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Child support

food stamp programs/SNAP

When a parent receives certain types of public assistance, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) in the state may automatically open a child support case to identify the father (or other absent parent) of the child and enforce child support obligations. States have the option to require recipients of child care subsidies and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to cooperate with child support agencies seeking to establish paternity and support orders; and to enforce child support obligations as a condition of eligibility (child support cooperation requirements).

In Texas, when a parent applies for or receives public assistance, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Medicaid, the Texas Office of the Attorney General (OAG) is often involved in establishing paternity and enforcing child support obligations. This is because the state seeks to recoup some of the public assistance costs from the non-custodial parent. The OAG may automatically open a child support case to locate the absent parent, establish paternity, and set up a child support order. While cooperation with child support enforcement is generally required for TANF recipients, for SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) and child care subsidies, states have the option to impose child support cooperation requirements. Texas has chosen to require cooperation with the child support enforcement as a condition of eligibility for these programs. This means that recipients of these types of public assistance in Texas must cooperate with the OAG's efforts to establish paternity and enforce child support, or they risk losing their benefits.

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