< Back to Search

What Every Employer Must Know About Child Support

Published: June 16, 2014
Information About:
Employer Responsibilities, Bonus/Lump Sum Reporting, Electronic Payments/EFT/EDI, Income/Wage Withholding, National Medical Support Notice, New Hire Reporting, Verification of Employment

New Hire Reporting

  • You must report information about your newly hired and re-hired employees to a designated state agency shortly after hire.
  • Reporting new hires is important because the information you provide is compared to child support records at the state and national levels to locate parents to establish, modify and enforce child support orders.
  • New Hire Reporting also reduces improper payments and saves millions of dollars in erroneous unemployment insurance and public assistance payments.
  • Employers must report the required seven elements (employee name, SSN, address, date of hire and the employer's name, address, and FEIN), and some states require additional information.
  • Employers must also report employees who were previously employed and return after separating for at least 60 days.

Income Withholding and Medical Support

  • Income withholding is the most effective collection method for child support payments and crucial to supporting children.  
  • When you receive an Income Withholding for Support (IWO) from a child support enforcement agency, court, or other entity, begin income withholding and continue until you receive official notification to stop.
    • If the order is not on the Office of Management and Budget-approved IWO form, you must return it to the sender and request the correct form. 
  • When you receive a National Medical Support Notice (NMSN), you must:
    • Determine whether any categories in the "Employer Response" section apply
    • Forward Part B to your Plan Administrator if the children are eligible for coverage
    • Notify the issuing agency if enrollment cannot be completed

Employment Inquiries and Verifications

  • If you are asked to verify an employee's employment status, wages, or benefits, you must provide timely information.


  • Federal law requires employers to remit payments to the State Disbursement Unit within seven (7) business days of withholding from an employee. State law may require your remittance sooner.
  • Some states require that employers submit payments electronically. 
  • Bonus and lump sum payments are considered employee income and can be garnished to collect past-due child support.  Lump sum payments can include severance, leave payouts, insurance settlements, retirement incentives, commissions, stock options, lottery winnings, awards, and payments resulting from verdicts.
  • Some states require an employer to report a bonus or lump sum payment before it is paid.

Employee Terminations

  • You must notify the child support enforcement agency when your employee with an income withholding or medical support order leaves the job for any reason.
  • If you receive an IWO or NMSN for a person who has never worked for you, please inform the sender promptly. 

Thank you for all you do to make a difference in the lives of America's children!



See the Employers page on the OCSE Website


Email: employerservices@acf.hhs.gov.

OCSE Employer Information Line: 202-401-9267 (7:30 am—5:00 pm ET)