Child Support & Paternity FAQ
GENERAL RULE: The caretaker relative shall be given the opportunity to claim good cause for refusing to cooperate. This does not include failure to forward support payments.
NOTE: Sanctions will not be applied nor benefits withheld while a good cause decision is pending.
RESPONSIBILITY OF THE ELIGIBILITY WORKER
The worker will inform the applicant/recipient:
- at the initial interview, of the right to claim good cause at any time;
- that they must provide evidence of good cause, with assistance from the Worker if necessary; and
that the decision will be based on evidence supplied and investigation of that evidence.
NOTE: This determination will be made within 45 days from the day the good cause claim was made, except where the case record documents that the agency needs additional time.
NOTE: Good cause must be reviewed at each redetermination of eligibility.
- that the findings may be reviewed by DSER and any recommendations considered in the final decision made by the Eligibility Worker. DSER shall be notified and given an opportunity to participate in any hearing; 5. that in case of noncooperation DSER may attempt to establish paternity and collect support when it can be done without risk to the family. In this situation the individual shall be given the opportunity to withdraw from the program.
CONDITIONS FOR GOOD CAUSE
- The child was conceived as a result of incest or rape.
- Legal proceedings for adoption of the child are pending before a court.
- The individual is being assisted by a licensed social service agency to decide whether to place the child for adoption and discussions have not gone on for more than 3 months.
- The individual or the child is a victim of domestic violence, which included physical injuries or the psychological effects of abuse, or cooperation could result in physical or emotional harm to the child or other family member.
Determination of good cause without further investigation is limited to the following specified documents:
- Birth certificates, medical or law enforcement records which indicate the child was conceived as a result of incest or forcible rape.
- Court documents or other records which indicate that legal proceedings for adoption are pending before a court.
- A written statement from a licensed social service agency showing that the applicant or recipient is being assisted in deciding whether to place the child for adoption.
- Court, medical, law enforcement, child protective, social services including domestic violence shelter, psychological, and other records which indicate that a putative father or absent parent might inflict physical or emotional harm on the child or caretaker relative.
- Sworn statements from individuals other than the applicant or recipient with knowledge of the circumstances which provide the basis for the good cause claim.
The agency will assist the applicant or recipient in obtaining the required evidence. No contact will be made with the absent parent or putative father until a good cause determination is made.
The determination of good cause will be made only if the evidence provided by the applicant/recipient and/or the investigation of the agency confirms that to cooperate will be against the best interest of the child or other family member.
The final determination that a claim of good cause is or is not valid will:
- be in writing;
- contain the agency's findings and basis of determination;
- be entered into the TANF or PaS record; and
- be made within 45 days unless case record documentation indicates that the agency needs additional time because information required to verify the claim cannot be obtained within the time standard or the claimant did not provide corroborative evidence within 20 days from the day in which the claim was made.