Child Support in the 21st Century

Child support is going digital.  President Obama has signed into law legislation that now requires all states to provide the option to receive the child support withholding orders (IWO) electronically.  The deadline for the states is October 1, 2015.  The electronic version of the IWO, known as the e-IWO, has been available for a couple of years through the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE).  According to the OCSE’s website currently 32 states offer this option.  These include AL, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, DC, FL, HI, ID, IL, IN, ME, MA, MI, MO, NC, ND, NE, NJ, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, SD, TN, TX, VA, WA, and WV.  Two more states, KY, and MD are currently implementing the process.

This process allows the employer to receive the IWO (as a PDF file) through a portal directly into the employer’s computer.  This is not done through email but rather through either a Secure File
Transfer Protocol (SFTP) or a File Transfer Protocol Secure (FTPS). This process allows the employer to accept or reject the IWOs electronically as well as process terminations.  Large employers can implement a fully automated system.  However, smaller employers can use the no programming option that is easy to implement with limited technical resources.

The OCSE is pushing for employers to sign up now to use this electronic service. For more information check out the OCSE’s webpage on Electronic Income Withholding Orders or contact William.stuart@acf.hhs.gov.

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