This topic contains information on the following subjects:
3. Case composition;
A case can be created in the following ways:
1. CSS caseworkers receive an application for Non-TANF services and enter the information in ACTS that is required to create a case.
NOTE: When caseworkers receive a request from a potential Non-Public Assistance (NPA) applicant for information about the CSS program, they can enter information about the applicant in ACTS to create an unlinked "Inquiry Only" participant.
2. ACTS receives an automated referral through the EIS/ACTS interface and creates a new Public Assistance (PA) case without any action by the caseworker. (In some rare instances, caseworkers can create a PA case using ACTS.)
3. ACTS or a caseworker receives a new Interstate case referral. Until CSENet is fully operational, caseworkers enter the information in ACTS that is required to create the case.
Case intake always involves the entry of information about each participant in the case and the "linking" of these participants to create the case.
ACTS determines where a case is assigned based on the case's processing status, its processing unit, and the caseworker referral profiles in the responsible county/local office. The system also determines the CSS service(s) that must be performed in order for a case to progress toward full collections. It evaluates the case to determine the appropriate processing status and unit during nightly case referral batch processing and assigns the case to the appropriate county/local office, processing status and unit, and caseworker. Caseworkers can also change the assigned county/local office, processing status and unit, and/or caseworker for that case.
NOTE: ACTS also allows caseworkers with the appropriate security profile to make mass case reassignments. All (or part) of a caseworker's caseload can be assigned to other caseworkers without having to refer the cases individually.
A new case is created in ACTS for each new custodial parent (CP)/noncustodial parent (NCP) pair. For example:
NOTE: The CP is always the custodian of the child. Situations can exist where a case has IV-E or State Foster Home Fund (SFHF) as the CP, but DHHS (Department of Health and Human Services) or DMA (Division of Medical Assistance) should NEVER be the CP on a CSS case.
County Department of Social Services (DSS) agencies refer all appropriate TANF, IV-E, MAO, and SFHF cases to the local CSS agency. For TANF cases, Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) policy requires that the referral must be submitted no later than five (5) working days from the date of an application for Public Assistance (PA).
Application for services can be made by a person who has physical custody of or responsibility for a minor dependent child or who is owed arrearages under a court order in which ongoing support has ended. CSS must provide the applicant with an Application For Child Support Services (DSS-4451), an Application Supplemental Data Sheet (DSS-4688), and information about program services and procedures. To apply for CSS services, the applicant must complete and return the DSS-4451 and DSS-4688 documents and pay any appropriate application fee.
International child abduction cases are an exception.
Unemancipated minor children living separately from custodial parents (CPs) or guardians can request services to pursue child support on their own behalf from their own noncustodial parents (NCPs). When a minor receives Public Assistance (PA), the CSS agency has the duty to bring the action against the responsible parent(s) with or without the request having been made by the minor child (NCGS 110-130 and 110-138).
It is strongly recommended that all CSS interactions with a minor parent include an adult representative for the minor.
Any legal action on behalf of a minor CP is brought in the agency's name or in the name of the minor's guardian. A minor cannot sue in his/her own name without a guardian or guardian ad litem. Child support collected on behalf of the minor child is sent to the guardian whenever possible. However, in those instances where the minor is pursuing support from his/her own parents and is living separately from CPs or guardians, support can be distributed to a minor child in his/her own name.
To ensure basic efficiency and timeliness in CSS case processing, local CSS agencies must adhere to standard time frames within which required case activities must be accomplished. Adherence to these standards allows for the provision of program services on a timely basis and assures that the agency meets federally imposed audit criteria.
1. CSS must provide an application the same day, if requested in person, or within five (5) working days of a written or telephone quest.
2. Information describing services, rights and responsibilities, fees, and distribution policy must accompany all applications and be provided to AFDC/TANF, Medicaid, and IV-E applicants or recipients within five (5) working days of referral to CSS.
3. Within twenty (20) calendar days of receipt of an application or referral, all cases must be opened by establishing a case in ACTS, by soliciting and initiating verification of any needed information, and by ensuring that the case is in the correct processing status.
NOTE: CSS is not required to reopen a previously closed TANF, Foster Care, or Medicaid case when the re-determination of eligibility by the TANF, Foster Care, or Medicaid agency does not generate any new information for the CSS agency to use in establishing paternity/ support or enforcing a child support order.
For questions or clarification on any of the policy contained in these manuals, please contact your local county office.