This topic contains information on the following subjects:
4. Case closure.
Maintaining accurate participant data is the cornerstone for building and working CSS cases. When data is entered accurately entered and maintained properly, cases remain workable and CSS can provide the necessary services to the case participants.
Each case participant exists once in ACTS. When participant data is added to ACTS, the system assigns a unique identification number to that participant, the Master Participant Index (MPI) number. No participant in ACTS is assigned more than one MPI number, and no MPI number is is assigned to more than one participant.
A participant can be active in more than one CSS case and in more than one county. The same MPI number is used to identify the participant record regardless of the county or CSS caseworker taking the action. Updates to the participant record are synchronized across the counties in which the participant is active.
Case data is divided into the following categories:
CSS cases are eligible for closure if they meet at least one of the case closure criteria that are allowed by Federal regulation at 45 CFR 303.7 and 45 CFR 303.11 or by CSS policy.
Local CSS can elect to keep open a case that meets case closure criteria if potential exists for the collection of current support or arrearage payments. The case record should include documentation that the case closure criteria have been met and why the case is being kept open. The CSS agency must retain all records for CSS cases closed. The case must be kept open if the custodial parent supplies information in response to the Closure Notice that might lead to the establishment of paternity or a support order (or to the enforcement of an existing order), or if contact is re-established with the applicant.
Before a case is closed, it must be reviewed thoroughly to ensure that all activities are completed or ended appropriately and that all necessary documentation is included. Once a case is closed, CSS no longer has authority to take any actions in the case until after it is properly reopened by the receipt of an application or the referral for services.
When notifying a custodial parent of the closing of a case, local CSS also should explain that the case could be reopened at a later date if a change in circumstances occurs that could lead to the establishment of paternity or a support order or to the enforcement of an order.
The case must be kept open if the custodial parent supplies information in response to the Closure Notice that might lead to the establishment of paternity or a support order (or to the enforcement of an existing order), or if contact is re-established with the applicant.
For closure reasons that require prior notice to the custodial parent, CSS must select the appropriate code when generating the Case Closure Intent Notice (DSS-4617). BOTH CSS caseworkers and supervisors can generate this document, and ACTS automatically closes the case sixty (60) days later. Caseworkers do not need to refer a case to their supervisor for closure when using this document.
Case closure for reasons that DO NOT require notice to the custodial parent can be used ONLY by supervisors to close CSS cases.
The CSS agency must retain all records for CSS cases closed pursuant to these criteria for a minimum of three (3) years in accordance with the applicable Code of Federal Regulations.
A CSS case can be closed if any ONE of the following criteria is met:
1. A current support order is no longer in place and arrearages are under $500 or unenforceable under State law.
2. The noncustodial parent (NCP) or putative father is dead, and no further action can be taken, including a levy against the estate, or establishing paternity as provided by G.S. 49-14(C). For more information, see the Paternity chapter.
3. Paternity cannot be established because:
A. The child is at least eighteen (18) years old and action to establish paternity is barred by the statute of limitations, or
B. The putative father has been excluded by paternity testing or by the court, and no other putative father can be identified, or
C. The identity of the biological father is unknown and cannot be identified after diligent efforts, including at least one (1) interview with the custodial parent by the CSS agency.
4. The NCP’s location is unknown, and CSS has made repeated attempts to locate the NCP using multiple resources, all of which have been unsuccessful:
A. Over a one-year period when sufficient information DOES NOT exist to initiate an automated locate effort. “Sufficient information” is defined as the availability of the NCP's name and Social Security number, or
B. Over a three-year period when sufficient information exists to initiate an automated locate effort.
5. The NCP cannot pay support for the duration of the child's minority because the parent is in a psychiatric facility or a prison with no chance of parole, or the NCP has a medically-verified total and permanent disability with no evidence of support potential. Local CSS caseworkers must determine that no income or assets are available to the NCP that could be levied or attached for support.
6. The NCP is a citizen of, and lives in, a foreign country, does not work for the United States government or a company with offices in this country, has no reachable domestic income or assets, and CSS has been unable to establish reciprocity with the foreign country.
7. In a Non-TANF case, the agency is unable to contact the applicant within a sixty (60) calendar day period, despite an attempt of at least one (1) letter sent by first class mail to the last known address.
8. The Non-TANF applicant's noncooperation is documented, and an action by the applicant is essential for the next step in providing services.
9. The custodial parent in a Non-TANF case (or a former TANF, Medicaid, or IV-E case) requests case closure, and medical support or the arrearages that accrued under the support order are not assigned to the State.
10. IV-A, Medicaid, or IV-E had made a determination that Good Cause exists for not cooperating with CSS.
11. Location services in a Locate Only case have been provided.
12. The local CSS agency documents the failure of the Initiating state in an interstate responding case to take action which is essential for the next step in providing services.
13. An interstate responding case is closed at the request of the initiating state through an incoming CSENet transaction.
14. An interstate case is closed and income withholding is terminated at the request of the initiating state through an incoming CSENet transaction.
15. An interstate case is closed at the request of the initiating state as a result of FCR proactive matching
16. A duplicate case was built in ACTS.
17. A case participant other than the NCP is deceased.
18. The State Case Registry opens a Non-IV-D or “Private” case.
19. The State Case Registry closes a Non-IV-D or “Private” case.
For questions or clarification on any of the policy contained in these manuals, please contact your local county office.