Instructions for Employers to Send Child Support Payments Electronically
- Getting Started with EFT/EDI
- Three Steps to Implement
- Where to Go for More Information
- Layout For DED Child Support Addendum Segment
All states and territories (except South Carolina) accept child support payments at their State Disbursement Unit (SDU) by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)/Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), the primary method of sending payments electronically. The EDI portion of the transmission includes identifying information so the payment can be properly credited to the payor’s case(s).
SDUs centralize the collection and disbursement of specified child support payments. They are required to process all payments for orders enforced by a child support agency and for private orders if the support order was initially issued in the state on or after January 1, 1994, with limited exceptions, and if the income of the noncustodial parent is subject to withholding.
The initial effort required to begin using EFT/EDI is well worth it. Employers that switch from sending paper checks to electronic payments will enjoy lower costs, fewer errors, and faster processing.
Sending child support payments electronically will save an employer time and money
- Eliminates the cost of printing paper checks and supporting documents
- Eliminates the cost of postage and delays due to lost or misdirected mail
- Reduces check handling and processing costs
- Reduces data entry errors
- Gets child support payments to custodial parents faster
There are several ways to send a child support payment electronically:
- By using your own payroll software to send Automated Clearing House (ACH) credit payments (similar to direct deposit) through the Federal Reserve’s banking system with EFT/EDI, using the standard child support addendum segment
- Through a state’s web-based payment service—contact the state child support agency where you send payments for details
- By using a payroll service provider that is already sending child support payments electronically
- By using your bank's online bill-paying service
Step 1: Determine whether your payroll/accounting system supports electronic payments for child support. If it does not, you may want to explore these options:
- In-house information technology staff may be able to make programming changes so that you can produce electronic payments for child support, including the EDI DED (Deduction) child support addendum record that child support agencies need to identify the payments.
- Your payroll/accounting software developer may have an enhancement that supports electronic payments for child support. Contact your user’s group or software representative.
- Your bank may have a software package that will enable you to produce the file formats necessary for electronic payments. Contact your bank and ask for someone in Cash Management, Treasury Management, or Treasury Services.
- This is not always the child support agency or SDU where you are located. It is the agency or SDU in the state that issued the underlying child support order or where you currently send funds.
- Find out the EFT/EDI start-up procedures for the child support agency where you send funds. Do not attempt to transmit child support payments electronically without this information.
Step 3: Conduct the EFT/EDI start-up procedures for each of the child support agencies you contacted in Step 2. These procedures will typically include:
- An exchange of basic banking information (routing codes, account numbers), Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), and locator code information with the child support agency.
- A reconciliation between child support agency records and employer records of names, Social Security numbers, and case identification numbers so that each employee’s withholdings are properly credited.
- A transmission of an initial test file, or pre-note, to ensure that the ACH records are formatted and transmitted properly.
There are standard record specifications for child support payments. NACHA (National Automated Clearing House Association) publishes the User Guide for Electronic Child Support Payments (PDF) to provide SDUs, employers, and their financial institutions with current formats, definitions, and implementation recommendations to remit child support payments and payment information electronically through the ACH network using current conventions and standards.
For more information, contact your state child support EFT representative or email Employer Services Team.
The following grid displays the format for the DED Child Support Addendum Segment for electronic child support payments (in the CCD+ format).
|Element||Comments||Content||Attribute 1*||Attribute 2*||Attribute 3*|
|DED05||Noncustodial Parent Social Security Number||XXXXXXXXX||M||AN||9/9|
|DED06||Medical Support Indicator||X||M||AN||1/1|
|DED07||Noncustodial Parent Name||XXXXXXXXXX||O||AN||1/10|
|DED09||Employment Termination Indicator||X||O||AN||1/1|
- Column 1, Field Requirement: The first column of the attributes is the field requirement for that data element. An M denotes a mandatory element; an O denotes an optional element.
- Column 2, Data type: The second column of the attributes specifies the field data type.
- AN denotes a string type data element which may consist of a sequence of letters, digits, spaces, and/or special characters (with the exception of the asterisk and backslash). The contents must be left-justified. Trailing spaces should be suppressed unless they are necessary to satisfy a minimum length requirement.
- DT denotes a date type element formatted as YYMMDD. YY is the last two digits of the year (00-99). MM is the numeric value of the month (1-12), and DD is the numeric value of the day (1-31). [Note: this format is not Y2K compliant, as per NACHA's decision.]
- ID denotes an identifier data element from a pre-defined list of values (e.g., CS = child support from income withholding by an employer).
- N2 denotes a numeric type data element with two decimal places to the right of a fixed, implied decimal point. The decimal point is not transmitted. It is intended that this number will always be positive for the child support application banking convention. Thus the amount $135.47 would appear as "13547".
- Column 3, Length: The third column of the attributes signifies the minimum/maximum use of an element. This specifies the minimum and maximum length of a particular field. For example, 1/6 indicates that this data element must be at least one character but not more than six characters in length.