Department of Human Services

Families First Online Policy Manual

Treatment of Child Support Income




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Until October 1996, when an absent parent made a child support payment for an AFDC/Families First assistance unit, the state issued a bonus child support payment (up to $50 per month) and retained the remaining amount of child support to reimburse any grant paid to the assistance unit.  At the end of the month following the month in which the child support was paid, DHS would determine if the assistance unit was eligible for a supplemental AFDC/Families First payment.  If so, the supplement was issued in the amount of the child support payment, less the bonus payment, up to the unmet need in the assistance unit’s budget.  This supplement was an additional grant payment.


Effective October 1996, the federal law changed, eliminating the bonus payment and allowing states to “pass through” the child support that was collected rather than making additional grant payments as supplemental payments.  However, until the Tennessee Child Support Enforcement System, TCSES, was modified to handle the child support payments, these payments were still issued as bonus and supplemental payments and they continued to appear on the Cash Issuance History Screen in the eligibility and case management system  as bonuses (code 103 or 106) and supplements (code 096 or 102).


In February 1998, TCSES was modified to issue child support payments, now called child support pass-through payments, to Families First assistance units.  Any child support payments that are received for a month prior to February 1998, but processed after February 1998, are issued as bonus and supplements, if the assistance unit is eligible for a supplemental payment.


Note: If an overpayment occurs in the Families First case, any supplements issued for a month prior to 10/96 should be included in the overpayment calculations since those payments were grant payments.  Any supplements issued for 10/96 or later should not be included in the calculation since those payments were actually child support payments.  If an overpayment occurs because the supplemental grant payment was incorrect, the supplemental payment staff in the State Office will pend the overpayment claim.



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