Recently a father visited the Ombudsman because he was fearful that he and his two children would become homeless.
The man receives benefits through the Montgomery County Department of Job and Family Services (MCDJFS). The benefits had been stopped because the man had failed to comply with a request from the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) concerning information about the children’s mother.
When a person receives benefits from the MCDJFS, the non-custodial parent will be ordered to pay child support. The Child Support Enforcement Agency had reported to the MCDJFS that the man had not supplied the required information concerning the mother of the children, and the result of that non-compliance was to stop the family’s benefits. The process of sanctioning benefits is outlined in the Ohio Administrative Code.
The “sanction” or cessation of the family’s benefits had its intended impact. The day the man learned he was being sanctioned, he went to the Child Support Enforcement Agency to provide the information they requested. The man responded 11 days before his family’s benefits were to stop. The man reported that he never received the request from the Child Support Enforcement Agency to provide the information and that he had never received the telephone message the agency said was left for him. The agency reported that the request they mailed him was not returned through the mail as undeliverable.
In this situation the Ombudsman encouraged the man to request an administrative hearing regarding his sanction, because without the benefits he would be unable to pay rent for his family. At the hearing the MCDJFS was required to void the sanction because there was insufficient proof on the part of the agency of attempts to contact the man. The family’s benefits were continued.
The Ombudsman Column, a production of the Joint Office of Citizens’ Complaints, summarizes selected problems that citizens have had with government services, schools and nursing homes in the Dayton area. Contact the Ombudsman by writing to the Beerman Building, 11 W. Monument Avenue, Suite 606, Dayton 45402, or telephone (937) 223-4613, or by electronic mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or like us on Facebook at “Dayton Ombudsman Office.”
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