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Not a day later! Survivors have the right to stop child support collection when applying for TANF

An Asian mom and daughter sit together on a couch smiling and looking at each other. Text says "Survivors have the right to stop child support collection due to safety concerns" with WSCADV logo.

When survivors apply for TANF benefits (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) and qualify for child support, a child support collection case is immediately opened by the Division of Child Support, alerting the abusive parent.

For some domestic violence survivors, it is safer not to collect child support than it is to risk potential harassment, retaliation, or instability in their children’s lives as a result of this contact with their abuser.

The “Good Cause Exemption” can give survivors options as they navigate public benefits, and allow survivors to receive financial support through TANF without involving the other parent or requesting child support.

Here’s what’s new: The survivor has to tell their state worker about their fear or worries and complete the 18-334 form at the same time that they are applying for TANF – not a day later! If the Good Cause Exemption Form is submitted at the same time as the TANF application, a child support case will not be opened. The survivor does not need to provide proof of domestic violence with a police report or court order.

There are two things the survivor must do:

  1. On the 18-334 form, check the box that says “I have a good reason not to help. Please describe your reason outlining your fears and concerns on the next page.” Then, check as many reasons that apply on the next page of the form
  2. Sign the form as the “declaration” and submit the form to your case worker along with your TANF application.

Requesting the Good Cause Exemption by filling out the 18-334 form at the same time as the TANF application can stop the state from contacting the other parent for child support, keeping survivors and their kids safer. If you have any questions, please contact Kevin, Economic Justice Coordinator at WSCADV!