Child Care Subsidy: Locking in Copayments and Number of Units/Unit Type

Effective 10/1/17, the family share copayment is “locked-in” at initial certification due to changes in federal law which promotes family stability and continuity of care. This means that the copayment cannot be increased during the 12 month eligibility period even when the client reports an increase in earnings (as long as the federal threshold is not exceeded). Conversely, the number of units and unit type must not be decreased during the 12 month eligibility period due to a reduction of work hours or the loss of a need factor. In this instance care is maintained at the current level. See OAC 340:40-5-1.

When the client reports a decrease in income during the eligibility period, the worker decreases the copayment once the change has been verified. When this happens, the copayment is locked-in at the new lower level and cannot be increased until renewal. The number of units and the unit type remain at the same level they were before the change was reported.

10/01/17 system updates will prohibit the copayment from increasing during the eligibility period. However, it is up to the worker to ensure that they do not decrease the units and unit type during the eligibility period. The only exception is when a child turns age 4 and is attending school. When the child was previously approved for the weekly unit type because they were not attending school, and now the child is attending school, the unit type should be updated to either 23B or 23A (depending on whether the child attends a year round school calendar school or a traditional school year calendar school). The worker must update the coding for this population of children to ensure that the provider is paid appropriately. The blended unit type is actually the most beneficial for the provider in these types of situations.

It is especially important for workers to use the new unfinished issuance process for applicants with income from a new source when zero income is used for the first month and anticipated income for the 2nd. This will ensure the copayment is locked-in at the correct level for the 12 month eligibility period. Refer to article Child Care Subsidy: Unfinished Issuance Examples & Coding for more information.

Example #1

Misty Rodgers applies for child care for her 2 children and is approved on 11/13/17. She works in a doctor’s office and earns $2200 a month. Her copayment based on the Appendix C-4, is $159 a month. She works M-F 8:30-5:00 and is approved for 5W number of units/unit type. On 2/12/18 she receives a raise and is now earning $2800 a month. The worker verifies the raise and enters the increased income into the computer but the copayment remains $159. (The system will not allow the copayment increase.) The number of units/unit type remains 5W as her schedule has not changed.

Example #2 (continuation of example #1)

Misty reports the loss of her job on 4/15/18. The worker verifies the termination date/amount of the final check and removes the earned income from the case effective 05/01/18, reducing the copayment to zero. No change is made to the 5W since the client is eligible to continue using care at the same level prior to the loss of the job. On 5/2/18, Misty reports a new job earning $2000 a month with the first full paycheck expected to be received on 5/23/18. Her schedule is M-F 7:30 – 4:30. The worker adds the income to the case effective 6/1/18; however, the copayment remains zero because the system will not allow the copayment to be increased until renewal. The number of units/unit type remains 5W.

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