CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - After decades of delays, South Carolina’s new child support enforcement system will finally be operational statewide next month.
The Palmetto State is the last in the country to transition to an automated and centralized child support enforcement system, and it’s taken more than 30 years to get to this point.
In 1988, the federal government required all states to upgrade the way they handled child support enforcement, and the states were given almost 10 years to make that happen.
However, it never did in South Carolina.
Since then, the state has accrued millions of dollars in fines on top of millions more in project costs.
For many, this new system has been a long time coming, and it will benefit parents by making it easier to find deadbeat parents, to collect the money they owe, and connect South Carolina's enforcement to other state systems.
Lowcountry counties implemented the new system in April. The last counties to do so will be in the Upstate.
“I think everybody has really jumped on the boat, and we got great training,” said Harry Shaw, the state attorney for Child Support Services Division. “People are working. They are excited about it. There are always going to be hiccups. It is a cutting-edge system, and most of the people have really gotten on board and learned the system.”
According to DSS, parents paying support are notified when their case converts to the new system. It gives those parents more convenient options for making payments, if that money is not being paid through income withholding.
“You will have additional payment options, including credit card and MoneyGram. MoneyGram is available at local businesses such as Wal-Mart and CVS. We will send you additional information on those options as soon as your case moves to the new system,” DSS said on the department’s website.
For parents receiving payment, once your case moves to the new system, the Clerk of Court will no longer issue support payments to you. A new central unit, called the State Disbursement Unit (SDU) will issue payments going forward, according to DSS.
Those parents are supposed to receive a letter 45-days before their case moves to the new system, and it explains payment options and an application to sign up for direct deposit or a pre-paid debit card.
Officials say some parents may have felt those hiccups with the transition, and authorities believe a lot of that is coming from outdated information in their system.
Child Support officials are suggesting you call the state disbursement unit if you’re having any issues.
The number for that unit is 1-800-768-5858.