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HB 167: "An Act relating to disqualification from the food stamp program for refusal to cooperate with the child support services agency or for past due child support payments; relating to the duties of the Department of Health and Social Services; and relating to the duties of the child support services agency."

00                             HOUSE BILL NO. 167                                                                          
01 "An Act relating to disqualification from the food stamp program for refusal to                                         
02 cooperate with the child support services agency or for past due child support                                          
03 payments; relating to the duties of the Department of Health and Social Services; and                                   
04 relating to the duties of the child support services agency."                                                           
05 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:                                                                
06    * Section 1. AS 25.27.020(a) is amended to read:                                                                   
07            (a)  The agency shall                                                                                        
08                 (1)  seek enforcement of child support orders of the state in other                                     
09       jurisdictions and shall obtain, enforce, and administer the orders in this state;                                 
10                 (2)  adopt regulations to carry out the purposes of this chapter and                                    
11       AS 25.25, including regulations that establish                                                                    
12                      (A)  procedures for hearings conducted under AS 25.27.170 and                                      
13            for administrative enforcement of support orders;                                                            
14                      (B)  subject to AS 25.27.025 and to federal law, a uniform rate                                    
01 of interest on arrearages of support that shall be charged the obligor upon                                             
02 notice if child support payments are 10 or more days overdue or if payment is                                           
03 made by a check backed by insufficient funds; however, an obligor may not be                                            
04 charged interest on late payment of a child support obligation, other than a                                            
05            payment on arrearages, if the obligor is                                                                     
06 (i)  employed and income is being withheld from the                                                                     
07                 obligor's wages under an income withholding order;                                                      
08 (ii)  receiving unemployment compensation and child                                                                     
09 support obligations are being withheld from the obligor's                                                               
10                 unemployment payments under AS 23.20.401; or                                                            
11 (iii)  receiving compensation for disabilities under                                                                    
12 AS 23.30 and child support obligations are being withheld from the                                                      
13                 obligor's compensation payments;                                                                        
14 (C)  procedures for establishing and disestablishing paternity                                                          
15            under AS 25.27.165 and 25.27.166, including procedures for hearings; and                                     
16 (D)  procedures under which the agency shall enter into                                                                 
17 contracts or agreements with financial institutions, including brokerage houses,                                        
18 insurance companies, and other companies providing individual investment,                                               
19 transaction, or deposit accounts, doing business in the state to develop and                                            
20 operate an automated data match system as required by 42 U.S.C. 666(a)(17);                                             
21 the agency may pay a reasonable fee to a financial institution for conducting a                                         
22 data match under a contract or agreement under this subparagraph; the fee may                                           
23 not exceed the actual costs incurred by the financial institution for conducting                                        
24            the data match;                                                                                              
25 (3)  administer and enforce AS 25.25 (Uniform Interstate Family                                                         
26       Support Act);                                                                                                     
27 (4)  establish, enforce, and administer child support obligations                                                       
28       administratively under this chapter;                                                                              
29 (5)  administer the state plan required under 42 U.S.C. 651 - 669 (Title                                                
30       IV-D, Social Security Act) as amended;                                                                            
31 (6)  disburse support payments collected by the agency to the obligee,                                                  
01       together with interest charged under (2)(B) of this subsection;                                                   
02                 (7)  establish and enforce administratively under this chapter, or                                      
03       through the superior courts of the state, child support orders from other jurisdictions                           
04       pertaining to obligors within the state;                                                                          
05                 (8)  enforce and administer spousal support orders if a spousal support                                 
06       obligation has been established with respect to the spouse and if the support obligation                          
07       established with respect to the child of that spouse is also being administered;                                  
08                 (9)  obtain a medical support order that meets the requirements of                                      
09       AS 25.27.060(c) and 25.27.063;                                                                                    
10 (10)  act on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Services in                                                  
11       the enforcement of AS 47.07.025(b);                                                                               
12 (11)  establish or disestablish, administratively under AS 25.27.165 -                                                  
13       25.27.166 or through court action, the paternity of a child;                                                      
14 (12)  promptly provide to the Bureau of Vital Statistics, in a format                                                   
15 approved by the bureau, any final agency decision administratively establishing or                                      
16       disestablishing the paternity of a child born in this state; [AND]                                                
17 (13)  act as the central registry for all child support orders and exchange                                             
18       information as required by federal law;                                                                       
19 (14)  determine whether an applicant or participant in the food                                                     
20 stamp program, administered under AS 47.25.975 - 47.25.990, is cooperating with                                     
21 the agency in good faith and notify the Department of Health and Social Services                                    
22       and the applicant or participant of the agency's determination;                                               
23 (15)  provide a procedure for reconsideration of the agency's                                                       
24       determination made under (14) of this subsection; and                                                         
25 (16)  review and comment on the findings and basis for a proposed                                                   
26 determination by the Department of Health and Social Services under                                                 
27 AS 47.25.975(e) regarding whether an applicant or participant in the food stamp                                     
28       program has good cause for refusing to cooperate with the agency.                                             
29    * Sec. 2. AS 47.25.975 is amended by adding new subsections to read:                                               
30 (d)  A person who is the custodial or noncustodial parent of a child may not                                            
31 participate in the food stamp program unless the person cooperates with the child                                       
01 support services agency, or, in the case of a custodial parent, the department                                          
02 determines that the person has good cause for refusing to cooperate with the agency.                                    
03 To determine that a custodial parent is cooperative under this subsection, the agency                                   
04 must find that the custodial parent is cooperating with the agency in establishing the                                  
05 paternity of the child and in establishing, modifying, or enforcing a support order with                                
06 respect to the child and the person. To determine that a noncustodial parent is                                         
07 cooperative under this subsection, the agency must find that the noncustodial parent is                                 
08 cooperating with the agency in establishing the paternity of the child and in providing                                 
09 support for the child. If the agency determines that a noncustodial parent is not                                       
10 cooperating in good faith, the department shall determine whether the noncooperation                                    
11 constitutes a refusal to cooperate. For purposes of this subsection, a noncustodial                                     
12 parent refuses to cooperate if the noncustodial parent demonstrates an unwillingness to                                 
13       cooperate as opposed to an inability to cooperate.                                                                
14 (e)  The department shall notify the householder in writing at the time of                                              
15 application and reapplication for continued benefits of the right to a good-cause                                       
16 exception to the requirement for a custodial parent to cooperate under (d) of this                                      
17 section and of all the requirements applicable to a good-cause determination. If a                                      
18 custodial parent claims good cause for refusing to cooperate with the agency, the                                       
19 department shall determine, based on corroborative evidence, whether the custodial                                      
20 parent has good cause for refusing to cooperate. The custodial parent must provide                                      
21 corroborative evidence to support the claim of good cause, and the department may                                       
22 only make a determination after an examination of the corroborative evidence. Before                                    
23 making a final determination regarding good cause, the department shall provide the                                     
24 agency with an opportunity to review and comment on the department's findings and                                       
25 the proposed determination. The department shall consider any recommendation from                                       
26 the agency. The department may find good cause if the custodial parent has                                              
27       demonstrated to the satisfaction of the department that cooperation with the agency                               
28 (1)  would make it more difficult for the custodial parent or child to                                                  
29 escape domestic violence or unfairly penalize the custodial parent or child who is or                                   
30       has been the victim of domestic violence or is at risk of further domestic violence; or                           
31 (2)  is not in the best interest of the child under other circumstances                                                 
01       identified by the department by regulation.                                                                       
02 (f)  A person meets the requirements under (d) of this section if the person                                            
03 receives benefits under the Alaska temporary assistance program under AS 47.27.010                                      
04 - 47.27.085 or the medical assistance program under AS 47.07, or assistance from the                                    
05 agency under AS 25.27, and the agency has determined that the person is cooperating                                     
06 or the department has established that the person has good cause for refusing to                                        
07       cooperate with the agency for one of those purposes.                                                              
08 (g)  A noncustodial parent who has a past due obligation for child support                                              
09 established by a court or a child support enforcement agency in the state or another                                    
10       jurisdiction is not eligible to participate in the food stamp program                                             
11                 (1)  until                                                                                              
12 (A)  a court or child support enforcement agency has approved a                                                         
13            payment schedule to delay payment; and                                                                       
14 (B)  the noncustodial parent is in substantial compliance with                                                          
15            the payment schedule as determined by the child support services agency; or                                  
16 (2)  unless the department, in consultation with the child support                                                      
17 services agency, finds that the noncustodial parent has good cause for nonpayment of                                    
18       child support.                                                                                                    
19 (h)  Disqualification under (d) or (g) of this section applies to the person, but                                       
20       does not apply to the entire household.                                                                           
21 (i)  The department shall initiate a collection action for any month that a                                             
22 householder is disqualified for delinquent child support payments under (g) of this                                     
23 section by sending the household a written-demand letter. In the demand letter, the                                     
24       department shall inform the household                                                                             
25                 (1)  of the amount owed;                                                                                
26                 (2)  of the reason for the claim;                                                                       
27                 (3)  how the household may pay the claim; and                                                           
28 (4)  of the adjusted amount of income, resources, and deductible                                                        
29 expenses of the remaining members of the household for the month that a household                                       
30       member is disqualified under (g) of this section.                                                                 
31 (j)  A person who is disqualified from participating in the food stamp program                                          
01 under (d) of this section is eligible to participate in the food stamp program when the                                 
02 agency determines that the person is cooperating in good faith with the agency. The                                     
03 department shall establish a procedure for requalifying a person to participate in the                                  
04       food stamp program under this subsection.                                                                         
05            (k)  The department may only use information collected from the agency for                                   
06       the purpose for which the information is collected.                                                               
07            (l)  In this section,                                                                                        
08                 (1)  "absent parent" means a noncustodial parent who lives with the                                     
09       child less than 70 percent of the time;                                                                           
10                 (2)  "agency" means the child support services agency;                                                  
11 (3)  "custodial parent" includes a natural or adoptive parent of a child                                                
12       under 18 years of age who has an absent parent;                                                                   
13 (4)  "noncustodial parent" includes an identified or putative parent of a                                               
14       child under 18 years of age and who does not live with the child on a full-time basis.                            
15    * Sec. 3. AS 47.25.980(a) is amended to read:                                                                      
16            (a)  The department shall                                                                                    
17                 (1)  adopt regulations necessary to carry out the food stamp program;                                   
18 (2)  cooperate with the federal government and do all things necessary                                                  
19       to continue state eligibility under the food stamp program;                                                       
20 (3)  comply with the requirements of 7 U.S.C. 2011 - 2036 (Food                                                         
21       Stamp Program);                                                                                               
22 (4)  notify, in writing, all applicants to and participants in the food                                             
23 stamp program, at the time of application and reapplication for continued                                           
24 benefits, of the requirement to cooperate with the child support services agency                                    
25 under AS 47.25.975(d) - (f) and of the right to an exception for good cause under                                   
26       AS 47.25.975(e), if applicable;                                                                               
27 (5)  refer all appropriate applicants to and participants in the food                                               
28       stamp program to the child support services agency.                                                           
29    * Sec. 4. AS 47.25.990 is amended by adding a new paragraph to read:                                               
30 (5)  "child support services agency" means the agency created in                                                        
31       AS 25.27.010.                                                                                                     
01    * Sec. 5. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to                          
02 read:                                                                                                                   
03       FOOD STAMP PROGRAM STATE PLAN. The Department of Health and Social                                                
04 Services shall amend and submit for federal approval a state plan for the food stamp program                            
05 consistent with this Act.                                                                                               
06    * Sec. 6. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to                          
07 read:                                                                                                                   
08       TRANSITION: NOTICE TO PARTICIPANTS. Not more than 30 days after the                                               
09 effective date of this Act, the Department of Health and Social Services shall provide notice                           
10 to participants in the food stamp program on the effective date of this Act of the changes                              
11 made by AS 47.25.975(d) - (l), enacted by sec. 2 of this Act. The department shall terminate                            
12 coverage for participants who are not in compliance with AS 47.25.975(d) - (l), enacted by                              
13 sec. 2 of this Act, not more than 30 days after providing the notice required under this section.