The child(ren)'s primary custodian may begin the child support process with CSSD. The way the parent starts a case with CSSD will depend on whether the family receives TANF benefits for the child(ren).
Starting a Case with CSSD
Families Not Receiving TANF Benefits
If a parent is not receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and/or Medicaid benefits for the child(ren), that parent may enroll to receive CSSD services. CSSD offers an online enrollment form that allows a request for services to be made 24/7 from any computer or mobile phone. Click here to start your child support enrollment form. Parents without internet access may contact CSSD Customer Service at (202) 442-9900, Monday - Friday, 8:15am - 4:45pm, for additional information about enrolling to receive CSSD services.
Note: If the family does not receive either TANF or Medicaid benefits and the child(ren)'s custodian does not wish to receive CSSD services in order to pursue parentage or child support, that person may begin a case independently with DC Superior Court.
Referrals from the TANF Office
Once a TANF and/or Medicaid case is opened in the District, the TANF office automatically sends information to CSSD to begin child support activity. By seeking benefits, the child(ren)'s custodian agrees to cooperate with child support efforts. The custodian also agrees to assign rights to some or all of the incoming child support payments in order to repay the government for the TANF and/or Medicaid benefits provided to the family.
Special circumstances may apply in TANF or Medicaid cases when a custodial parent is able to show "good cause" for not helping CSSD to pursue child support. "Good cause" circumstances may exist when the parent has a protective order or other reason to believe that pursuing child support might pose a danger to that parent and/or the child(ren) or when a child was conceived as a result of rape or incest. However, because a formal exemption is required, the parent seeking "good cause" must speak with the assigned CSSD case management specialist and cooperate with CSSD until a decision is made about the specific family circumstances and the impact on moving forward with the child support case.