noncooperation; and
  • sends Form TF0001, Notice of Case Action, advising the household of the noncooperation and how to cooperate.

Note: If the household fails to cooperate by the last calendar day of the second month, they will be subject to pay for performance requirements when they reapply for TANF.

a denied case in a non-TANF cash benefit month, no action is required.
an active TANF or TP 08 EDG, the month after the child is no longer in the home, and the noncooperation date is after the date the child was removed from the EDG,

no further action is required.

an EDG already sanctioned for a child support noncooperation on a different absent parent, TIERS sends Form TF0001 advising the household of the noncooperation and how to cooperate.

Note: The Office of the Attorney General will not issue Form H1701, Child Support, TANF Foster Care and TANF/Medicaid Case Information Exchange, until the individual cures all noncooperations.

an active TP 08 EDG, TIERS:
  • denies the noncooperating adult's TP 08 EDG if that adult is the only certified household member.
  • disqualifies the noncooperating adult on a TP 08 EDG if more than one adult is certified.
  • an active EDG and the child receives SSI,
  • a TANF-SP EDG with a child in the household who is deprived due to the absence of a parent,
  • an active TANF cash EDG and the individual and absent parent have reconciled and are in the home together, or
  • an active TP 08 EDG and the individual and absent parent have reconciled and are in the home together,

refer to A-2140, Full-Family Sanction, to impose a full-family sanction. If the household fails to cure the noncooperation before the last day of the second noncooperation month, they will need to reapply under pay for performance.

TIERS:

  • denies the noncooperating adult's TP 08 EDG if that adult is the only certified household member.
  • disqualifies the noncooperating adult on a TP 08 EDG if more than one adult is certified.

Note: Determine if the individual has good cause for not cooperating with child support requirements using policy in A-1130, Explanation of Good Cause. If the individual has good cause, do not impose a full-family sanction.

Related Policy
Explanation of Good Cause, A-1130
Noncooperation with Child Support Program Requirements, A-1140
Good Cause for Child Support Noncooperation, A-2122.3
Full-Family Sanction, A-2140
Pay for Performance, A-2150

A—1150  Verification Requirements

Revision 13-2; Effective April 1, 2013

TANF and TP 08

Verify all good cause claims.

A—1151  Verification Sources

Revision 13-2; Effective April 1, 2013

TANF and TP 08

Acceptable evidence for:

  • emotional or physical harm for individuals — A written recommendation from a family violence specialist. The specialist must be an employee of a family violence program that contracts with HHSC. The family violence specialist completes Form H1706, Good Cause Recommendation, which serves as verification for the good cause claim.
  • incest or rape — A birth certificate or medical or law enforcement records indicating the circumstances surrounding the child's birth.
  • adoption or pending adoption — A court document, other related records, or written statement of the facts from the social services agency.

Related Policy
Questionable Information, C-920
Providing Verification, C-930

A—1160  Documentation Requirements

Revision 13-2; Effective April 1, 2013

TANF and Medical Programs

Document:

  • that the individual cooperated with the child support requirements.
  • the name and last known address of the legal and/or biological father of an unborn child if the mother receives TANF or Medicaid.
  • every aspect of the good cause investigation, the determination, the basis for the determination, and the evidence provided.
  • determination made at each re-evaluation of good cause. The re-evaluation must occur at each periodic review.
  • the reason an individual cannot provide minimum information on an absent parent.
  • that the individual did not want to volunteer for child/medical support services.

Related Policy
Documentation, C-940
The Texas Works Documentation Guide