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Child Support Services Division



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Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

The TANF program is the time limited public welfare program which assists families with children when the parents or the responsible relatives cannot provide for the families’ basic needs.  The Medicaid Program provides medical benefits to groups of low-income people, some whom may have no insurance or inadequate medical insurance.

How do TANF/Medicaid & Child Support work together?

When a parent receives TANF and/or Medicaid, the District pays for the benefits to be provided to the parent and family.  In return for paying these benefits, the District is allowed to keep child support payments to reimburse itself for the cost of the benefits.

When I receive TANF/Medicaid, what happens to my child support payments?

Federal law says that every TANF and/or Medicaid customer must have a child support case.  When you apply for TANF and/or Medicaid, you assign your rights to receive child support to the child support program.

What does it mean to assign your rights?

Assignment of rights means that a parent transfers his or her rights to receive some or all of his/her child support payments to the District as payment for public assistance benefits he/she received from the District under TANF and/or Medicaid.

What is the Child Support Pass Through Program?

The District of Columbia will provide additional income to IV-D customers who receive TANF benefits. The law allows up to $150 of a NCP’s child support  payment to be distributed directly to the CP. The pass-through payment is provided to the CP in addition to the TANF benefits.

Will I receive $150?

You will receive the entire $150 if your current monthly obligation is $150 or more and the NCP pays.

Will the child support office find out I am receiving TANF? What if I do not report that I am receiving TANF to the child support office?

Yes. When you open a TANF and/or Medicaid case, the TANF office will automatically send your case information to the child support office to open a support case, whether or not paternity has been established.

The non-custodial parent does not know that I am receiving TANF. Will the non-custodial parent still be responsible for paying TANF arrears?

Yes, whether or not the non-custodial parent has knowledge that the custodial party is receiving TANF benefits does not change the non-custodial parent’s responsibility to pay TANF arrears.  If the non-custodial parent fails to pay child support when the custodial party is receiving TANF, the case will accrue arrears, which are charges for missed payments.  The non-custodial parent will be responsible for paying the current support amount and the TANF arrears.

What if I haven't been receiving my child support payments?

When the non-custodial parent falls behind in paying the child support obligation, he or she accrues arrears. You may be entitled to receive arrears depending on when the arrears accrued.

How long does an assignment of rights last?

The assignment ends when you no longer receive public assistance. When you are no longer receiving public assistance, you will receive your current support.  TANF customers who apply for TANF benefits on or after October 1, 2009 will not be required to assign their rights to receive child support arrears that existed before they applied for TANF.  They still assign rights to child support while on TANF, though.