(a) The CWA shall make every reasonable effort
to locate an absent parent in order to obtain support payments. An absent parent shall be given the
opportunity to voluntarily support his or her child, but it shall be explained to both parents that the
extent of support shall be established by the court.
applicant and beneficiary is required to cooperate in obtaining support and establishing paternity whenever
necessary as a condition of eligibility for AFDC-related Medicaid.
"Continued absence from the home" (see
) may be for any reason. The following are
some of the ways to establish absence:
1. Documentary proof of divorce,
pending divorce, or separation agreement (that is, official legal documents, court or attorney records or
newspaper accounts) may be indicative of "continued absence from the home" but shall be verified and
documented in the case file.
A parent shall be considered
absent from the home during a period of incarceration. There is a possible situation that a parent whose
imprisonment is expected to be of short duration may also be "incapacitated." Where this appears to be so,
consideration shall be given to possible eligibility under the "incapacity
" factor rather than the "absence"
i. Evidence to substantiate "absence" when a parent is incarcerated
in the State penal or correctional institution shall be secured by use of Forms PA-17B and PA-17C. When the
"tear sheet" has been returned and the date of release determined, the CWA shall immediately redetermine the
basis of continued eligibility and note it in file.
regard to the absent parent's incarceration in a county or municipal jail, the CWA shall need to develop a
procedure in cooperation with each jail within its jurisdiction regarding exchange of information both at
time of initial AFDC-C application and at time of release of incarcerated parents. PA-17B and PA-17C are not
appropriate and shall not be used for local jails. Procedures established by the CWA with regard to county
and municipal jails may vary from a formal procedure to personal telephone contacts or visits, provided the
information required is obtained and acceptable to the CWA. In situations where the absent parent is
incarcerated in another county, it is recommended that the CWA of such county be consulted regarding its
method for contacting county and municipal jails and a mutually agreeable decision made as to which county
will contact the jail.
A parent who is a convicted
offender but is permitted to live at home while serving a court-imposed sentence by performing unpaid public
work or unpaid community service during the workday is considered absent from the home. The CWA shall verify
such court-imposed sentence and document its findings in the case record
prior to case validation.
i. Such parent shall not be eligible for AFDC-related Medicaid
ii. Income, if any, of such a parent shall be treated
in accordance with N.J.A.C. 10:69-10.
iii. For child support and
paternity purposes, the family is considered to be intact and is not subject to the CSP process.
4. A parent who has been deported from the United States shall
be considered "continuously absent from the home." There must be proof of the deportation by inspection of an
official notice or statement in possession of the applicant, or by obtaining written confirmation from the
Immigration authorities. The information should include the date and conditions of deportation. The current
address of the deported parent and his or her circumstances should also be obtained from the applicant
parent, if known, and noted in the eligibility file.
who is separated from his or her family because of uniformed service shall not be considered "continuously
absent from the home" if such absence is occasioned solely by reason of active uniformed service. If,
however, continued absence would exist irrespective of performance of uniformed service (for example,
desertion of the family before or after entry into uniformed service or divorce), eligibility for AFDC
be established. Such findings shall be noted in the eligibility file.
When a parent serving in the uniformed services is not continuously absent from the home, the family may be
eligible under the AFDC-F or-segment.
ii. "Uniformed service" is
defined to mean the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Environmental Sciences Services
Administration, Public Health Service of the United States, and the National Guard.
6. When a parent is temporarily absent in order to receive treatment for a
mental or physical illness, defect or impairment, the family should be considered under the incapacity
7. When the natural parents of a child are not married to
each other and one lives apart from the children, a continuing relationship between the parents is not of
itself evidence of a continuing relationship with the children. When there is no evidence of a continuing
relationship between the absent parent and child(ren), "continuous absence" applies.
The following concern the eligibility of a child born of unmarried
1. The eligibility of a child is not affected by the fact that he
or she was born of unmarried parents. The initiation of proceedings to determine paternity and to establish
financial responsibility of reputed father shall not be a condition of eligibility.
Parents of a child born of unmarried parents
are equally responsible for
his or her support.
A father may voluntarily establish the fact of his
paternity and establish with the CWA the extent of his ability to support his child. Voluntary support
payments do not legally establish paternity and cannot be enforced in the absence of legally established
paternity. A mother may initiate proceedings to establish paternity and/or gain support from the reputed
father. She shall be informed of the advantages to the child of having paternity established legally such as
certain inheritance rights and social security benefits (see
Court action may be necessary to establish paternity or to obtain support; in the absence of the mother's
willingness to initiate such proceedings, the CWA cannot refuse to establish Medicaid eligibility but may
initiate proceedings. This provision shall be fully explained to each applicant mother of a child born of
4. By law, the CWA are authorized to initiate
proceedings to establish paternity and responsibility for support of a child born of unmarried parents who is
a beneficiary of AFDC-related Medicaid. This authority should be used only when neither parent is willing to
initiate proceedings. Filiation proceedings should be initiated in the Family Division of Superior
A parent may be considered continuously
absent from the home when a condition of desertion is established. A desertion may already be a matter of
public record, or may be alleged or presumed.
1. Desertion may be
established by verifying that a parent has been convicted of desertion, charged with desertion by indictment
or by filing of a complaint with the court or named as defendant in an action for divorce on grounds of
desertion. Methods of verification would include records of the county prosecutor's office, juvenile and
domestic relations court, municipal court where the complaint was filed, or, in the case of a divorce action
documents or records in the possession of the applicant, appropriate court or attorneys.
Where desertion has not been established but the applicant
the child for whom he or she is applying has been deserted, the factor of continuing absence by reason of
"desertion" shall be considered. The CWA shall request of the applicant
/beneficiary, during the completion of
the application, information relating to the deserting parent's whereabouts and ask applicant
acknowledge such desertion. By signing the application, the client attests to the accuracy and verity of his
or her statements.
i. The continuing effort to locate absent parents is a
responsibility of the CWA. Since the law permits use of Social Security numbers to aid in location of
deserting parents, the CWA shall make every effort to obtain such information.
(f) A parent shall be considered "continuously absent from the
home" when by mutual agreement, not legal action, the parents have informally separated, for example, one
parent is out of the home and such absent parent is not exercising responsibility as a member of the
household consistent with the definition of "continued absence" although he or she may be making or
demonstrating to the CWA his or her "intent" to make some financial contribution to the family.
The CWA is charged with the general responsibility of reducing the
extent of the beneficiary
family's reliance on AFDC
-related Medicaid. In striving for this objective, the CWA
shall attempt to effect a resumption of medical support provided to the AFDC
-related Medicaid family by the
absent parent within the ability of such parent. In cases of absent parent(s) whose whereabouts are unknown,
the CWA will contact the State Parent Locator Service (see N.J.A.C. 10:69-11.9 ).
1. This is a service to aid and supplement local efforts; the basic
obligation for locating parents rests with the county's parent locator service.