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Federal Office of Child Support introduces changes to system

Of the almost $33 billion that was collected in support payments in 2016, nearly three-quarters of the amount was paid through pay check withholdings. Recently, the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement announced updates and changes to its system. Social workers and employers in California will be expected to adapt to the system updates within the year.

One of the changes that the agency made is the process that employers use to verify employment for both new and re-hired workers. Many companies have used a third party to report these additions to their workforce. The federal agency is now requesting that information now be added directly to its system, as many of these third-party agencies were assessing a fee for information. In addition, when these requests for hiring information are solicited, child support collection offices will be seeking more information concerning how these reports are being used.

Another change that was implemented is the request that employers use the same Employer Identification Number whenever they are submitting reports concerning new or re-hired workers. In some instances, different EINs were resulting in duplicate or inaccurate information. Furthermore, companies who are doing business in more than one state may choose which one they wish to enter data in -- provided they include information on all states where new workers were employed and use the dedicated portal for these multi-state employers.

Lastly, both child support workers and employers are requested to enter an accurate percentage for withholding. Many agencies were using a range rather than the set standards according to the situation or state limits. It is hoped that these changes will result in greater accuracy and efficiency. California parents who are struggling to make their required payments or may have difficulty in receiving these payments in a timely manner may seek information regarding a modification to these orders from a family law attorney.

Source: bna.com, "Child-Support Office Improves on a Powerful System", Christine Pulfrey, March 16, 2018

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