TN 80 (04-99)
SI 00830.425 Support Payments — AFDC/TANF Involvement
Social Security Act, as amended, sections 1612(a)(2)(E) and 1612(b)(9);
20 CFR 416.1121(b) and 416.1124(c)(11); The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (
The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 replaced Title IV-A of the Social Security Act (which provided for AFDC) with cash block grants to States for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) (SI 00830.403). States were to have their TANF plans in effect by 7/1/97, unless granted an exception by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF). As with AFDC, TANF requires an individual to assign to the State any rights to support from any other person which the recipient may have on his/ her own behalf or on behalf of any family member for whom he/she is applying for or receiving assistance. Thus, the rules below apply to support payments with AFDC or TANF involvement.
"Support" means both child and spousal support.
B. Process state programs
1. Distribution of Support
The State distributed any support it collected according to provisions in Federal law. Often, the State would send the first $50 of support collected in a month on behalf of the AFDC family unit to that family unit. (If the total support collected was less than $50, the entire amount was sent to the unit.) Any remaining amount of support was kept by the State as reimbursement of AFDC payments made to the family unit. If the State collected more support than it was entitled to keep as reimbursement for AFDC paid, it would forward the excess to the AFDC family unit.
Note that a State TANF program (unlike AFDC) is not required to send the first $50 of support collected in a month on behalf of the TANF family unit to that unit. In addition, some States may pass through more than the first $50 per month of support payments.
2. After AFDC/TANF Stops
When an SSI recipient has been removed from the AFDC/TANF family unit and is no longer included in the money payment, the assignment of rights to support for that individual is no longer valid (except with respect to any unpaid support obligation that has accrued under the assignment). Therefore, the SSI recipient is entitled to receive from the State his/her share of any support collected on his/her behalf. A parent of an SSI child may contact the local child support enforcement agency and request direct payment of the SSI child's share of any child support payment.
3. Combined Payments
A State may combine several types of payments in one check (e.g., an AFDC/TANF payment and the first $50 (or more) of a support payment).
1. Retained by State
Child support collected by a State and retained as reimbursement for AFDC/ TANF payments is not income to an SSI recipient. This is true even if the original support was collected on behalf of an SSI child.
2. Pass-Through Amount
Child support collected by a State and paid to an AFDC/TANF assistance unit as a pass-through of child support is not income to an SSI child if the AFDC/TANF unit would have received the same pass-through payment with the SSI child (i.e., the child's needs and income) removed from the AFDC/TANF family unit.
If the AFDC/TANF family would have received a lower pass-through amount with the SSI child removed from the AFDC/TANF family unit, the difference between the pass-through amount actually paid and the pass-through amount which could have been paid had the child not been included in the AFDC /TANF family unit is income in the form of child support to the SSI child. (See SI 00830.420 and the procedures in SI 00830.425D. below.)
3. Amount in Excess of the Pass-Through Amount
Child support collected by a State but forwarded to an AFDC/TANF family because the support exceeds the amount which the State is entitled to keep as reimbursement for AFDC/TANF is a payment of child support.
A per capita portion of this payment is income in the form of child support to the SSI child (SI 00830.420). (The per capita portion is determined by dividing the excess payment by the number of children on whose behalf the child support payment was originally made, not by the number of people in the AFDC/TANF grant.)
4. "Gap Payments"
Child support collected by a State and paid to an AFDC/TANF unit as a payment to "fill the gap" between the State payment standard and need standard is not child support. Gap payments are AFDC/TANF payments to the assistance unit.
EXAMPLE: The State's TANF need standard for the SSI child's household size is $300 a month. The State's maximum monthly TANF payment for the household size is $125.
The State collects $150 a month in child support for the household. $50 a month is sent to the household as a child support "pass-through" payment. Following the policy in C.2.a. above, the CR determines that the $50 is not income to the SSI child (i.e., the TANF unit would have received the same pass-through payment with the SSI child removed from the TANF unit). The household receives no income other than TANF and the child support.
The State makes "gap payments" and pays the remainder of the child support it collects—$100 ($150 - $50)—to the household. For SSI purposes, the $100 is considered to be part of the TANF grant and should be input as Type "F" income which is counted dollar for dollar. (It is not considered child support.)
In this example, the household receives $225 total TANF. The $125 State maximum monthly TANF payment plus the $100 gap payment.
5. Direct Child Support
Support collected by a State on behalf of an SSI child and paid as a child support payment directly to the family is income in the form of child support to the SSI child (SI 00830.420).
NOTE: Occasionally, a State will collect support (e.g., alimony) on behalf of an adult in an AFDC/TANF family unit. Other than the one-third exclusion, this adult support is subject to the same SSI policies as child support with AFDC/TANF involvement.
1. Identifying Child Support Pass-Through and "Gap" Payments
Consult regional instructions for any State-specific procedures pertaining to identification and verification of AFDC/TANF child support pass-through payments and gap payments. If there are no State-specific instructions, follow the instructions below.
2. Assumption—$50 Payment
Unless there is only one child in the family, assume that a regularly recurring payment of $50 or less made by the State AFDC/TANF agency or child support agency in addition to the regular AFDC/TANF payment is a pass-through of child support and is not income to the SSI recipient (i.e., the AFDC/TANF family would receive the payment even if the AFDC/TANF agency did not consider the SSI individual and/or the individual's share of the child support).
NOTE: If this assumption applies, no further development or documentation on this issue is necessary. If this assumption does not apply, (i.e., there is only one child in the household), see SI 00830.425D.4. below.
3. Assumption — "Gap Payments"
If the State makes gap payments, assume that the gap payment, whether included in the AFDC/TANF payment or paid separately, is taken into consideration by the State when it provides SSA with information about AFDC/TANF income.
NOTE: When this assumption applies, no further development or documentation on the issue is necessary.
4. Accept Allegations
NOTE: No further development or documentation of such child support is needed.
5. Verification When Assumptions Do Not Apply
Verify all State payments related to child support and not subject to the assumptions in SI 00830.425D.2. and
SI 00830.425D.3. above using documents in the individual's possession or contact with the appropriate State or local agency.
If no documents are available and the State cannot or will not provide the necessary information in a timely manner, adjudicate the case based on any statement the individual makes about the payment and your general knowledge of such payments. Obtain verification postadjudicatively.
If the State is retaining child support paid on behalf of an SSI child, remind the individual that he/she must inform us promptly if the State begins to send this child support directly to the family.
NOTE: If it appears that a check from the State might include an AFDC or TANF payment as well as a support payment, follow the instructions in SI 00830.400 (AFDC) or SI 00830.403 (TANF) to determine the amount of each type of payment. Do not adjudicate the case on the basis of the individual's statement alone.