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Federal child support agency works to improve collection process

For people in Florida concerned about receiving child support, new improvements to the federal system could better ensure that payments are processed properly. In the fiscal year 2016, almost $33 billion in child support payments were collected by the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement. Of those, 75 percent were processed through income withholding via the payroll process at the payer's place of employment. The OCSE is working to make changes to improve its cooperation with payroll professionals.

Some state child support agencies have previously reported that third-party payment processors are attempting to charge fees for their services to the state agencies rather than to the employers. This is often the case for verification of employment requests, which seek to obtain details about a payer's wages, tax withholdings and health insurance in order to implement or modify a child support order. The OCSE is working to ensure that all of the verification requests sent are necessary and that the fees involved are properly charged to those responsible under law.

The federal child support agency is also working to streamline new hire reporting. At times, different employee identification numbers are used under the same worker for different reports. This can make it difficult to track down newly hired people and determine if employers are complying with reporting requirements. The OCSE is also establishing a registry that will enable employers with staff in multiple states to report all of their employees in one state while noting the other states in which they operate.

The mechanics of child support collection can be unexpectedly complex at times. People who are dealing with unpaid or delinquent child support issues could get legal assistance from an attorney.

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