The State of Illinois’ Use of Automation in Its Processes
The Illinois State team has made a commitment to automate as much processing as possible in order to free caseworkers for those tasks that require personal attention. The following are the State of Illinois' best practices using automation:
The State of Illinois' locate unit has developed a web page that includes links to many web sites to meet specific needs. The web site is accessible only to employees within the State of Illinois' child support program. The web page includes sites for both state and federal offices.
Some of the included sites are as follows:
In addition, locate unit workers have access to credit bureaus, drivers licenses, and commercial licenses. Each of the locate sources is assigned a match priority for reliability of the information.
When new income information is reported, Key Information Delivery System (KIDS), Illinois’ statewide automated child support system, applies the following criteria in processing an automated income-withholding notice:
When the report is received, the current employment is end-dated, but the withholding is not ended just in case the new employment is a second job. Second reports of employment are served a full withholding notice, expecting that the NCP will advise the employer whether withholding is currently in place on a primary employer.
If, after 30 days, the employer has submitted no payment, a second income-withholding order is served on the employer. The delinquency programs (which run every day) then begin sending notifications to the employer that they are not complying with the terms of the order. (Workers are not alerted to take any action.) To stop the process, the employer can call the employer hotline or return the cover sheet by fax indicating that the withholding will not be processed along with the reason. Illinois has an employer web site that advises employers how to handle withholding notices that will not be acted upon. The employer hotline receives about 400 calls each month.
Amending or terminating the income withholding is also automated based upon information added to the court-order screens.
A table within KIDS maintains information about State Employment Security Agencies (SESAs) that accept direct income withholding without a two-state process.
Illinois is currently implementing a pilot project to automate liens. An internal table within KIDS holds demographic information about financial institutions as well as whether the financial institution (FI) will accept out-of-state-liens. This table is used as accounts to be automatically levied are identified.
Filters for the automated process include:
Illinois is currently developing a separate enforcement details screen that will be available statewide. It will display details about the certified debt amounts, dates certified, and pending actions. Illinois expects to be able to relax the selection criteria and send out more automated actions once the information is more accessible to caseworkers for follow up through events and action logs.
The notice to the account holder and the FI should be sent at the same time. In order to provide advance notice, Illinois sends a copy of the freeze notice to the FI via fax at the same time the documents are mailed.
When the project is completed, Illinois expects to remove the requirement that the debt owed must be at least $1000, but they are concerned with the expected volumes. It has been suggested that when the edit is removed, they can still control volume by limiting the number of actions at the end of the process - much like Texas did when they implemented automated income withholding. The Illinois staff intends to explore that approach.
In addition to the staff located in the asset recovery unit, 13 caseworkers are located at the Department of Revenue with access to state property seizure resources as well as MSFIDM. An event code indicates which cases are referred to the Department of Revenue so that they can be skipped for other automated processing.
Total collections (automated and manual) for fiscal year 2002 from MSFIDM asset seizure was $2,595,799.
Illinois contracts with 13 private collection agencies for hard-to-collect debts, freeing attorneys and caseworkers from dealing with very difficult collection cases. Debts are referred to the agencies each month with the arrearage amounts split evenly among the agencies. Collections from those agencies totaled $31,775,442 for fiscal year 2002.
Increased postage costs have forced the state to be creative in condensing documents sent to employers and NCPs. One method used to decrease postage costs is to have the notice for endorsement automated at the post office. The post office operates an Address Change Service where undeliverable mail is entered into an automated system and the new address is downloaded to the sender via tape, rather than returning a paper document to the sender. Illinois finds that this saves sixty cents per address when the mail cannot be delivered.
For example, Illinois had an overall cost savings of $648.70 for its September 2002 processing of tax notices.
For further information on the State of Illinois’ use of automation in its processes, contact Ms. Patricia Howard at (217) 557-3638 or firstname.lastname@example.org.