Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Electronic Signals or Piles of Paper--You Decide

At this year's APA  Congress a panel was held on Electronic Income Withholding Orders for Child Support (e-IWO).  According to Bill Stuart, a software developer who works with the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement, the Electronic Income Withholding Order, designed for large employers, has become so prevalent that some states are considering the mandatory use of the program.

The e-IWO portal, which facilitates the transmission of the withholding orders to employers, is used in 22 states.  New Jersey began using the portal on May 26th.  The e-IWO program allows employers to make entries on a spreadsheet or PDF.  The program is user-friendly, accurate and provides secure delivery to employers.  The portal is a central location for child support orders and is helpful for employers dealing with multiple employment sites.  The portal also quickly gets payments to state disbursement units (SDU) and recipients.  The panel also discussed converting to not just receiving support orders electronically, but also sending payments to the SDUs using electronic funds transfers.  With the exception of South Carolina, SDUs receive and send payments electronically, said Nancy Benner, employer services specialist for the Office of Child Support Enforcement.

Boy, have things changed since I began my payroll career back in the mid-70's. Back then and through the decades since we basically had paper everywhere when it came to child support.  As laws were passed that increased our responsibility in collecting child support, the paper piles increased as well.

So our best practice suggestion for today is to take advantage of modern technology when you can and sign up for electronic Income Withholding Orders.  In addition, set up a program to submit your child support payments via EFT through the SDUs.

Let us know what you are doing in your payroll department.  Are you signed up for the e-IWO?  What has been your experience using the system--good or bad?  Do you have questions about using SDUs?  Post them here and we will get the answer for you. 

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