When to attempt contact with another responsible adult or agency
Because children are not ordinarily in a position to pursue their claims independently,
special efforts must be made in FTC cases to identify and contact another adult or
agency responsible for the child’s care.
If the child/payee is not providing the requested information or cooperating, use
all available information in file and/or provided by the payee to determine whether
there may be another responsible party who can help the child.
A child welfare or other agency with legal custody is the responsible party of choice,
but, if an agency does not have legal custody, the FO may find that the child lives
with and/or is cared for by several adults, any one of whom may be willing and able
to assist the child.
If available information indicates there are potential sources of assistance, but
does not suggest a particular individual, a telephone call to the household may in
many cases be the most productive approach to determine from whom to request assistance.
If there is more than one party who may be able and willing to assist, the FO should
use its discretion in deciding which party to contact.
A good-faith effort to locate and contact a responsible party is required. If efforts
to contact a potential responsible party are unsuccessful, or the party contacted
proves unable or unwilling to provide the needed information/cooperation, the FO is
not required to conduct a further search for yet another potential responsible party.
Some specific examples of possible contacts are:
Child lives with the uncooperative payee and another parent, relative, or other adult
If the child lives with an uncooperative payee and a parent, the parent should be
contacted. If the child lives with both parents, one of whom is the uncooperative
payee, the other parent should be contacted. (A non-custodial parent, i.e., a parent
who does not live with the child, should not be contacted unless named in the file
as a potential source of assistance.)
Besides the payee, one or more other adults who are not the child’s parents but who
live in the same household may, in some cases, take responsibility for a child. In
FTC situations, if the uncooperative payee, or information in the file, indicates
that another adult in the household does take responsibility for the child’s care,
the FO should contact that individual to request the needed information or cooperation.
(The FO should be alert to whether there may be such other responsible adults in the
household in any contacts with the payee who has not yet provided the necessary information.);
Child lives with someone other than the payee
If the payee is not cooperating, and the child lives with someone else, that person
should be contacted. For example, if the child’s mother is the payee but the child
lives with his or her grandmother, the grandmother may be able to assist the child
in completing the review; or
Child regularly cared for in another household
If the child is frequently in the care of a relative (or possibly a non-relative,
if there is clearly a parental-type relationship with the child) who does not live
in the same household, that person may be an appropriate source of assistance; or
Child welfare or other agency has legal custody of the child
An agency with legal custody is responsible for providing the information we need
(even if the payee is someone else, e.g., a foster parent). Contact is normally made
with whoever has physical custody, but if that person is uncooperative, the needed
information or assistance must be requested from the party with legal custody.
As soon as it appears that the child’s payee is missing, no longer acting for the
child, or is uncooperative, follow the instructions in GN 00504.100 to determine the need for a new payee.
If the uncooperative payee is entitled as a young wife (B2) or widowed mother (E)
and the only child in his/her care is the disabled minor child or the disabled adult
child who is suspended due to FTC, benefits to the B2 or E are suspended effective
with the month of suspension of the disabled child per SM 03020.050B. (See OS 00501.030 for the list of beneficiary identification codes (BIC)).