If you receive public assistance and have a child under 21 in your household, you must cooperate with child support requirements. This means you must help establish paternity (who the father is) and get child support from the absent parent. The child support payments will go to repay the public assistance you receive.

There are some exceptions. You may be excused from cooperating if you have “good cause.” Good cause means cooperating would cause harm to you or your child. For example, the absent parent was abusive. If you claim good cause, the Department of Social Services (DSS) will investigate. If they deny your claim, you can appeal by requesting a Fair Hearing. You can request a hearing by phone, mail, fax or internet. While your claim is being reviewed, you cannot be punished for not cooperating with child support.

Learn more about the requirements and process from the Office of Child Support Services.

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Last Reviewed: October 19, 2023