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The Pennsylvania Code website reflects the Pennsylvania Code changes effective through 54 Pa.B. 1032 (February 24, 2024).

55 Pa. Code § 187.21. General policy.


§ 187.21. General policy.

 Legal bases for support requirements. The Support Law (62 P. S. § §  1971—1977) provides authority to the courts to order or direct support to needy individuals from LRRs upon petition from the needy individual or the Department. The Public Welfare Code (62 P. S. § §  101—1503) requires the Department to grant assistance only to those individuals who apply for and meet all conditions of eligibility. By law, then, LRRs will be a potential resource to individuals applying for or receiving assistance. The Support Law (62 P. S. § §  1971—1977), 23 Pa.C.S. § §  4301—5104 and 7101—8415, and the Public Welfare Code (62 P. S. § §  101—1503) mesh to make it mandatory to explore and develop the resource that an LRR may provide to an individual. Under the child support program, support collection and paternity determination services will also be made available upon request to individuals who are not applying for or receiving assistance. The domestic relations section in each county has been designated to process requests for support services.


   The provisions of this §  187.21 amended under sections 201(2), 403(b) and 432 of the Public Welfare Code (62 P. S. § §  201(2), 403(b) and 432); the Support Law (62 P. S. § §  1971—1977); Titles I and III of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (Pub. L. No. 104-193) (PRWORA), creating the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program, and amending 42 U.S.C.A. § §  601—619, 651—669(b) and 1396u-1; section 5543 of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (Pub. L. No. 105-33) (42 U.S.C.A. §  653(p)); the Federal TANF regulations in 45 CFR 260.10—265.10; and the Domestic Relations Code, 23 Pa.C.S. § §  4301—4381, 5103, 7101—7901 and 8101—8418.


   The provisions of this §  187.21 adopted August 4, 1977, effective August 5, 1977, 7 Pa.B. 2180; amended March 7, 1980, effective April 1, 1980, 10 Pa.B. 977; amended October 22, 1982, effective October 23, 1982, 12 Pa.B. 3782; amended April 8, 1983, effective April 9, 1983, 13 Pa.B. 1259; amended September 13, 2002, effective retroactively to March 3, 1997, 32 Pa.B. 4435. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (252613), (252614), and (261253).

Notes of Decisions

   Enforcement of Child Support Obligation

   The Department of Public Welfare’s standing to enforce an unwed recipient’s right to receive child support payments from a noncustodial parent derives from state statute, where the custodial parent must, as a condition precedent to receipt of benefits on behalf of the family filing unit, assign to the State any right to receive child support and assist in the collection of that support. Middleton/Department of Public Welfare v. Robinson, 728 A.2d 368 (Pa. Super. 1999).

   The receipt of public aid can never be an ‘‘unusual circumstance’’ which permits deviation from the support guidelines. Sanders v. Lott, 630 A.2d 438 (Pa. Super. 1993).

   The language of the Code does not mandate that the DPW and only the DPW explore, develop and compel assistance which a legally responsible relative may provide to an assistance recipient. Rather, under §  1973 of the Support Law (62 P. S. §  1973) any person or public body or agency having an interest in the case can petition a common pleas court to compel financial assistance. Mays v. Department of Public Welfare, 448 A.2d 1194 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1982).

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