Each applicant for assistance subject to the assignment established in this section shall (during the application process) be informed in writing of the nature of the assignment.
Any payment of federal and state assistance made to or for the benefit of any child or children or the caretaker of a child or children creates a debt due and owing to the Department of Health and Human Resources by the person or persons responsible for the support and maintenance of the child, children or caretaker in an amount equal to the amount of assistance money paid: Provided, That the debt is limited by the amount established in any court order or final decree of divorce if the amount in the order or decree is less than the amount of assistance paid.
The assignment under this section shall subrogate the Department of Health and Human Resources to the rights of the child, children or caretaker to the prosecution or maintenance of any action or procedure existing under law providing a remedy whereby the Department of Health and Human Resources may be reimbursed for moneys expended on behalf of the child, children or caretaker. The Department of Health and Human Resources shall further be subrogated to the debt created by any order or decree awarding support and maintenance to or for the benefit of any child, children or caretaker included within the assignment under this section and shall be empowered to receive money judgments and endorse any check, draft, note or other negotiable document in payment thereof.
The assignment created under this section shall be released upon closure of the assistance case and the termination of assistance payments except for support and maintenance obligations accrued and owing at the time of closure which are necessary to reimburse the department for any balance of assistance payments made.
The Department of Health and Human Resources may, at the election of the recipient, continue to receive support and maintenance moneys on behalf of the recipient following closure of the assistance case and shall distribute the moneys to the caretaker, child or children.