§ 187.23. Requirements.

 (a)  Applicability. This chapter applies to applicants for and recipients of cash assistance if there is: The reported absence of a parent from the home of an unemancipated minor child; a putative father for an unemancipated minor child; or a spouse absent from the home. The absence of a parent from the home is determined according to the requirements under §  153.44(a) (relating to procedures).

 (b)  Cooperation requirements for child support. As a condition of eligibility for cash assistance, every applicant or recipient seeking or receiving cash assistance on behalf of an unemancipated minor child shall cooperate in establishing paternity of an unemancipated minor child with respect to whom assistance is sought and cooperate in obtaining support from an LRR for the unemancipated minor child, unless the applicant or recipient establishes good cause for failing to do so. Cooperation includes taking the following actions:

   (1)  Identifying the parents of an unemancipated minor child for whom assistance is sought or received, including appearing for scheduled genetic testing with the child and submitting to the testing.

     (i)   Failure of the mother to identify by name the father of an unemancipated minor child shall create a presumption of noncooperation which may be rebutted only by clear and convincing evidence.

     (ii)   If the applicant or recipient provides the names of two putative fathers subsequently excluded from paternity by genetic testing, the second exclusion shall create a presumption of noncooperation, which may be rebutted only by clear and convincing evidence.

   (2)  Keeping scheduled appointments with the Department or the DRS.

   (3)  Providing truthful and accurate information and documents requested by the Department or the DRS.

     (i)   When the whereabouts of a parent or putative father are unknown, the applicant or recipient will be required to take whatever steps are appropriate to the individual circumstances to locate the missing parent or putative father. This may include contacting relatives and friends for information about the whereabouts of the parent or putative father or giving consent to the CAO to contact other agencies, relatives and other individuals, or possible employers and similar resources.

     (ii)   The CAO will provide whatever help is appropriate to the individual circumstances of the applicant or recipient to assist in locating the missing parent or putative father and supplement the efforts of the applicant or recipient by checking appropriate governmental records.

     (iii)   Together, the CAO and the applicant or recipient will plan and agree on the specific steps to be taken to locate the missing parent or putative father. Assistance will be authorized or continued on the agreement of the applicant or recipient to take the specific steps within the time set for doing so.

   (4)  Signing and returning any forms requested by the Department or the DRS.

   (5)  Appearing as a witness and providing testimony at judicial and other hearings as requested by the DRS.

   (6)  Paying to the Department any support payment received directly from an absent parent after an assignment of support has been made.

 (c)  Cooperation criteria for spousal support. As a condition of eligibility for cash assistance, every applicant or recipient seeking or receiving cash assistance on behalf of himself and for whom there is an absent spouse shall cooperate in obtaining support unless the applicant or recipient establishes good cause for failing to do so. Cooperation includes the following:

   (1)  Naming the absent spouse.

   (2)  Keeping scheduled appointments with the Department or the DRS.

   (3)  Providing truthful and accurate information and documents requested by the Department or the DRS.

     (i)   When the whereabouts of a spouse is unknown, the applicant or recipient shall take whatever steps are appropriate to the individual circumstances to locate the missing spouse. This may include contacting relatives and friends for information about the whereabouts of the spouse or giving consent to the CAO to contact other agencies, relatives and other individuals or possible employers and similar resources.

     (ii)   The CAO will provide whatever help is appropriate to the individual circumstances of the applicant or recipient to assist in locating the missing spouse and supplement the efforts of the applicant or recipient by checking appropriate governmental records.

     (iii)   Together, the CAO staff and the applicant or recipient will plan and agree on the specific steps to be taken to locate the missing spouse. Assistance will be authorized or continued on the agreement of the applicant or recipient to take the specific steps within the time set for doing so.

   (4)  Signing and returning any forms requested by the Department or the DRS.

   (5)  Appearing as a witness and providing testimony at judicial and other hearings as requested by the DRS.

   (6)  Paying to the Department any support payment received directly from an absent spouse after an assignment of support has been made.

 (d)  Cooperation prior to authorization. Except as provided in paragraphs (3) and (4), every applicant or recipient of cash assistance shall cooperate in establishing paternity and obtaining support. The applicant or recipient shall:

   (1)  Appear before the DRS or other applicable division of the court of common pleas and provide to the CAO certification from the DRS of cooperation by the applicant or recipient of cash assistance in establishing paternity and in obtaining support.

   (2)  Cooperate with the procedures established for the county when a waiver of the personal appearance requirement is in place. The Secretary is authorized to waive the personal appearance requirement under paragraph (1) if another procedure would be as effective and efficient and a family court or DRS requests a waiver.

   (3)  In the case of a newborn, cooperate with the requirements under §  133.23(b)(4)(v) (relating to requirements).

   (4)  File a good cause claim. The cooperation requirements are waived from the time a good cause claim is filed until the CAO, court of common pleas or DRS makes a determination on the claim. If the CAO, court of common pleas or DRS determines that good cause exists, the cooperation requirements are waived as long as the good cause exists.

 (e)  Assignment of support rights. Acceptance of cash assistance shall operate as an assignment to the Department, by operation of law, of the assistance recipient’s rights to receive support, on the recipient’s own behalf and on behalf of any family member with respect to whom the recipient is receiving cash assistance. The assignment shall be effective only up to the amount of assistance received. The assignment shall take effect at the time that the individual is determined to be eligible for assistance. Upon termination of assistance payments, the assignment of support rights shall terminate, provided that any amount of unpaid support obligations shall continue as an obligation to and collectible by the Department to the extent of any unreimbursed assistance consistent with Federal law.

Authority

   The provisions of this §  187.23 amended under sections 201(2), 403(b) and 432 of the Public Welfare Code (62 P. S. § §  201(2), 403(b) and 432); the Support Law (62 P. S. § §  1971—1977); Titles I and III of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (Pub. L. No. 104-193) (PRWORA), creating the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program, and amending 42 U.S.C.A. § §  601—619, 651—669(b) and 1396u-1; section 5543 of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (Pub. L. No. 105-33) (42 U.S.C.A. §  653(p)); the Federal TANF regulations in 45 CFR 260.10—265.10; and the Domestic Relations Code, 23 Pa.C.S. § §  4301—4381, 5103, 7101—7901 and 8101—8418.

Source

   The provisions of this §  187.23 adopted August 4, 1977, effective August 5, 1977, 7 Pa.B. 2180; amended March 17, 1978, effective December 1, 1977, 8 Pa.B. 757; amended February 2, 1979, effective March 5, 1979, 9 Pa.B. 395; corrected March 2, 1979, effective March 5, 1979, 9 Pa.B. 745; amended March 7, 1980, effective April 1, 1980, 10 Pa.B. 977; amended July 11, 1980, effective September 3, 1980, 10 Pa.B. 2983; amended October 22, 1982, effective October 23, 1982, 12 Pa.B. 3782; amended October 4, 1991, effective October 5, 1991, apply retroactively to November 1, 1989, 21 Pa.B. 4643; amended September 13, 2002, effective retroactively to March 3, 1997, 32 Pa.B. 4435. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (244863) to (244868) and (261255) to (261256).

Notes of Decisions

   Enforcement of Child Support Obligation

   The Department of Public Welfare’s standing to enforce an unwed recipient’s right to receive child support payments from a noncustodial parent derives from State statutes, where a custodial parent must, as a condition precedent to receipt of benefits on behalf of the family filing unit, assign to the state any right to receive child support and assist in the collection of that support. Middleton/Department of Public Welfare v. Robinson, 728 A.2d 368 (Pa. Super. 1999).

   Good Cause for Refusal to Cooperate

   Notwithstanding testimony by a welfare recipient’s mother, sister-in-law, and landlady as to harassment by the putative father which impaired her ability to care for her children, given her failure to submit a physician’s statement corroborating her testimony of a visit to the physician to secure a prescription for a tranquilizer, it was not a capricious disregard of competent evidence for the hearing examiner to find that the recipient had failed to prove good cause under subsection (a). Bootes v. Department of Public Welfare, 439 A.2d 883 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1982).

   Where an applicant for cash assistance claimed that she had ‘‘good cause’’ for refusing to cooperate in obtaining child support from her son’s father on grounds that the pursuit of support would result in potential physical and emotional harm to herself and her son, but failed to timely submit requested additional documentation in support of her ‘‘good cause’’ petition, the applicant was properly found ineligible for the cash assistance benefit. Renee v. Department of Public Welfare, 702 A.2d 575 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1997); appeal denied 725 A.2d 1224 (Pa. 1998).

Cross References

   This section cited in 55 Pa. Code §  125.1 (relating to policy); 55 Pa. Code §  133.23 (relating to requirements); 55 Pa. Code §  141.21 (relating to policy); 55 Pa. Code §  183.901 (relating to putative father/voluntary child support—statement of policy); 55 Pa. Code §  187.25 (relating to notification to the applicant or recipient); 55 Pa. Code §  187.26 (relating to noncooperation); and 55 Pa. Code §  187.73 (relating to requirements).



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