Child Support Services Policy

Published Date: March 30, 2012
Bookmark this page

06 Other Client Groups

Other Albertans with Low Income

IESA Section 30
CASS Regulation Section 4

INTENT

To ensure all eligible Albertans with low income have appropriate access to Child Support Services (CSS) according to legislative authority, program policy and CSS guiding principles.

POLICY

Suitability and Eligibility

The Income and Employment Supports Act (IESA) Part 5 Section 30 provides authority for the Child Support Services (CSS) program to provide services to other eligible Albertans with low income. Other Albertans with low income refers to applicants who are not receiving assistance and meet CSS eligibility requirements. This includes Albertans who are referred to CSS through the Service Needs Determination process.

To receive CSS, an applicant must meet suitability and eligibility criteria [Child and Adult Support Services (CASS) Regulation Section 4(1)(2)]. The CSS program assesses suitability and eligibility as follows:

  1. The Child Support Worker (CSW) determines if the applicant has an existing support order or enforceable agreement. If an order/agreement exists, the applicant is screened out and no further CSS activity occurs. There is no legal CSS authority to vary an existing child support arrangement for Albertans with low income under IESA Section 30.

  2. When other Albertans with low income are offered services, the applicant must meet the income eligibility criteria according to the following table:

    Family Unit

    Maximum Gross Yearly Income

    2 Persons

    $24,397

    3 Persons

    $29,073

    4 Persons

    $34,056

    5 Persons

    $39,336

    6 Persons

    $43,999

    7 Persons

    $48,662

    Income eligibility is based on the number of persons in the family and the gross income from all sources within the household unit excluding the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) and the National Child Benefit Supplement (NCBS). Yearly gross income is based on current monthly gross income at the time of application for CSS multiplied by twelve.

  3. When the applicant meets the income requirements, the CSW conducts a preliminary assessment of the applicant’s information to determine whether this is an appropriate self-referral. This preliminary assessment does not require a personal interview. Determination of a suitable case is based on preliminary key information obtained from the applicant that enables the CSW to believe child support action can be commenced, e.g. respondent’s financial circumstances, respondent lives in a reciprocal jurisdiction, client’s past willingness to follow through with previous support action. As the CSW has authority to pursue matters through court, unwillingness of the respondent to cooperate is no longer a determining factor in providing CSS. The CSW has the authority to accept or refuse services based on this preliminary assessment. A formal assessment requiring a face-to-face interview is completed when the worker has made a decision that child support action can be pursued.

Services

The CSW provides the following services to other Albertans with low income:

  • Assists the applicant and respondent to enter into an CSS 0045 Support Agreement, or
  • Brings an application for support in the applicant’s name.

The applicant is required to attend court unless the worker knows in advance the matter will be adjourned, e.g. DNA testing. As the CSW cannot confirm the applicant’s current circumstances from HS records and as the Director does not have the applicant’s rights to ongoing support, the applicant must be available to confirm their situation to the court.

CSW’s Authorities

When the CSW provides services to other Albertans with low income, the CSW can:

  • Undertake locate activities
  • Require financial disclosure from the respondent
  • Provide each party with information to assist in settling the matter
  • Use the approved DNA Testing Provider
  • Appear and make representations at court
  • Use department lawyers when required
  • Transfer information obtained during previous CSS activities to an applicant or the applicant’s lawyer if the information is necessary to obtain or enforce a support order or agreement.

Exceptions
When providing services to other Albertans with low income, the CSW:

  • Does not make applications to vary an order or agreement [IESA Section 30(1)]
  • Determines medical insurance premium coverage as part of child support obligations based on whether the applicant must pay for this coverage. When applicants pay medical insurance premiums for the child(ren) in their custody and the respondent has medical and dental coverage available, the CSW adds the appropriate clause in the CSS 0045 Support Agreement. When the payer refuses to provide insurance coverage, payments to the recipient will increase by the difference between the single and family premium rates. These provisions for coverage would also extend to court orders. If respondents do not have medical coverage available, this is not included as part of the agreement/order.

Following the first contact, if the applicant is not certain they wish to pursue child support, the CSW does not proceed. Services are only provided when the applicant clearly indicates they want CSS assistance.

Although the CSW has authority to assist other Albertans, support action is stopped if the applicant does not wish to continue. The CSS advises the applicant prior to starting an action the CSS program is under no obligation to provide services to applicants who request support action be withdrawn and re-contact for additional services at a later date. The CSW assesses the reasons for previous CSS file closure when determining if CSS will be provided again.

MEP Registration

The applicant is responsible for registering their own agreement/order at MEP and is referred to MEP for information. If requested, the CSW may provide a MEP Registration Package and assist the applicant to complete their own registration.