Medicaid, Food Stamp and Child Support

Food Stamps
The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996 extended many
child support provisions to the Food Stamp program. States have the option to disqualify noncustodial parents for being in arrears with their child support payments and may disqualify any custodial or noncustodial parents for failing to cooperate with the state CSE agency unless they show good cause for noncompliance. As of May 1998, only seven states disqualified Food Stamp house­ holds for failure to cooperate with state CSE agencies. Two states applied the sanction only to TANF cases (Gabor and Botsko 1998).

Medicaid recipients must cooperate with CSE agencies and assign their rights to medical support payments and payments for medical care from any third party. Medic­aid eligibility cannot be denied or terminated for a child because of the refusal of another person to cooperate in establishing paternity or in obtaining medical support. The custodial parent, however, may be denied Medicaid coverage by refusing to cooperate. If the state expands the Medicaid program to provide health insurance to children under the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), the Medicaid child support requirements apply. However, when states provide health insurance to children under a separate program, they are not bound by federal requirements.

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