In Texas, when a parent receives certain types of public assistance, a child support case may be opened automatically. Here’s what you need to know.
The Office of the Attorney General does not issue, manage or control public assistance. Instead, the Office of the Attorney General is responsible for child support establishment and enforcement — which may affect your benefits.
Medicaid and TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families)
TANF and certain types of Medicaid benefits may cause your case to be referred to the OAG for paternity establishment and child support services. These programs are managed by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.
HOW CAN TANF AND MEDICAID AFFECT MY CHILD SUPPORT?
Federal law requires all parents who receive TANF or Medicaid benefits through the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to cooperate with the Office of the Attorney General’s efforts to identify the child(ren)’s noncustodial parent, establish paternity, settle child support orders, complete child support modifications and enforce child support.
TANF recipients assign their right to child support collections to the state. This means the family will receive the first $75 collected during any month that a current child support payment is made. The remainder of the child support payment made will be applied toward reimbursing the state and federal governments for the TANF benefits received by the family. When the family no longer receives TANF, all current support payments made will be sent to the custodial parent.
Parents who receive certain types of Medicaid assign their right to cash medical support collections to the state. This money will be redirected to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to reimburse the state and federal governments for the Medicaid benefits received by the family.
If the children receive Medicaid benefits, but the adult does not, the adult has the option to request child support services.
If You Are Enrolled in Medicaid or TANF
If you are enrolled in the TANF program or are receiving Medicaid, there are a few important things to remember:
- Cooperation with the OAG is mandatory. Failure to cooperate with the child support process can lead to a reduction or elimination of your benefits.
- In some situations, HHSC can grant a parent a “good cause” exemption from cooperation with the OAG. This is most often granted due to family violence. If you have safety concerns about the child support process, call 2-1-1 and ask to speak to someone about a “good cause” exemption and for additional information visit the Get Child Support Safely website.
To view your benefits — and how they may be affected by child support obligation — communicate directly with HHSC through the "Your Texas Benefits" website.
Child Support and Family Violence
If you have safety concerns but would still like to seek child support, the Child Support Division can help. We do our best to ensure that a survivor avoids face-to-face interactions with the other parent, and we keep address information confidential. Visit the Child Support and Family Violence webpage to learn more.