Illinois law requires custodial parents who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, medical or food stamp benefits for themselves and their child to cooperate with their child support enforcement office. For child-only benefits cases, those who receive benefits for their child alone is not required to cooperate with enforcement activities
Parents who receive benefits of any kind for themselves must cooperate. What this means is that the parent must aid the office in locating, identifying and obtaining child support payments from the noncustodial parent. It also means the custodial parent must appear at hearings to testify concerning the other parent, give verbal or written confirmation of the other’s paternity and comply with other requests.
If a custodial parent refuses to comply with child support enforcement, he or she will lose benefits, which can be regained by later choosing to comply with enforcement efforts. The goal of child support enforcement is to make certain the noncustodial parent of a child is paying to support his or her children and that the burden for doing so is not solely left to the state.
For custodial parents who need to be able to access benefits in order to help them survive, forgoing those benefits in order to protect a noncustodial parent from being required to pay child support is not a viable option. However, in some cases, the custodial parent does not know where the noncustodial parent is. People who have lost benefits or who have been denied them for failing to cooperate with child support enforcement may wish to speak with a family law attorney who may be able to provide assistance in facilitating their restoration.
Source: Illinois Department of Human Services, “Penalty for Failure to Cooperate (TANF)“, October 24, 2014